Researchers at the National Robotarium have been awarded £586,000 in funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) – a division of UK Research and Innovation.

The Robatarium is a world-leading centre for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Hosted at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, the Robatarium develops innovative lasers and technology which could transform industries like manufacturing and healthcare technology. 

Lasers are crucial components, often integral to the functioning of most modern manufacturing systems. Industry standard laser technology uses melting or vaporization techniques to produce precise incisions and shapes. This method needs accurate focusing of the laser’s energy. However, the standard laser beam shape makes it difficult to tailor it to specific processes.

The National Robotarium will use the grant funding to develop laser beams that are more specially designed to meet the exact manufacturing requirements of various products, improving efficiency and precision.

This type of innovative research can have direct impacts on the economy. With additional support and financing from the UK and Scottish Government, they believe they could directly enhance Scotland’s world-leading manufacturing industries. 

Project lead, Dr Richard Carter, assistant professor of Applied Optics and Photonics at Heriot-Watt University, added: “Manufacturing is of key strategic importance to the UK, with a particular focus on high-tech and high-value manufacturing. This research will address the priority area of digital manufacturing, enabling a bespoke, rapid response capability for the first time.”

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