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A Peterborough based engineering business is transforming the food manufacturing industry thanks to further funding from the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative.

OAL has received a £60,000 grant to develop an automated food manufacturing processes using robotic ‘chefs’ to boost production, efficiency, and improve the quality of food produced.

OAL identified a gap in the market to make food production more efficient by introducing robotics into the manufacturing process; to date there has been little progress in automating food manufacturing in this area due to the lack of enabling technology.

Mark Reeve, Chairman of the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, said:

“OAL is transforming the food manufacturing industry through their technology. The APRIL system will kick-start the industry’s move towards fully automated production lines, allowing food to be produced quicker, with less waste and greater precision.

“I’m pleased to be able to support OAL with additional funding from the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative and look forward to seeing the business grow further thanks to the help from the LEP.”


With the funding, OAL will design and manufacture APRIL (Automated Processing Robotic Ingredient Loading) patented technology; a fully automated robotic system that can mix, load and cook ingredients in a manner similar to professional chefs yet on an industrial scale.

Not only will the technology be more efficient than traditional, manual cooking processes, the automated production will help to lower costs and reduce food wastage, and free up space on the factory floor.

APRIL will enable OAL to become UK leader in food manufacturing, increasing growth and job opportunities for the company; reinforcing the East of England’s reputation for innovation.

Harry Norman, Managing Director of OAL, said:

"Winning the grant from the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative involved presenting to an expert panel who assessed our revolutionary robotic technology. The expert’s feedback, encouragement and 100% backing was really appreciated by the OAL team and gave us all a big lift."

OAL have produced a short video to explain the benefits of their APRIL system; you can watch it by visiting www.aprilrobot.com

The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative is run by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with support from New Anglia LEP, Norfolk County Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, and the local authorities covering this area.

Grants are available to organisations looking to invest in specialist equipment, new market and supply chain development, ways to improve productivity and efficiency, and the application and commercialisation of Research and Development.

To find out more about the APRIL robot project visit www.aprilrobot.com

To find out how the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative could help to grow your business, visit www.agritechgrants.co.uk.

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