PlantWorks Ltd, based on the Kent Science Park, have developed a new production robot for a client. The move into engineering production is a departure for the company, which is best known for its successful range of gardening products.
The client in question initially approached PlantWorks because they are completely vertically integrated, handling all aspects of their own production including automated packaging, which is undertaken by their own production line robot. After securing the contract, PlantWorks took on additional space at Kent Science Park, undertaking work in a building nicknamed “The Hanger” due to it being a similar size and shape to an aircraft hanger.
Robert Patten, Managing Director commented on building the robot in the hanger:
“The hanger is an excellent building and has been absolutely perfect for this project. Because it is over a 100metres long yet has three-phase power and water, it was ideal for this sort of construction. It also looks extremely impressive; so our clients were suitably awed when we brought them down to show them their robot for the first time!”
James Speck, Site Director at Kent Science Park spoke about the development of the robot onsite and the assistance his team had given PlantWorks:
“The hanger is a unique building onsite and we’re delighted that we could offer it to Robert and his team to give them the room to undertake this project. We try to assist our tenants to drive their businesses forward and are pleased to have been able to help PlantWorks. Knowing Robert as we do, we feel sure this is just the beginning of many spinouts from their business. It again highlights the innovative technology that is taking place right here on the park.”
The robot PlantWorks have created has been made to handle and sand material for use in large decorative paneling; but as the sheets can weigh up to 120kg the client needed something built specifically for them, rather than just a standard production robot. The success of this venture has led them to launch a new company “PlantWorks Robotic Solutions Ltd”, which will focus solely on helping companies to reduce their cost of sales by automating the production process. Robert spoke about PlantWork’s diversification:
“It might sound like an odd thing for PlantWorks to be doing, but as we had already developed a large robot to undertake the packaging of our products, this seemed like a good use of the skills we had acquired. James and the rest of the team at Kent Science Park have been very supportive throughout the whole process, and their flexibility and assistance really helped us to get this project off of the ground. As this was the first real project for PRS Ltd we had wanted it to go as smoothly as possible, and the support from the Park really helped to ensure this happened.”