Novel Measurement Technology to Transform the Plastics Industry
Tribosonics wins a £50,000 grant from Innovate UK as part of a programme to drive forward new technological advances in response to the current pandemic.
Tribosonics is one of over 800 innovative businesses from across the UK to benefit from the £40 million grant pool, which is part of Innovate UK’s Fast Start competition. More than 8,600 companies applied in April 2020 to the special fast-track competition. A higher number than had applied to Innovate UK competitions across the previous 12 months combined. Tribosonics managed to secure the maximum Innovate UK award in the ‘Business-led innovation in response to global disruption’ competition through its ambitious proposal for new Novel Measurement Technology.
The Novel Measurement Technology to Transform the Plastics Industry is a 6-month project. It will develop novel, embedded, real-time sensing technology for the polymer processing industry. This will be used to promote sustainable plastic packaging and the circular economy. It will also improve productivity through automation and remote monitoring. This is because of the digitization of the industry and speeding up the adoption of the “Industrial Internet of Things”.
Tribosonics have developed a polymer equipment monitoring system using their ultrasonic measurement technology for measuring wear in polymer processing equipment.
The polymer industry faced significant disruption in 2019 due to concerns about plastics pollution. This disruption has been dwarfed by the widespread disruption caused by the pandemic. Every point in the supply chain has felt the impact. Production via labour-intensive, poorly digitized processes for some polymer-based products has come to a halt. However, the production of plastic packaging and medical plastics has been booming because of the intense pressure on supply chains. But, not necessarily in a sustainable or environmentally acceptable way. The project will develop a more productive and responsible polymer processing industry. This industry will be sustainable both in times of crisis and post-crisis.
Innovate UK’s competition’s aim was to support the development of ambitious and innovative products or services which will help both society and industry during and after the pandemic.
Dr Phil Harper (Tribosonics Founder and CTO) commented:
It is very exciting to secure this Innovate UK grant. It will enable our technology to make a real difference in the plastics industry. Driving improved efficiency, process optimisation and increased resilience in the face of challenges such as the pandemic.
Innovate UK Executive Chair Dr Ian Campbell, said:
The COVID-19 situation affects not only the nation’s health but also the economy and society. Businesses from all over the UK answered our call rapidly to meet the challenges we face today and in the future through the power of innovation.
The ideas we have seen can truly make a significant impact on society, improve the lives of individuals, especially those in vulnerable groups and enable innovative businesses to prosper in challenging circumstances.