Materials Innovation Factory announces £2.5M Formulation Engine contract

The University’s Materials Innovation Factory will partner with UK robotics specialists, Labman Automation, to develop the Formulation Engine for the new facility.

Due to open in 2017, the £68M Materials Innovation Factory is set to revolutionise materials chemistry research and development by drawing together world-leading, multi-disciplinary research expertise, unparalleled technical facilities and a dynamic support infrastructure.

The £2.5M Formulation Engine is the single largest component order for the MIF and will be at the forefront of research and development within the new facility.

Advanced robotic system

Labman Automation, a bespoke robotics manufacturer based in North Yorkshire, will design and build the Formulation Engine, an advanced robotic system, located in the Open Access Area of the MIF.

Dr Simon Longden, MIF Managing Director, said “We are delighted to announce Labman as our partner in building the Formulation Engine, turning our concept into a reality. It also exciting for us to engage with such an innovative UK-based SME. I am sure this is the start of a longer-term partnership to create capability to support researchers in our materials chemistry community.”

 Versatility and Flexibility

The Formulation Engine’s highly versatile, modular design will allow multiple workflows to operate simultaneously, and will provide a high level of working flexibility. The high-throughput ability of the Formulation Engine will transform the process of testing and formulation, whilst making it extremely affordable and accessible to industrial and academic researchers.

Ian Riley, Senior Project Leader at Labman Automation, said: “It’s an extremely exciting project to be involved with and we’re delighted to have been chosen to design and build the Formulation Engine.”

The Materials Innovation Factory is a unique public/private partnership between the University and Unilever supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, as part of the UK Government’s Research Partnership Investment Fund.

Image below ( from left to right): Kathryn Knuckey (MIF), Mike Egan (MIF),Steven Robinson (MIF), Jamie Marsay, (Labman Automation), Ian Riley (Labman Automation), Sam Nicholls (Labman Automation) and Paul Chilton (Labman Automation).



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