Saint Gobain UK has recently published a report on ‘Emerging Realities’, presenting exclusive interviews, findings and inspiration from thought leaders on selected areas facing disruption in the construction industry. The research also reveals tools and approaches already starting to be used by early adopters.
Mathew Holloway, Q-Bot’s CEO and Co-Founder, addressing how robotics and AI will transform the construction industry creating new jobs, putting quality at the heart of projects as well as creating buildings that are warmer, more comfortable and cheaper to maintain.
With an ageing workforce and the shortage of skilled people, the construction industry hasn’t changed for hundreds of years. Q-Bot’s solution connects the built environment with the digital revolution to rethink processes. Improving our existing homes and making them more comfortable is a key achievement to modernise the current housing stock as well as the construction industry.
Click on the here to read the full report.
We are looking for talented candidates who have a background in the construction industry and would like to use their technical skills to install under-floor insulation with robots. No previous knowledge in robotics required although carpentry/plastering and building skills are a big plus. You will receive training in how to use our robots through our in-house training course and through supervised installations.
We thought it might be helpful to ask Mitchell Cairns, one of our technicians, to tell us what the job is about and why he joined Q-Bot.
Mitchell, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I previously worked in the construction industry, mainly dry-lining and in general building. I joined Q-Bot because it was a really interesting company that gave me the opportunity to learn new things and broaden my skills set. Although my previous experience did not include robotics/digital technologies, I wanted to specialise and adapt to new challenges. As the construction industry is becoming more and more automated, it was exciting to work with a new and unique method of installing underfloor insulation.
How does a typical day look like for you?
Being an installer, I am usually on site. After liaising with the tenant and agreeing when the install will happen, we arrive on site with the spray van and all of our equipment. We take a variety of measurements, readings and tests as part of the surveying process before the install begins. We then access the void so we can put the robot in to perform 3D scans and panoramic photos of the void space. After heating the hose and insulation foam, we are ready to start spraying layers of insulation using the robot. It takes time to become confident with navigating the underside of a building, but after you get the hang of it, it’s really quite fun.
How long did it take you to learn all of these skills?
It took me around 2-3 months to learn the job. It was helpful that I had previous building experience, so felt quite confident with opening up the access hatch to insert the robot into the void. Q-Bot also helped with theoretical and practical installation training, so that I settled quite quickly into the job. The robot is controlled with a game pad connected to a laptop. As I often played computer games when I was younger, I felt right at home using it. Q-Bot has always been very supportive with developing my skills, and I have recently taken on more tasks such as booking in surveys/installations and helping with stock management.
What do you enjoy most about your role at Q-Bot?
Throughout the company, there is a very good team ethos, everyone works very well together, and there is always time to have a laugh. Being able to make a difference to the lives of those who are less fortunate is a great feeling. We are always developing new technologies to make our jobs easier, so it is exciting to get involved with something that I haven’t experienced before. We also get to travel a lot, for me, this is exciting as I love exploring and getting to see places I’ve never been to before – and meeting the locals can often be fun!
On the 14th of June, Q-Bot received the UK Ashden Award for Sustainable Buildings at the Royal Geographic Society in London. Mathew Holloway, CEO and co-founder, went on stage to pick up the award and made an inspiring speech on how Q-Bot will continue to go further and faster.
Ashden presented 10 Award Winners on the night, celebrating excellence in sustainable energy innovation around the world. This year, Christiana Figueres, who led the negotiations of the COP21 Paris Agreement, was the keynote speaker.
Most of the team attended the ceremony to celebrate this prestigious award – very proud to be part of Q-Bot family. Everyone puts lots of effort to bring robotics to the construction industry and reduce fuel poverty. Q-Bot will continue to pursue its hard work, breaking new grounds in engineering.
Dayna Kivell, Robot Manager, demonstrates the state-of-the-art-technology developed by Q-Bot. These powerful robotic devices can apply insulation beneath suspended floors, reducing installation costs and improving energy savings in buildings with limited disruption.
Q-Bot is excited to be amongst the forward thinking winners in the UK, working on the frontline of energy innovation, sustainable buildings, energy market disruption and clean air in towns and cities.
While the UK has some of Europe’s cheapest energy prices, it also has the highest bills, as our buildings are so inefficient. Q-Bot is helping to address this issue by using a robotic device to apply insulation and upgrade the worst performing homes, without the cost and disruption of traditional construction methods. Q-Bot’s underfloor solution makes buildings warmer, more efficient and cheaper to maintain.
Mathew Holloway, CEO and co-founder of Q-Bot said: “Winning this award is a huge step for Q-Bot. The credibility of the Ashden Awards and the associated publicity will help ensure the technology reaches its full potential, speeding up commercialisation and, as a result, improving both the UK’s building stock and the lives of the people who live in them.”
The Ashden judging panel commented: “Floor insulation gets left out of retrofit because it’s difficult to do, so it’s exciting to see something as innovative as this making it happen. We need policymakers to recognise its potential to save households money and contribute to the clean growth strategy.”
The judging panel has extensive experience in sustainable energy from a range of universities, consultancy organisations, architectural practices and Ashden representatives. Established in 2001, the Ashden Awards have rewarded more than 200 enterprises around the world. This has led to a collective improvement in the lives of more than 88 million people and saved 13 million tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.
For more information visit https://www.ashden.org/winners/q-bot
Q-Bot is transforming the construction industry, creating jobs and allowing workers to do more with less. Robots open up job markets for a much wider society and can overcome the skills shortages in building new homes.
New robotic and AI services are being developed that will enable people to do something that wasn’t possible before. This will open up new opportunities to create rewarding jobs and upskill the construction workforce.
Tom Lipinksi, Q-Bot’s co-founder, said: “The job that workers will do in the future will be safer and more interesting. Robotic and AI will have societal benefits for everybody.”
Of course, each robot has a name and staring in the video is ‘Annie’, named after Annie Edson Taylor who was the first person to take the plunge over Niagara Falls in a barrel and live to tell the tail.
The new robots are easier to manufacture and assemble and more intelligent than previous generations too. They are tough remotely operated vehicles that that can drive through hazardous and confined spaces accurately applying insulation. Each robot has 4 powerful drive modules as well as suspension which allows it to drive over loose terrain and the spray nozzle sits on a motorised platform. There are three cameras as well as lights so the installers can see exactly what’s going on. It is operated using a games pad which makes it super easy to control.
Q-Bot will exhibit for the first time at the Build:Revolution East Midlands on Thursday 26th April at Nottingham Conference Centre.
Visit us at our stand and have a go at operating Annie, one of our robotic devices.
Build:Revolution East Midlands is a one-day conference and exhibition dedicated to making innovative construction work for businesses. They want to help companies to deliver work, better, faster and cheaper. Build:Revolution brings together a range of partners and suppliers who can help get to grips with BIM, offsite construction, low energy building, smart technology, digitisation and virtual reality
Build:Revolution East Midlands is organised in partnership with the University of Nottingham and the Energy for Business ERDF programme.
Q-Bot, the UK’s leading developer of robots for use in the construction and energy industry, has been shortlisted in the “UK Sustainable Buildings” category for the prestigious Ashden Awards 2018, which reward the most exciting sustainable energy pioneers in the UK and developing world. The winners will be announced on Thursday 7th June, followed by the Awards ceremony, which takes place on 14th June 2018 at the Royal Geographic Society in London.
Buildings have a huge impact on the environment and on our quality of life. Howewer, they don’t often achieve their intended level of energy efficiency, making them uncomfortable to live or work in and resulting in high energy bills and higher CO2 emissions.
Q-Bot has set out to change that by providing robotic solutions for the construction, maintenance and upgrade of buildings. The company has developed the first affordable and scalable solution for retrofitting insulation to suspended timber floors.
The standard method of insulating suspended timber floors involves removing furniture, carpets and floorboards; cutting and fitting insulation material between the floor joists by hand; and refitting the floorboards and carpets. With Q-Bot, the entire insulation process takes one or two days, creates little waste, is relatively inexpensive and provides exceptionally good energy savings. The company’s robotic underfloor insulation makes homes warmer and more comfortable while increasing energy efficiency and improving the health of buildings. As part of the drive to tackle fuel poverty, Q-Bot is currently working with housing associations and local authorities to install underfloor insulation in their properties across the UK.
Q-Bot’s CEO Mathew Holloway said: "We are very proud and excited to be shortlisted in the Ashden Award’s UK Sustainable Buildings Category. This is the first time we applied for the awards, and our entire team looks forward to the Awards ceremony on 14th June."
Q-Bot hosted the Rt. Hon. Claire Perry, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) last Thursday in preparation for the Government’s announcement of the consultation for the new Energy Company Obligation (ECO 3).
BEIS are seeking feedback on ECO 3, the government’s flagship scheme for reducing fuel poverty and ensuring affordable warmth. The proposed changes include a greater role for innovation in reducing energy bills of some of the UK’s worst performing homes, and where better to see innovation in energy efficiency than Q-Bot’s labs in Wandsworth. Claire Perry tried using Q-Bot’s robots first hand, even applying insulation under the test floor in the workshop.
I visited @QBot_UK, the innovative insulating robot to check out how tech will help people living in fuel poverty save money on their energy bills under new government proposals. The consultation is on the Energy Company Obligation scheme. #CleanGrowth @beisgovuk pic.twitter.com/gHXwQaSBg3— Claire Perry (@claireperrymp) March 30, 2018
Mathew Holloway: "The UK has among the lowest energy prices in Europe but also some of the highest bills, as our homes are so inefficient. With the life span of buildings in tens, or hundreds of years, this makes decisions about their future critical, but often outside our own horizons. This is why leadership from government is so important in order to set a long-term strategy, and why schemes like ECO 3 are crucial to ensure this happens. The other key barriers, disruption and cost, are where innovation can play its part. New services such as those developed by Q-Bot reduce cost and eliminate the practical issues, enabling a future where all our homes can be comfortable and warm."
ECO 3 is scheduled to start in September 2018 with an expenditure of £640,000,000 per year allocated to insulation measures targeted at the least efficient homes that mean their inhabitants are more likely to be in fuel poverty. Since Q-Bot has developed a novel insulation method for older, inefficient dwellings that halves the insulation costs of solid wall properties the company is ideally placed to help deliver this flagship program.
Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) has become the first official partner of Q-Bot, bringing its energy efficient insulation solutions to the North of England. The arms-length management organisation responsible for managing Newcastle City Counci's housing stock is diversifying its offer to include an under-floor insulation service to over 1,500 properties in the next three years, which will be installed via Q-Bot's unique process.
The partnership is a first for Q-Bot, who develop smart tools using robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) that can inspect, monitor and maintain the health of buildings. It will see YHN manage all aspects of service provision, from winning new business to installation and after care.
Insulating the floor with a layer of insulation material improves the energy efficiency of a building by reducing the heat lost to the space beneath the building and the ground, and creating a barrier to cold air entering the property.
Tina Drury, YHN's Managing Director, explains why the organisation was so keen to work with Q-Bot: "Like all social landlords, we have a requirement to improve the thermal efficiency of our homes and achieve certain SAP ratings as dictated by government. Q-Bot has been proven to be the most cost-effective retrofit measure for these types of properties per EPC point gained, after loft insulation. This is a service that many other landlords and housing providers like us will be keen to take advantage of".
Mathew Holloway, Q-Bot's CEO: "Q-Bot is excited to be working with YHN to deliver a vision of the future where robotics and AI have transformed the construction industry and empowered workers. YHN's commitment to invest in the area and improve the health of homes in the North of England meant they were the perfect partner for Q-Bot. This partnership will deliver a wide range of long lasting social and economic benefits for the local community, including the creation of rewarding and highly skilled jobs."
We are delighted to announce that Q-Bot has won the CIBSE Building Performance Award 2018 under the category Product and Innovation. The ceremony was attended by the following Q-Bot employees: Maddy Clifford (Product Manager), Dayna Kivell (Robot Manager), Laura Moreira (Electrical Engineer) and Chris Uglow (Electrical Engineer).
Dayna said: "We are really pleased and excited to have received this prestigious award. This is fantastic news and acknowledges all of our efforts to bring robotics to the construction industry. I very much enjoyed being on stage with my colleagues and hope that we will continue to break new grounds in engineering." - Dayna Kivell, Robot Manager
Q-Bot's fully BBA and Green Deal accredited robotics solution dramatically speeds up the installation of under-floor insulation in existing buildings at a fraction of the cost and time of alternative methods, while also ensuring gains in energy efficiency and comfort.
The judges commented: "Q-Bot is an innovative product that could really make a difference. They provided a lot of data including independent testing, which we were impressed with. This is a great fun product that makes it much easier to save money on your energy bills. "
Now in its 11th year, the CIBSE Building Performance Awards recognise building services solutions that help to reduce the amount of energy used in buildings by either reducing energy demand or through efficient use of energy by the product or innovation. They are the only industry Awards that focus on actual, measured performance outcomes, and not just design intent or performance specifications.
The judging panel comprised of representatives from a range of engineering and consultancy organisations including Mitsubishi Electric, Sainsbury Energy, Better Buildings Partnership, Sutton Vane Associates, Max Fordham and was chaired by Hywel Davies, Technical Director, CIBSE.
Q-Bot, the UK's leading developer of robots for use in the construction industry, has closed an investment round of £450,000 supported by ClearlySo, Minerva Investors Group, Curious Capital, London Business Angels and Chicago Booth Angels. The investment is leveraged with £1,050,000 funding from the EU Commission's Horizon 2020 program, to bring the total funding up to £1.5m. The new funds will allow Q-Bot to roll out the world's first affordable solution for under floor insulation.
Hayley Collen, Investment Director at ClearlySo: "This is an exciting time for Q-Bot as it looks to scale up in the UK and launch in new markets. ClearlySo is proud to have helped them raise capital at each step of their journey to improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel poverty for customers in the UK and beyond."
With an estimated 10m homes needing under floor insulation in the UK alone and with markets in Northern Europe and the US, there is a huge need to develop more scalable approaches for the retrofit of insulation. Q-Bot has developed a highly innovative, robotic device that can deploy through a small opening, survey and map the space, apply insulation in situ and then validate the job done. This unique approach transforms inefficient, cold and draughty properties into warm and cosy homes at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional methods. It also minimises disruption for the occupants and can reduce energy bills by as much as 1/4, saving hundreds of pounds. This has resulted in Q-Bot acquiring significant clients in the social housing sector, including Camden Council, Cardiff City Council, CityWest Homes, Islington Council and Peabody.
Mathew Holloway, CEO and Co-Founder: "The support of our investors combined with co-funding from the EU Commission's H2020 program, has enabled Q-Bot to secure the accreditation critical to our customers and partners including a BBA Agrément Certificate and CE Mark. Q-Bot is now poised to roll out the service across the UK and capitalise on successful trials in France and the US. This new investment will allow Q-Bot to accelerate growth and put in place the infrastructure required to deliver the service across the millions of homes that need it. Q-Bot has already created dozens of jobs and insulated hundreds of homes, but our goal is to have an impact on a global scale, by transforming the construction industry with smarter solutions."
Cornel Chirac, Chicago Booth Angels: "We are impressed by Mathew and his team's vision for the future and Q-Bot's accomplishments to date. Chicago Booth Angels Network is proud to support Q-Bot in solving a real problem through the use of technology for people in the UK and beyond."
Q-Bot's under floor insulation service has been awarded the highly prized British Board of Agrément ("BBA") accreditation for the construction industry. The BBA Agrément Certificate Number 17/5440i1 covers Q-Bot's suspended timber floor insulation service for domestic and non-domestic buildings. The service is delivered using a robotic device called 'SprayBot' which can crawl under old homes and insulate the floor from below, a job which is generally impossible for a human being (as floor voids are typically 12" deep).
This new, highly innovative service creates skilled jobs in the building sector, since the task of insulating under floors was previously impractical and cost prohibitive. At the same time, the resultant energy and cost savings generate one of the quickest paybacks of all insulation measures, creating a very appealing win-win for everybody.
Q-Bot's under floor insulation service was put through its paces by the BBA in the lab and onsite to demonstrate compliance with the Building Regulations. Working with the BBA, Q-Bot developed a detailed training program and a fully accountable quality management system to ensure each install is delivered consistently and to the highest standards. The accreditation also opens up opportunities for government funding through schemes such as ECO helping to fund the roll out of the service.
Mathew Holloway, CEO of Q-Bot: "The award of the BBA Agrément Certificate demonstrates that Q-Bot's process of insulating the floor is robust, meets all the requirements of the Building Regulations and can be consistently and reliably applied across millions of homes in the UK. The unique solution allows the whole process to be recorded, complete with a survey of the area and depth of insulation to ensure the quality of the job done. The service will also have a fantastic impact on local communities, generating employment as well as reducing fuel poverty and CO2 emissions. The BBA Certificate will enable us to deliver these impacts at scale across the UK and overseas."
Q-Bot is a high tech, high growth, international start-up, developing robotics and intelligent systems that will revolutionise the built environment, looking to hire a number of new recruits to join a multidisciplinary product development team:
Senior Embedded Software Engineer (C++, Linux) to own the software development program, it's architecture, and shape the future direction of the company's products.
A Research Manager to lead the companies research and development program, creating cutting edge new technology and helping to identify the next big thing!
A Junior or Mid-Level Embedded Software Engineers working with C++ and Linux to develop control systems for the robots and related systems.
Research Engineers with a background in robotics or software focusing on Robotics (C++, ROS, SLAM, Mapping) or Vision and AI (C++, Vision, Mapping, Deep Learning, etc).
Q-Bot will exhibit again at CIH Housing taking place at Manchester Central from the 27th to the 29th of June. We will also deliver a seminar about turning challenges in the sector into opportunities (promoted by a rather mysterious banner below):
The role of new technology in improving stock and creating new sources of revenue
In light of the relentless squeeze on social landlord budgets with the 1% rent reduction eating into funds, new and innovative approaches are required for cost-effectively managing stock and generating revenue.
Landlords have so far tried to adapt in various ways - by cutting costs, reducing maintenance frequency or increasing for-sale housing developments.
Social landlords are amongst the most trusted institutions in the UK and have the capacity to engage with the public and internal resources to deliver services beyond their own stock. Can this be leveraged to provide new sources of revenue?
This seminar explores the ways in which social landlords can adopt new technologies and diversify their operations to improve their own stock in the most cost effective manner as well as boosting their revenue.
Reducing the cost and improving the quality of surveys, maintenance and energy efficiency measures can help Social Landlords retain financial viability but this can also be combined with increased revenue and profits. To find out how make sure you don't miss our seminar on Wednesday at 12:50 at the Ideas Exchange and visit the Q-Bot at stand D53 to learn more.
Late on Wednesday the 31st of May Q-Bot was hosted by the Science Museum for the once-a-month late night opening. The team got to meet general public and show off the SprayBot in the great setting of the Flight Zone full of aviation history.
Research undertaken by Professors Chris Gorse & David Johnston of Leeds Beckett University demonstrated that Q-Bot's underfloor insulation can reduce heat loss from existing homes by 1/4.
Coheating and air tightness tests as well as thermographic surveys were undertaken at a Wakefield District Housing property before and after the installation of floor insulation by Q-Bot. A coheating test is the most in-depth heat loss assessment available - an unoccupied home is continuously kept at a target temperature (normally 25 degrees) by metered electrical heaters for a period of at least two weeks with all other conditions, such as humidity, external temperatures and wind speed, monitored closely. At the end of the test the energy consumed is calculated and compared, taking into account temperature differences between inside and outside. This is the most practical test available as it evaluates performance of real building elements over an extended period of time and provides more accurate results than building performance modelling. A 42 W/K improvement in the heat loss coefficient was measured form 177 W/K before and 135 W/K after the floor insulation. This represents a 24% improvement in the energy use of the building.
Airtightness tests involve pressurising the building with a fan mounted in the front door to establish its air permeability (leakiness) at higher pressure; it provides the number of cubic meters of air pumped into the property per hour to keep the pressure at 50 Pascals, divided by each square meter of its external fabric. This test helps to evaluate the reduction in overall building leakiness following the installation of floor insulation by Q-Bot. In this case air permeability dropped from 18.3 m3/m2.h @ 50Pa to 11.2 m3/m2.h; this represents a 39% improvement.
Q-Bot was featured on BBC Radio 4 Panorama, BBC News online and BBC Twitter as part of the debate about insulating the UK's 25 million homes. The coverage followed a widely cited report by the UK Green Building Council about the built environment related challenges facing the Government's CO2 reduction targets, with over 80% of the houses in 2050 having been already built. This realisation shifts the challenge from new construction to retrofitting of existing homes, a subject which recent Governments have shied away from.
UK GBC is clear that game changing innovation is required from the construction sector to deliver retrofits effectively and efficiently and point out Q-Bot as an example of successful implementation of this:
Ms Hirigoyen called for support for innovation amongst builders. The GBC pointed to a firm, Q-Bot, which insulates people's floors by sending robots to creep under people's floorboards and spray them with foam.
The firm's head, Mathew Holloway, told BBC News: "We have to find new ways of doing things. Normal refurbishment often means literally tearing a home apart.
"That means local authorities having to re-house tenants whilst it's being done. With our robot, we can seal and insulate wooden floors without touching the inside of the house."
Link to the news story:
Under-floor insulation with robots has just got easier (with a reduced waiting time). Q-Bot has site tested it's 6th generation of SprayBots which are faster, more robust and easier to control than the previous, 5th generation. The outgoing robotic spray hardware will continue it's useful life as training robots, installation back up and a mobile platform for testing additional sensors and actuators.
The Mk6 SprayBots are pictured without the spray nozzle (hence empty platform) or the spray tether that connects the nozzle to the spray foam reactor (which is responsible for supplying the perfect mix of two part insulation foam and resides in the Q-Bot van).
The new generation of SprayBots will allow Q-Bot to fulfil the fast growing volume of orders for the floor insulation service.
We've had a great Homes Show at Kensington Olympia, including a very busy stand, overattended seminar and many attendees coming to play with our SprayBot (yes, it is very easy to control).
Dominic, our Head of Sales and Penny one of the new SprayBots at stand H63 after a very busy day
Robots deployed in the London Borough of Camden to install insulation without disruption, making homes warmer and reducing energy bills.
You wouldn't normally expect robots and social housing to coexist in the same sentence let alone in real life - yet this is what is happening in the London Borough of Camden. Q-Bot, working with Camden Council, is using robots to insulate the floors underneath older properties and reduce heat loss. Improving not only the energy efficiency of the homes it owns, but also the comfort of the tenants living there.
Many of the homes in Camden are older period properties and are therefore relatively inefficient, losing a lot of heat and costing a fortune to keep warm. They are also mostly located in conservation areas making other energy saving measures such as wall insulation or improved windows expensive or impossible to apply. This leaves the suspended timber floor as the next area to consider but the traditional insulation methods are too cumbersome - requiring the removal of furniture, carpets and floorboards just to start the job, then laborious cutting of insulation board to fit between the joists and, since the old floor joists are warped and twisted, the end result is far from perfect.
Camden Council first trialled the Robotic Insulation service in March 2014 and the results were more than encouraging. Detailed monitoring has shown that heat loss through the floor was reduced by 78% and cold air infiltration was eradicated (reducing infiltration into the house by over 60%).
This resulted in a very happy tenant who now enjoys a cosy, comfortable and efficient Victorian home which looks no different to the cold, draughty and impossible to heat house she lived in the previous winter. Ms Chapman didn't have to move out, suffer construction work or change her habits to achieve this transformation. Following the installation she stated: "I am absolutely delighted. My flat has never been described as cosy before. It is warm, quieter, and there are less cold draughts."
When it comes to Camden Council, the benefit of the underfloor insulation service by Q-Bot is not only the only high impact energy efficiency measure that can be deployed to many older buildings without altering the façade of the building or suffering intrusive construction work, it is also one of the most cost effective. Analysis shows that the savings cover the costs in half the time compared to solid wall insulation.
Mathew Holloway, the CEO of Q-Bot said: "Not having to move the tenants out is the key advantage as it makes the job significantly easier and cheaper. No requirement to significantly refurbish the house is also very helpful as this saves on disruption and the usual cost and time overruns. We also don't have to put up scaffolding required for external wall insulation and don't generate any site waste which is obviously beneficial. The installation makes a real difference immediately so tenants are more comfortable which makes getting them signed on is easy. In conservation areas planning permission is also an issue which we avoid. So we think it makes a pretty compelling case for properties like these."
Q-Bot, the UK's leading robotics provider specialising in the construction and energy industry, announces a close of £305k of investment through ClearlySo, Wroxall and Minerva Investors Group of Business Angels, and Curious White. Q-Bot will leverage the investment with €2.13m from the EU Commission's H2020 Programme as part of the highly competitive SME Instrument programme over the next two years bringing total funding to £2m. The new funds will help to scale up and deploy the world's most sophisticated robotics technology for building insulation whilst delivering the benefits of warmer, more energy efficient homes to a greater number of customers and prepare the company for growth.
Q-Bot provides robotic solutions for the built environment for the construction, maintenance, and upgrade of buildings and industrial assets. These intelligent tools allow workers to remotely inspect and carry out a range of operations in hard to reach areas, such as crawl spaces, at height, or where there are other hazards, making human access undesirable. The robots can survey these spaces, building a detailed 3D map, gather environmental conditions, identify and locate services, faults and other hazards in order to plan servicing and maintenance. The robots can also carry out a range of operations including applying treatments such as insulation, protective finishes and other measures.
Matthew Vickerstaff, ClearlySo's Head of Investment Banking commented, "Our investor network, Clearly Social Angels, was pleased to invest in Q-Bot; a company that encapsulates so many aspects of what is important to us - improving people's living conditions with a clever, cost-effective solution that the Housing Associations want to buy - led by a professional management team."
Mathew Holloway, CEO & Co-Founder: "The construction industry still relies on many labour intensive processes which have not changed for 100's of years. Our vision is to create intelligent tools that empower people, upskilling the workforce, creating new jobs, making the operation safer, more productive and rewarding."
"We have built a great team, proven the technology works, demonstrated that customers value our offer, and we are now working with partners to scale this innovative new service across the UK, France and further afield. This investment provides a step change in our approach, whilst validating the potential of the business to transform the construction and energy industry into a multi-billion pound market."
Q-Bot's initial focus is to use a robot to apply insulation in under floor voids in the 18 million homes in Northern Europe with suspended floors. The service transforms inefficient, cold and draughty homes into warm and cosy places in which to live and work. Q-Bot's service is a fraction of the cost, time, disruption and hassle of traditional methods while reducing energy bills by hundreds of pounds. It dramatically reduces fuel poverty at a much lower cost than traditional retrofit measures and has resulted in Q-Bot acquiring significant clients in the social housing sector, including Camden Council, Cardiff City Council, CityWest Homes, Islington Council and Peabody. This investment will enable Q-Bot to insulate more floors, much more quickly and discussions are under way to roll-out installations at scale.
Tom Lipinski, Director & Co-Founder said: "People seem to treat robotic technologies as a threat - but our robots are intelligent tools that enable us to bring immediate benefits to: customers (warmer, more energy efficient homes without the usual [or expected] disruption and eye watering costs), workers (we let the robot crawl under the floor and spray insulation whilst controlling it remotely) and the environment (less damage to homes, no construction waste, and lower energy use). We expand human capabilities - improving lives, reducing energy costs and helping the environment - all at an acceptable price."
We have just completed our move to a new office and workshop so please note that Q-Bot no longer resides in Block F of Riverside Business Centre in Wandsworth. We have now taken on a whole Block in the same location and the new address is: Block G, Riverside Business Centre, Bendon Valley, Wandsworth, London SW18 4UQ.
Building Technology of the Year
Winner: Q-Bot - Retrofitting with Robot
Q-Bot is introducing advanced robotics into the world of insulation. In another highly competitive category, the judges were blown away by this highly innovative technology and its ability to slash insulation costs by up to 75 per cent while improving the efficiency of some of our coldest homes by up to a quarter.
One of the problems with energy efficiency is that for the average person, it's not a very exciting topic. Trying to convince people to spend their time, and money, considering insulation projects that are often expensive and disruptive to install, is a tall order. Added to that, much of the low-hanging fruit in the sector - such as loft insulation - has already been rolled out, yet millions of "hard to treat homes" up and down the country needing more expensive or complicated retrofits are still leaking energy throughout the year.
In this context Q-Bot's roving robot is something of a master stroke, tapping into our love of gadgets while tackling the sobering topics of energy efficiency and fuel poverty. Any invention that can hit those two hot political topics in one neatly packaged piece of British robotics is destined for big things.
UK Robotics Company insulating Social Homes is named The Best Start-up at the Invention and Entrepreneurship in Robotics Awards held in Seattle, USA
We are delighted to announce that Q-Bot Ltd is the winner of the IEEE Invention and Entrepreneurship in Robotics and Automation Award for 2015. This was announced in Seattle at the IEEE/IFR Joint Forum on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Robotics and Automation (IERA) on the 28th May, in front of over 2700 US and international delegates.
The winning pitch at the IEEE/IFR conference in Seattle was presented by Tom Lipinski, a founding director of Q-Bot and serial entrepreneur. The judges at the event were impressed not just by the cutting-edge robotics technology developed in-house and applied in practice but by the positive social impact of the company - improving the lives of people on low incomes and in fuel poverty.
Tom Lipinski said: "A UK Start-up winning the World Entrepreneurship in Robotics Award might sound odd - we consider Japan as the leader in Robotics and US in enterprise. Yet very little of the current Robotics know-how is being actively applied to real life problems, especially in the US. Yes we are at the forefront of robotic vision, image fusion, localization and mapping but it is the impact we have that makes this the most rewarding job on the planet: helping reduce fuel poverty and improving lives while saving energy and the environment. This wouldn't be possible if it wasn't cost effective but thanks to the cutting-edge technology, it is - we have a number of Social Housing clients who prove it."