Scottish artificial intelligence and robotics specialist gears up for growth

Jock Gardiner and John Duncan of Alba Equity with Ben Bamford and Ben Stuart

Jock Gardiner and John Duncan of Alba Equity with Ben Bamford and Ben Stuart

An Aberdeen company specializing in artificial intelligence-based robotics for food companies is aiming to double its workforce following a fundraising.

Leap Automation, founded in 2018 by Ben Bamford and Ben Stuart, said it recently received a “significant round of investment” from syndicate Alba Equity and economic development agency Scottish Enterprise.

A spokesperson for Leap said this had brought the amount of funds raised by the company over the past 18 months to £3million. He added that Leap, which designs, builds and installs complete systems in the food packaging automation sector with “the underlying equipment…designed to meet the requirements of a wide range of customers with a minimum of customization”, planned to increase its workforce from 21 to 42.

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The spokesperson confirmed that Mr. Bamford and Mr. Stuart, who had careers developing and commercializing technology solutions in the energy sector before founding Leap, retain a majority stake in the company between them. , following the latest fundraising.

Leap said that, “having developed the underlying codebase and robotics technology over the past three years,” its founders “are focused on helping the food industry solve a critical workforce challenge.” ‘work and efficiency’.

The company has assembled a team that includes robotics engineers, machine learning specialists, software developers, and three-dimensional printing and data specialists.

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Leap said its software allows its systems to “deliver more with fewer components and complexity than traditional packaging machines,” providing a “simpler” and “more cost-effective” option for robotic automation. He noted that he designs and builds robotic systems “from the ground up,” while also developing his own software.

The company said: “After the launch of [the] first product in early 2022, the PikPak ​​solution, Leap is working with a major international food conglomerate and one of Europe’s largest fresh produce producers to deploy systems.

He added: “PikPak, designed and manufactured in Scotland, is able to pack a wide range of products at efficient speeds and is compatible with a wide range of trays and boxes, including those used by all major supermarkets and online retailers.

“Further product developments are underway to deliver improved quality control, advanced data analytics, increased efficiency, and faster, easier deployment.

Leap Managing Director Mr Bamford said: “Our customers are facing tough times with labor shortages and cost inflation. Our AI-enabled robots help solve these challenges from our bases in Aberdeen and Edinburgh. The capital we have raised will help us grow the team and our facilities and enable us to grow and deliver to a wider range of customers.

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