Renishaw reflects on 50 years of British innovation
In 2019, engineering companies throughout the UK are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the prestigious MacRobert Award, the country’s longest running prize for engineering innovation. As a previous winner, Renishaw is celebrating the success of others in the industry as well as reflecting on its own engineering innovations which continue to shape the world around us.
The MacRobert Award, which is presented and run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, with support from the Worshipful Company of Engineers, recognises step-change innovations that transform their sectors and create jobs and growth.
Throughout the years, the MacRobert prize has been awarded to some of Britain’s biggest and best-known engineering companies, honouring the winning organisation with a gold medal as well as a cash prize of £50,000. As well as Renishaw, past winners have included the engineers behind innovations such as the Pegasus jet engine, catalytic converters and intelligent prosthetic limbs.
The presentation of the Award recognises outstanding innovation, tangible societal benefit and proven commercial success. Renishaw was awarded this accolade in 1987 for the design and exploitation of its metrology probes. The company, which has recently celebrated its 45th birthday, is continuing to innovate decades after winning the prestigious award and has expanded out of its award-winning core metrology business to drive innovation in other sectors.
One notable project is the manufacture of a device for North Bristol NHS Trust that was used in a ground-breaking clinical trial. The device enabled the precise delivery of a new drug candidate, Glial Cell Line Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) with the hope of regenerating dying dopamine brain cells in people with Parkinson’s and thereby improve their symptoms.
“Over 30 years ago when Renishaw was a much smaller business, the MacRobert Award recognised the importance of our breakthrough technologies and their global impact on society,” explains William Lee, chief executive of Renishaw. “Since 1987 we have sustained our culture of innovation through long-term investments in research and development and a relentless focus on identifying the true needs of our customers.
“Today, our products and people continue to transform lives around the world by advancing the development of diverse products, from solar panels to medical implants, and by addressing real-world problems such as energy generation and degenerative diseases.”
As well as its commitment to innovation, Renishaw has broadened its social outreach to schools, partners and universities. This programme aims to educate young people about the world of engineering, additive manufacturing and precision machining and inspire them to consider science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) careers.
For more information, visit www.renishaw.com.
UK-based Renishaw is a world leading engineering technologies company, supplying products used for applications as diverse as jet engine and wind turbine manufacture, through to dentistry and brain surgery. It has over 4,500 employees located in the 36 countries where it has wholly owned subsidiary operations.
For the year ended June 2018 Renishaw recorded sales of £611.5 million of which 95 percent was due to exports. The company’s largest markets are China, the USA, Germany and Japan.
Throughout its history, Renishaw has made a significant commitment to research and development, with historically between 13 and 18 percent of annual sales invested in R&D and engineering. The majority of the R&D and manufacturing of the company’s products is carried out in the UK. The company’s success has been recognised with numerous international awards, including eighteen Queen’s Awards recognising achievements in technology, export and innovation.
New online video link allows users to service their own saws and storage systems
Sawing machine and storage system manufacturer KASTO has for many years fitted its equipment with an optional, remote troubleshooting facility. Its staff can connect to a user’s equipment online and rectify faults or optimise processes, without the need for a time-consuming and expensive site visit by a maintenance engineer. Now the supplier has expanded the service with VisualAssistance, an innovative video solution that allows customers to participate in maintaining their own machines and systems.
By means of an interactive app on a tablet, smartphone or smart glasses, users can send live videos to KASTO’s service experts and receive visual assistance and information in real time, minimising downtime in the event of a fault or during routine maintenance. Customers can use the system to connect to service staff using audio as well as video streams, allowing users and KASTO’s engineers to share the same field of view in real time. It simplifies mutual understanding and helps to identify individual system components and faults quickly.
The app also enables KASTO’s experts to provide visual assistance and to superimpose annotations on the live video. The customer receives all necessary information directly on the display by means of augmented reality while carrying out maintenance or repair work on the saw or storage system. If using smart glasses, the person’s hands are free, making the job even easier. As KASTO service engineers have a virtual presence on the customer’s site to guide its staff during repair and maintenance, extensive user training programmes are not needed.