Manufacturers to benefit from University of Strathclyde's ‘black box’ pilot

AFRC and Inrobin's model analyses real-time data from industrial machinery. Picture: Contributed
AFRC and Inrobin's model analyses real-time data from industrial machinery. Picture: Contributed
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A University of Strathclyde research centre and an Edinburgh tech firm are piloting a new approach to insurance which could secure a better deal for manufacturers.

The university’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) specialist Inrobin have developed a new “black box” insurance model which analyses real-time data from industrial machinery.

The project claims this allows insurers to offer competitive rates based on individual usage of equipment, while helping manufacturers to improve maintenance schedules and prevent breakdowns. Insurance providers currently assume that two companies buying the same machine should pay the same premium based on the same life expectancy. However, this model will offer a more tailored pricing approach – analysing each machine’s specific behaviour and maintenance in real time to adjust rates.

Inrobin worked with the AFRC’s bid writing team to secure Innovate UK funding and will now trial the system on the centre’s industrial machinery.

Danny McMahon, metrology and digital manufacturing team lead at the AFRC, said the centre will act as a “transition to market” for Inrobin. He added: “Inrobin’s new model will create a more transparent offering for industrial machinery similar to the use of ‘black box’ insurance for cars.

“In the way that sensible drivers who are looking after their vehicles are rewarded with a cheaper premium, manufacturers sensibly using their equipment can take out insurance that reflects their use rather than an industry average.”

Jose-Maria Guerra, chief executive at Inrobin, said: “We’ve already been speaking to global insurance companies that have registered interest and we are set to work on a pilot project with a major European provider later this year.”

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