Innovative SMEs hold the key to UK industrial success

Date posted: April 25, 2023
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“DCE is an outstanding example of innovation that leads to rapid growth,” said Sir John Peace at today’s official opening of the new Hinckley headquarters of Digital Concepts Engineering Ltd (DCE).

“Your cutting-edge robotic control systems, building on the ingenuity of your team to remove human lives from areas where they’re most at risk – truly amazing. Our region has a proud history of producing truly pioneering firms and organisations in the engineering sector. And it’s fantastic to see DCE continue this legacy into the present day,” he said.

“We all know that the past few years have proved challenging for our region and the wider UK.  But that’s why now, more than ever, we need clear pathways to growth. One of these is to invest in and support dynamic, forward-looking SMEs that are designing and delivering world-leading solutions, like the ones pioneered by DCE,” he said.

DCE’s Brindley Road facility houses the company’s development and engineering workshop functions. The facility confirms the business’ transformation from “garage entrepreneur” to fully-fledged industrial concern.  The event was attended by over fifty industrialists, civil servants, and academics from across the vehicle industry in the UK and Europe.

“DCE’s mission is to keep people out of harm’s way in the most challenging of environments” said DCE Chairman Geoff Robins. “We do this through our core technology offering which is our robotic control system called MarionetteTM.”

With over 15 years of development behind it, MarionetteTM is at the heart of DCE’s ability to rapidly design and produce remote, semi-autonomous or fully autonomous ground vehicles which are capable operating across a range of industries, such as Defence, Nuclear, Security, Agriculture and Health Care.

“Working with our partners we have seen significant growth over recent years”, said Robins, “as the power of MarionetteTM is recognised as a true game changer in accelerating the introduction of innovative robotic solutions”.

DCE has proven its capabilities with a range of solutions for the UK’s Ministry of Defence and other military organisations.  These include remote controlled armoured and soft-skinned vehicles, reconnaissance and casualty recovery robots and the ability for an uncrewed vehicle to follow another so creating “single driver convoys”.

The company has applied MarionetteTM and this “follow-me” technology to develop a robot hospital bed mover that follows the designated medic. Known as Helios, this capability increases the efficiency and safety of patient movement in a hospital environment.

The company also produces a range of MarionetteTM-controlled tracked vehicles called the X-Series.  Compact, rugged, powerful and relatively low cost, X-Series vehicles are equipped with all the interfaces required to mount and operate sensors, manipulators and specialist equipment such as high-pressure hoses.  X-Series vehicles have been delivered for civilian applications in agriculture and the nuclear industry.  A submersible variant of the X-Series has been developed to tackle challenges such as large water/waste tunnel inspection and repair.

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