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Coventry tech company wins contract with Ford Valencia

L-R: Jane Talbot (Venture Centre), Paul Markgraf (Coventry City Council), Fhon Supmak, Tom Stolarski and Ronnie Kelly (all OVST)

An innovative Coventry business pioneering new technology which collates data via a 3D Robot Guidance System has secured a major contract with one of the world’s leading automotive companies.

Oxford Vision & Sensor Technology (OVST), which is based at the Venture Centre at the University of Warwick Science Park, is renowned for its work since millions of vehicles have had their windows inserted by the precise work of its robots and its customers include Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, Ford, Maserati, Ferrari and several others.

The SME was given a £40,000 grant from the Coventry and Warwickshire Innovation Fund, which is run by Coventry City Council and funded by the European Regional Development Fund, for research and design to develop a system which collects vital information to ensure the high quality of vehicles leaving automotive manufacturing plants.

The success of its work has led to winning a major contract to install its 3D Robot Guidance System at Ford Valencia for the model year 2019/2020 for its Ford Kuga.

Fhon Supmak, technical and sales director at OVST which also has subsidiaries in Thailand and China, said the team was really proud of its innovative work.

She said: “In the past, vehicles would go down the track and an operator would put the glass manually into the cars compared to using a 3D Robot Guidance System to insert the glass precisely and efficiently.

“A robot has been able to carry out these functions for some time but we are now able to collate meaningful statistical data to improve production processes and productivity from the cloud computing platform which means engineers working anywhere in the world can access the information and check the quality and productivity of every car leaving a site. The innovative technology leads to IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) revolution using Smart Factories.

“The Glazer Robot Guidance System systems are currently being used at Ford Valencia and will be used for its new model. We have the great potential to export it to other major automotive manufacturers.

“We are a small team but our work is global and I very much appreciate the effort my team has made to the success of this project.

“Every company in this field around the world wanted to work with Ford – many were multi-billion pound companies – but Ford Valencia selected us which is quite an achievement.

“The funding from the ERDF via Coventry City Council played a vital part in helping us to carry out our research and design and their support means we have been able to grow in the last 12 months.”

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration at Coventry City Council, said the Coventry and Warwickshire Innovation Fund was established to help businesses such as OVST.

“OVST has a strong track record in growing successfully because of the excellence of its work which complements local supply chains and the opportunity for exporting,” he said.

“We are supporting a business which is involved in emerging technologies and providing highly-skilled jobs in Coventry and the surrounding area and I’m delighted we could support them with grant cash to enable them to create new jobs.”

Jane Talbot, centre manager at the Venture Centre in Sir William Lyons Road, Canley, Coventry, said securing the contract with Ford Valencia was an important milestone in OVST’s history.

“It is fantastic to see the hard work carried out by OVST at the Venture Centre reap such positive rewards because their project is ground-breaking,” she said.

“Their software development expertise is being recognised globally as well as in the UK and I can’t wait to see what the team develops next!”