Industry body invests in NDT specialist

| Environmental Testing

The IMechE has invested in Inductosense for the development of ultrasonic sensors for performing non-destructive testing and monitoring.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has completed a new investment, through its £2mn Stephenson Fund, into Bristol-based company Inductosense.

Inductosense, a spin-out of Bristol University, is developing novel ultrasonic sensors for monitoring corrosion, cracks or defects. The technology is known as the WAND – Wireless And Non Destructive system and it works by bringing a measurement probe near to a compact, battery-free sensor installed on a structure. The sensors are small, passive and wireless and can therefore be permanently attached to structures, even if the structures are beneath a layer of material or coating. This leads to a significant reduction in cost and downtime associated with convention monitoring.

On announcing this investment, Stephen Tetlow MBE, Chief Executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said, “The technology Inductosense is developing has the potential to cut maintenance and downtime costs of wind turbines, nuclear power plants and other large infrastructure ― making maintenance more efficient and low-cost.

“It is exciting that we can support cutting-edge technologies, like those being developed by Inductosense that are, in George Stephenson’s words, ‘likely to be useful to the world’.

“The Institution wants to help companies overcome the hurdle between Research and Development and bringing a product to market, and apart from the monetary investment, this will also connect Inductosense to the vast resources and network of the Institution and its membership.”

Dr Matt Butcher, CEO at Inductosense, said: “Over the past year we have had great success in development of the technology and commercial traction. With the investment we want to accelerate our pace and progress from trials to commercial deployment of sensors. We are also commercialising some exciting new products.”

The Institution’s investment was made through the Stephenson Fund, launched in 2015 to help companies overcome the investment hurdle between Research and Development and bringing a product to market.

The Fund, initially worth a total of £2 million, is in line with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ original statement of purpose set out by founder George Stephenson in 1847 to ‘give an impulse to invention likely to be useful to the world’.

The Institution’s funding for Inductosense forms part of a funding round of £1.1m investment from a consortium of investors, which in addition to the Institution consists of Perivoli Innovations, the University of Bristol Enterprise Fund (managed by Parkwalk Advisors), IP Group and a number of angel investors.

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