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Bruce Robinson

Bruce Robinson on the depth of experience

By Bruce Robinson

CEO/Owner, RAM Automation

On the surface, Bruce Robinson is an experienced engineer who travelled the world working as a Royal Navy bomb disposal diver before becoming a subsea commissioning engineer for oil and gas pipelines.

But dive a little deeper and it is clear to understand why Bruce has successfully adapted and applied his engineering prowess to the automation industry through his company RAM automation. Bruce’s combination of calm and collected ex-military mindset and personable approachability has brought him great success in US and UK automation markets with plenty more potential in the pipeline.

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You spent over a decade working as a Royal Navy bomb disposal diver. Are there lessons that you learned from that experience that you still carry with you today?

The diver training is one of the hardest training courses you'll do in the military, it’s at least a year’s preparation – they break you down and then they build you up.

I've been in dangerous situations. At the time it's your job, everything I was doing was just done without thinking about it: it’s what I'd been trained to do; what I was paid to do; what I was going to do.

Things change when you have children, I couldn't do that now, but I've brought all those traits with me: it takes an awful lot for me to get stressed or annoyed.

My time in the military, doing the job that I was doing, allowed me to overcome negativity and challenges. Rather than worrying about things you just think: This has happened, this is the solution I've got and if that's not good enough then that's okay.

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"The diver training is one of the hardest training courses you'll do in the military, it’s at least a year’s preparation – they break you down and then they build you up."

You’ve applied your engineering experience to the automation industry; what are your specialisms?

Most of my work now is automation engineering for car manufacturers like Ford, Tesla, Mercedes, and BMW. One aspect of our work is body in white – the shell of your car, the body panels and the parts. We get tasked with making modifications for car manufacturers.

Another part of our work is called the powertrain which is the engine or now the electric chassis with all the batteries. We will code the robots to produce those parts of the vehicle.

One of the reasons I was able to tap into the US market is because we were used to working 12 hours a day, seven days a week for months on end on offshore on oil rigs. Our ex-military mentality was well received by US clients in the automation industry.

How is the technology evolving?

There are always new standards being brought in so it’s our duty to keep up to date with these changes.

The technology is always changing. We often do on-site upgrades, because we’ll see ways that we can make things more efficient or quicker to save more money for everybody. We’re always looking for developments; these improvements are often from a programmer looking at how we can improve something, running simulations on the system, and then pitching it.

How is the introduction of electric vehicles changing the automation sector from an industry supplier perspective?

The popularity of electric vehicles has given companies such as mine the opportunity to support our clients in new technology with the ultimate aim of a cleaner and more environmentally friendly future.

"Our ex-military mentality was well received by US clients in the automation industry."

Bruce Robinson - CEO/Owner, RAM Automation

What are the current opportunities and challenges within your work in the automation sector?

The opportunity is that if you can improve a company’s performance or cycle time, then that’s invaluable to them. Because everything’s quite new there’s always a chance for you to come up with your own ideas, present them and then push yourself forward because they like to see improvements in the system that they’ve already got.

What do you enjoy doing outside the realm of work?

I’ve got another small company – buying, managing, and upgrading rental properties. It’s something that I always wanted to build up for my children.

Golf is the main thing I’m really into and enjoy. It’s really nice because there are very few activities that I do where I won’t think to look at my phone to check work emails, and golf is one of them. Other than golf, I will go to the gym 5 times a week out of routine… I wake up at 5am every day and wake myself up with a workout. Also boxing once or twice a week to try in stay in shape. I can’t overemphasise the importance of exercise to help you stay motivated and focused in your day-to-day life.

Where is your favourite place to visit when you need to get away?

One of the places that I find so relaxing and peaceful is northern Italy. It’s such a beautiful place, and the way people live is very relaxed.

Bruce Robinson