The EU is a global leader in the rapidly growing field of Inspection and Maintenance (I&M), with more than half of all manufacturers of I&M robots based in Europe. And yet, even if the EU hosts a significant share of the world I&M robotics offer, there is a bottleneck connecting this to the market and high potential applications that would allow greater development.
RIMA (Robotics for Inspection and Maintenance) is a 4-year project which aims to tackle this gap by establishing a network of 13 Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH) and industry associations to support the uptake of robotics – and help small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) develop novel solutions for different industrial sectors.
RIMA’s challenge is to reinforce this connection, provide education and training on robotics I&M and connect the value chain – research, technology companies, service providers, end users and investors – in order to accelerate economic growth in the field.
RIMA gathers 4 leading research organisations across Europe with the goal of creating a network of DIHs with support from sectoral associations providing a bridge to relevant actors in the value chain: end users, asset owners, asset operators and industries. Each research organisation within RIMA supports one DIH in a European region with activities aligned to regional policies and industrial sectors. The RIMA network of DIHs is built in close cooperation with the SPRINT robotics association, which is partnering in the project in order to ensure the sustainability of the network.
I&M represents a large economic activity spanning multiple sectors such as nuclear energy, oil & gas, water supply, transport, civil engineering, and infrastructure hubs. There is massive potential for robotic applications to increase productivity and improve safety, but the total market size of robotics remains negligible.
RIMA offers services including support to testing and technology transfer, coaching and training on robotics for I&M, process optimisation and communication. 50.5% of RIMA’s budget will be distributed to SMEs to run experiments using Financial Support for Third Parties (FSTP).
RIMA advises on funding opportunities relying on the S3 Thematic Platform on robotics for I&M federating the common ambition of 13 EU regions.