DIGITAL technology company Razor has joined the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) as a partner, cementing their long-standing collaborative relationship to drive digital innovations in manufacturing.
Razor, a technology consultancy and Microsoft Partner, specialises in harnessing the power of digital technologies like automation, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning and focused design thinking to turbocharge businesses, experiences and capability.
The Sheffield-based firm, which also has an office in Leeds, has now become a partner at the AMRC as it looks to explore more opportunities for collaboration and accelerate the adoption of digital technologies within manufacturing to show companies the value digital innovations can bring to their businesses.
Jamie Hinton, chief executive officer and co-founder of Razor, says the formal partnership has been ‘a long time coming’.
“We’ve worked together on various things over the years,” he said. “And we now work with the AMRC on a number of different levels: we work ‘for’ in terms of actually delivering products in our specialty; we work ‘with’ in terms of collaboration on research projects for customers or members; and we also work in joint partnership commercialising intellectual property (IP).
“Together we are an incredible enabler in seating this incredible research and making it real in industry. We can really accelerate that and make it stick.”
Jamie said there is a respect for what has been achieved at the AMRC, its technical capabilities and the people behind the innovations. “I think that is reciprocated,” he said. “I see this partnership as a start of the next phase of what we can do together officially and what we can do for this country’s manufacturing industry and sector.”
Rab Scott, director of industrial digitalisation at the AMRC, said the signing of Razor as a partner builds on a longstanding relationship, and plans are already in the pipeline for future collaborations.
“Manufacturing is changing and we need to have strategic partners that can take our innovations and put them into production. Razor is one of the tools in the AMRC’s digital toolkit that can do that.
“We have been working collaboratively with Jamie and his team for a number of years now and it is great to see that relationship evolve to them signing up as a partner. Razor has a huge digital capability and we will really enjoy showcasing what it has to offer to the region’s manufacturing community.”
Founded in January 2009 by Jamie Hinton and Steve Trotter, Razor initially started life as a ‘side hustle’. It now employs about 60 staff at its offices in Sheffield and Leeds, working with all sizes of business, from start-ups to FTSE 100 organisations.
Over the years, Razor has built a solid reputation as one of the go-to places for businesses seeking digital transformation, powered by a team of software engineers, usability designers, data scientists, testers and project managers – all striving to help businesses prosper through leading edge technology. Together, they deliver everything from modernising platforms to improve user experience and accelerated software delivery to keep pace with technology development to data, analytics and AI, and advanced innovation using applied science to supercharge ideas and unlock challenges.
Razor’s mission to ‘stay on the bleeding edge so our customers don’t have to’ is tightly aligned to the ethos of the AMRC – which made collaboration between the two inevitable. Some of their collaborative ‘greatest hits’ include:
- Supporting one of the UK’s leading industrial exporters, in collaboration with the AMRC and IBM Watson, to use AI to make a step-change in the performance and quality of its screening and inspection processes for critical aerospace components. This not only ensures passenger safety, by providing a continuously improving inspection process built on big data analytics, but also delivers inspection rates 4,000 times faster than the original inspection.
- Championing and supporting the AMRC’s Digital Meet Manufacturing Commission , a campaign to connect digital companies and manufacturers in a way that benefits both sectors.
- Publishing the ‘Do you know your data network?’ whitepaper which delivered learnings from the AMRC Factory+ open framework project. The report looked at the fundamentals of data and how organisations can get their unused AI tools moving in the real world.
- Providing tailored business support as part of NextGen, a project to embed low-cost digital technologies in manufacturing companies across South Yorkshire and Wales to drive productivity into regional manufacturers through digital technology adoption and skills development.
So what does all this amount to? Jamie shared a final thought about what he thinks makes the relationship between Razor and the AMRC so special.
“All the moons are aligning and digital is definitely the way to go. It’s got to make a difference. Razor and the AMRC are in the same vector, we’re pulling in the same way. It really is a case of two horses being far stronger together than two separate horses pulling on their own. There is a synergy. That’s what it is for us and the AMRC. The mutual respect of each party’s perspectives and abilities.”