A unique Syngenta formulation robot has been officially launched by HRH The Princess Royal. The princess carried out the first experiments when she visited the company's Jealott's Hill R&D site in Berkshire last week.
The fully automated robot is a breakthrough in innovation and speed of delivery. It will formulate and test hundreds of potential turf, amenity and crop protection products every day, at speeds that scientists can only dream of with existing technology. The system will help Syngenta scientists to be more innovative and productive than ever before when creating new products.
The culmination of a five year project bringing together scientists, engineers and software specialists, the robot can make almost any liquid agrochemical formation, in small amounts, and perform a basic series of tests to see if those formulations are of interest for further research.
The robot, which is unique in the agrochemical industry, is the latest part of an additional £35 million investment in Jealott's Hill - Europe's largest agrochemical research and development centre.
The Princess spoke enthusiastically about the role played by science in feeding the growing global population and protecting biodiversity. "What you do here is to ensure that food is grown safely and well and understanding the biodiversity in which it grows. That needs a lot of skilled and talented people to ensure that what is done here is the best that science can provide," she said.
Jealott's Hill site head, Mike Bushell, added: "We were delighted that Her Royal Highness agreed to open the new facility. This is a major investment in technology which will greatly speed up our development programme to bring products to market."
Syngenta invests around $1 billion on R&D globally each year, with £100 million in the UK.