philip@philipenglish.com

Philip English

Robotics Enthusiast, Director, Investor, Trainer, Author and Vlogger

Indus four Interview with Arthur Keeling

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Hi guys Philip English this from philipenglish.com. Welcome to the Robot Optimized Podcast where we talk about everything robotics related. For our next episode, we have Indus Four led by Co-founder Arthur Keeling who will talk about their leading technology solutions.

Philip English: 
Hi guys. Um, my name is Philip English and I am a robotics enthusiasts report on the latest business application of robotics. And my, uh, my mission is to get you robot optimized as a support industry, infrastructure and innovation, uh, today, uh, we’ve got, um, Arthur Keeling from, uh, Indus four and, um, Indus four really, um, relooking to redefine how organizations access and control automation, uh, to solve their problems. Um, so Arthur, hello. Hello, must be here. Nice to meet you. Thank you for your time. Um, so I think the first thing that we wanted to go through is this really just a, uh, a bit of a, um, uh, an explanation about yourself and the company, if that’s okay. Just to give us like an overview.

Arthur Keeling: 
Um, so of course, um, well Indus Four was founded just before the, uh, first lockdowns of COVID and we had set out to deliver automation for people by tackling problems that they hadn’t normally associated, that could be automated. So by offering solutions that can help them tackle challenges that they maybe didn’t think they could automate. And over the last 12 months, obviously the world has changed beyond recognition. But what that has led for us is we’ve become the sort of go-to of automating tasks that people thought they couldn’t automate. And that has led to a loss of work with pharmaceutical companies, uh, the NHS, um, but also food producers we’ve been speaking to. And these were jobs, which they didn’t previously think they even wanted to automate, but events overtaking them and we’ve been helping, uh, deliver sometimes prototypes, sometimes working solutions. And so helping provide those tools for them to automate solutions that traditionally they may not have wanted to approach five years ago.

Philip English: 
Wow. So, so for, so because of the pandemic it’s made, so those, um, that those End users think a little bit more about how they can do their normal manufacturing and processing, and then we’ll see that, then they’ve come to you to say, okay, look, we do need to think about this. Like we’ve never done it before, and we need some, some smarts and creative services solutions to actually get it, get it, get it working.

Arthur Keeling: 
Absolutely. So we’ve brought together a team and our team has made officer AI vision specialists, and then we’ve got mechanical engineers, electrical engineers. So by having that broad skills team, and by being located next to the Bristol robotics lab, it gives us the access to huge amounts of knowledge. And by being able to pool resources like that, we’re able to tap into, you know, researchers from the universities in Bristol, but also we’ve got our own offices next to it. And that’s some collaboration helps us tackle a lot of those challenges. And it’s been tasks that traditionally people weren’t, they weren’t a problem before, but they are now whether it be because of having to distance staff, they’re having to automate a process or it’s because there was a job they didn’t do before all of this. And they’re now having to do, and they’ve discovered that needs automating because it’s very burdensome taking time, or quite often we find it so valuable staff doing mundane work suddenly, and they’re having to find a way of freeing up their bodied staff, whether it be doctors or people working in pathology departments and things like that.

Philip English: 
Right. I see. I see. So, so the business is only about a year old or two years,

Arthur Keeling: 
Just over a year old now, just over a year.

Philip English: 
And, and then, and in the history of the business, so you from sort of the Bristol robotics lab, um, like background or if you, yeah,

Arthur Keeling: 
So I, I was at university here in bristol as well, um, which is how I’ve kind of associated with it and have worked with various projects with other companies before starting this with 3d printing technologies, um, have worked with some drones before, and that’s a combination of projects we’ve worked on, enabled us to bring together that team that is now delivering what we are able to do. And it’s offering those services to people who need towards those tasks. And it’s that sort of broad range of skills that we will learn. So over quite a few years, uh, got a team of 10 now delivering these, and then we’re able to serve, use external. So people for other areas to help support that.

Philip English: 
Right. And I suppose the, the problems that, that, that you’re solving is going to be a complete mixture. I know, sense that’s some of the interviews. Um, we, we, we see a lot of the, um, uh, the, uh, the vendors sort of focusing on one particular problem, but it sounds like obviously you you’re, you’re more of a, of a speak to the customer, get an understanding of what, of, what they need to do, and then realize what, what their overall problems are and then come back to solve them. Is it, I suppose the question is, is it it, are you finding the same sort of problems that you’re solving or are they completely different for every customer?

Arthur Keeling: 
No, actually not. It’s a really good point. We are tackling problems, which often end up having mass market appeal. Okay. So we’re finding, we’re not working on a one-off project when we’re working on a project, we often then analyze what else is available out there. And then we realized that they are not the only person who has that problem, and those are the problems we’ve been focused on. So we’re able to help offer it to other people beyond the, um, by using our sort of platform that we’re developing, we’re able to scale those benefits for other people, not just as one-off products. And that’s something that we do really importantly, when we’re working with customers, we look beyond just that case as well. So we’re always looking, you know, one, two and five years down the road of how we can bring those benefits and not just in the immediate shorter.

Philip English: 
Right. And then, so do you end up supplying the customer with like a finished product solution or finished products, software? Is that, is it, is that how it works?

Arthur Keeling: 
So the combination of the two, um, we have our own platform that we’ve developed as well to help support our hardware roll outs. Um, and we’re looking at how we could partner with other or manufacturers to offer our platform as a standalone product, but also continuing to show what’s possible using our software with our hardware solutions at the moment. And that’s where we’ve been deploying them with some pharmaceutical companies and within the NHS at the moment, supporting some of the work they’re doing. And we’ve been using those as the case studies and the proof points of what is possible with a new way of trying to handle different parts of automation. And these are often highly trained individuals who multiple PhDs and their knowledge and power is incredible, but they’re not robot experts and it’s about making it accessible for them. And so that’s how we’ve tried some gear and it deliver these tools,

Philip English: 
Deliver the tool. And it’s yours. It’s your software system? INX is that the one I was doing a bit of research and I was on your Western, on your website system. I, I next was that something completely different?

Arthur Keeling: 
That was, uh, one of our earlier prototypes of our system. Um, and it’s a bit that’s version one and we’ve sort of, we’re evolving as we go. And that’s been a really key learning point for us is as we’ve been working on a number of projects over the last year with a range of different customers, that’s of learning and that learning is going into the platform to improve it. And we’re working with companies manufacturers of off the shelf components in Germany, in the UK, and by being able to work with them, we’re able to bring the benefits of our platform to them as well.

Philip English: 
Right. Okay. That’s really, really interesting. That’s really interesting. So see, so it’s obviously solving the customer’s problems you see have having a look at the solutions. I mean, it’s, it’s, um, I suppose what, what’s the bigger picture then? I suppose if you’ve got your own platform, is it to obviously grow the platform and obviously, uh, be, have the ability to integrate with lots of different vendors? Is that, is that what you’re saying?

Arthur Keeling: 
Okay. Well much, much like yourself. So you, as a robot, enthusiastic, we, our team or increase of enthusiastic about machine, vision, robotics, and getting automation out there. And it’s about getting it to two more people. And I think in the next 15 years, we’re going to see the automation and digitalization of manufacturing processes that are going to do wall office has come before us already. And I think it’s going to be a really exciting time to see what happens now. And that’s where we’re trying to enable more people to benefit from that change, whether that be control, just simple sensors that you’re putting into a shop to help you control the temperature and reduce your energy output for environmental reasons, or you’re controlling a check-in sheds to improve the climates in it, or you’re using a robotic arm for pack and place at the end of, uh, the latest first sickle farming installation somewhere. It’s about trying to enable a platform to that more and more people access them as we see. So more and more people trying to embrace better ways of working.

Philip English: 
Wow. Yeah, no, it sounds like you guys have got some great projects there. I mean, I suppose I’m like, I quite like the idea is obviously like you work on a solution and then now you can see how you can take that to the mass market. I mean, would you, um, w w w I’ve seen people do that before and, and they, they would normally almost brand it and create their own company or, you know, and an AP and other companies spin off of your company. Is that something you guys sort of see in the future?

Arthur Keeling: 
Um, that’s not how we operate at the moment. Um, and by pooling our resources and developing these products, it means that we are able to deliver the best value for money as well for people. So by rather than spinning everything off, we’re able to keep knowledge and skills contained within the company so that we can take learning from different projects. Cause we often find there is crossover between some of these, and then we don’t get any trips or spells with, uh, different companies having competition over each other. And by bringing it together and having that sort of collaboration between all the projects within our company enables us to take learning from areas. You wouldn’t have thought you could have taken a lesson or anything like that from, and you pick up all sorts of great insights, but that’s also one of the benefits of being based somewhere where you’ve got access to people like the bristol, robotics lab, you have conversations with people and yeah, those are the moments that you can really help you fix that problem. Or how are we going to get us certain things you move in a certain way. And that is something I think we’re all looking forward to once we can get back into the office, being able to have those design and engineering meetings. Aren’t I I’m much more challenging when they’re done like this at the moment

Philip English: 
Or on the, on the virtual arena. Yes, indeed. Okay. Um, I suppose the, the, the other question that I had was, um, it more in regards to, um, I suppose, like opportunities to work with you guys. So if I was, if you have a customer saying far more or in a hospital, was it, what, what, what, what’s the best way to work with you? Is it, is it, is it to literally say, Oh, look, here’s some videos, here’s some pictures. This is what we need to do. Like, can you guys have a go at creating like a system for us? Is that, is that, is that how you guys work or yeah.

Arthur Keeling: 
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we’ve been often we’re approached by people and they come to us saying, this is my problem, and this is the challenge I’m looking to solve. And they, then we sort of evaluate it internally and see what we can do. Um, and that’s normally just a consultation with them and a conversation where we can scope it out. We’ve had a project this year that we had our first meeting on the 11th of January for pound. We are already sort of rolling out the products in the coming weeks, um, for them. So that’s something as well that, where I was bringing that severe speed and agility within our team as well. Um, but that’s sometimes why we’ve also partnered a larger organization. So larger organizations have blips walls make tasks, and they’ve come to us saying, yeah, you’ve got that speed and agility. We’re looking for we’ll work with the on project. So we’ve had that combination of individuals coming with photos and problems. I’d like to solve all the way to larger company saying we’re looking to partner with an agile automation company to help us fix problems.

Philip English: 
Right. Right. Are you guys do some amazing stuff? Uh, yeah. So what would be the next steps in getting in contact you, you know, um, and what sort of industries would be the best sort of marks for getting in contact with you guys?

Arthur Keeling: 
. Um, well, at the moment we’ve got a really strong focus in the medical sector and we’re working really closely with a large number of doctors and pharmaceutical companies. So if you are in the medical sector, we’d love to hear from you. Um, we’ve got a number of products we’re developing in this space at the moment, uh, ranging from primary care all the way to sort of their pathology departments. And we’d be really interested to hear from you to see if we could also bring these products to help benefit you, but also maybe improve them and get your feedback and thoughts on them as possible. It’d be fantastic to talk.

Philip English: 
Right. Fantastic. I said, well, yeah. So, nthat sounds very exciting. And I think, I think what we’ll do then guys is we have a concept with us, Arthur, the next sort of three to six months and just see some of these that the projects that the guys are working on, but it sounds like some very, very like exciting stuff and yeah, and very, very much thanks for your time today. I very much appreciate it.

Arthur Keeling: 
Okay. Well, thank you so much for having me here and look forward to touching base in maybe a couple of months, time and updating I’ve gone away. We’ve got two little projects.

Philip English: 
Fantastic. Thank you, sir.

Arthur Keeling: 
Brilliant. Thank you very much for your time. Really appreciate it.

Robot Optimised Podcast #3 – Arthur Keeling of Indus Four

Indus Four : https://www.indusfour.com/

Philip English: https://philipenglish.com/

Sponsor: Robot Center : http://www.robotcenter.co.uk

Youtube:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BjcCt0kWII&ab_channel=PhilipEnglish

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