Back to the North-East we go with RAB Microfluidics offering the solution to problematic and outdated processes in the heavy machinery business. Taking on the hulking mechanical brutes with his tiny chip solution is Dr Rotimi Alabi and his team at RAB.
Dr Alabi addresses an audience.
Q – To those out-with the Oil and Gas industry your solution could sound complicated – pitch it to us and help us understand?
A – Interestingly our technology application goes beyond oil and gas into maritime, manufacturing, mining, transport, power generation like wind, etc. basically any industry where heavy machinery is used.
So a bit of context, businesses that use heavy machinery would like to know in advance when such valuable machinery would breakdown, for this reason, they use oil condition monitoring techniques as there is valuable information in the oil that lubricates such machinery during operation. The holy grail of OCM is chemical compositional analysis of this lubricating oil. But chemical compositional analysis can currently only be delivered by stationary laboratories. This creates challenges of not having the information in time and when required, slow decision making as a result, cost of failure to make decisions in time, i.e. machine breakdown and the associated downtime loss.
So to solve these pain points, what we at RAB-Microfluidics have done is bring the laboratory to individual machinery using our proprietary microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technology. Our technology enables the real-time continuous analysis of lubricating oil ensuring we can arm reliability engineers and maintenance managers with the information to make well informed decisions on their valuable machinery. Our technology also enables us predict when a machine will fail or breakdown and so we advise maintenance teams accordingly.
"Lab on a chip" - RAB's innovative product.
Q – Tell us more about the RAB Microfluidics story, where did the idea originate? Also, for other revolutionary start-ups looking to get things off the ground, do you have any advice?
A – The technology is borne out of 5 years of research at the University of Aberdeen. But the idea to commercialise the technology, interestingly was instigated by competition who I’d not like to name. Nevertheless, I started the company 1 year ago and since then we have been able to raise substantial funding to bring us to where we are now.
My advice to people who think they have good ideas, is to take ACTION. Your wonderful idea is as good as nothing if you sit on it and do nothing.
For start-ups looking to get off the ground, I would say customer validation is key. Get up, get out and speak to your potential customers, lots of them if not all.
A – Thank you. You can expect to see us much closer to market with a product ready for commercialisation.
Q – Finally, what’s so great and what’s not so great about starting a business in Scotland?
A – I am in awe of the talent in Scotland and the support for such talent. If you have a great idea, you can rest assured that there is human and financial support to get you on your way. All you need do is bring along a superhuman drive, passion in addition to that great idea and lovely Scotland will help nurture you to a giant. You can’t find that anywhere else in the UK. What’s not great? Erm, maybe the weather. Haha!
Cheers, Dr Alabi!
RAB Microfluidics are making waves in the respective industries, changing the way we operate tricky machinery and allowing users to get the most out of their assets. You can check out their website here – further social media handles, as always, at the bottom of the page.
Weather aside, this series has clearly highlighted the wealth of options and opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to manifest their idea in Scotland. From WheelAir to LegalTech, we’ve had a whole host of trail-blazing ideas and products come our way in the past few months – and with any luck they’ll be making their way to you sooner rather than later too.
It’s been an enjoyable ride showcasing our very best of up-and-coming here at Qpal – till next time!