South Yorkshire robot goes global

A ROBOT designed and built in South Yorkshire to protect electronics, is going global.

The machine, developed by Advanced Coating Robotics Ltd, applies thin layers of coating to circuit boards to prevent dust, moisture and other damage.

It has already been sold to manufacturers overseas in countries including China, India and Lithuania.

The company has been formed by two Barnsley businesses - SMS Automation and SCH Technologies.

Cudworth man Gordon Watson, the managing director of SMS Automation, said the project is one of a number of exciting advances within the company, that has increased turnover by almost 40 per cent since it expanded last year.

Its success has been boosted by help from Enterprising Barnsley.

Gordon said: “The machine is already being used by manufacturers in the automotive and communications industries and for making solar powered street lights.

“It can be customised to meet specific requirements and can also be supplied as part of a complete design-to-installation coating line service for electronics manufacturers.

“Our collaboration with SCH Technologies has enabled a system designed and assembled right here in Barnsley to be exported around the world.”

Gordon founded SMS Automation in 1999 and continuing links with a company based in California’s Silicon Valley has allowed the firm to keep abreast of latest developments in motion control technology.

The firm has designed and installed automated systems for a diverse range of products from biscuits and Easter eggs to toothpaste and glass. In many cases, new life has been breathed in to old production lines to not only improve efficiency and quality but to ensure high levels of safety.

In addition, SMS Automation has carried out several contracts for UK Fuel Business, that turns uranium into nuclear fuel for all of Britain’s nuclear power stations.

SMS experts are currently building a robot to transfers batches of nuclear fuel from one area to another.

Gordon said: “The machine will move at speeds of up to one and half metres a second but must handle the fuel with as much care as possible.

“We’ve established our reputation on this attention to detail along with our high level of expertise and the ability to work to other people’s processes.”