26. Mar. 2024

A unique venture in the Czech Republic, which tries to do the simple and logical thing: connect research institutions and domestic manufacturing companies. To make sure that entrepreneurs know about innovations and new technologies and, most importantly, use them. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, so why not work with researchers to jointly come up with a suitable solution to improve the production process? With the vision of functioning ecosystems like the Dutch Brainport, CEITEC BUT opens its doors to companies and invites them to do the same. “Test your innovations before you invest in them. We can help you do that, you just have to want to,” says Zbyněk Ondra from CEITEC BUT, adding that this will save companies hundreds of thousands. The industrial laboratory RICAIP Testbed Brno, where interested parties can try out production automation testing, offers services for companies with up to 499 employees at a 100% discount.


The EDIH-DIGIMAT project, in which CEITEC BUT is in a consortium with other partners, is behind the favourable co-financing offer. The project is a tool for linking the commercial and research spheres to increase competitiveness. Brno Testbed is dedicated to testing and experimentation in the field of digitalization, automation, and artificial intelligence. “Ideally, the CEO of a company would pick up the phone, call me and say that he would like to improve the production process in some way. He doesn’t even need to know how. We set up a meeting and suggestions for innovative solutions then tend to come up quite naturally. The actual testing usually takes place within three months, when a task is defined that is either about optimizing production, innovating an existing process or product, or designing a new automation concept. The project allows companies to think freely and without any financial losses about things that they would not have had the time or even the inclination to think about before,” says Zbyněk Ondra, Business Development Consultant.

Consulting and testing services: Maximum efficiency at a minimum cost

The specialists at Testbed in Brno cover a wide range of areas, from additive manufacturing (3D printing) and CNC machining to sensor technologies such as vibrodiagnostics and noise analysis, or advanced robotics. They are also starting the operation of 5G networks for industrial communication and can help with the use of artificial intelligence, including computational means for its learning. These are among the main areas where their expertise meets the client’s needs. However, thanks to a connection to other expert teams within BUT, they are able to offer services building on other kinds of expertise.

In addition to experiments, they also offer consultancy – thanks to their partners within the consortium. In some cases, the two types of services are combined. “Imagine that a small manufacturing company wants to tackle the digitalization of production. First, our partner INTEMAC can provide expert consultation in software digitalization, especially when implementing an ERP system (it helps organizations optimize performance by automating and managing core business processes). As we continue searching for suitable solutions, we find that certain production parts need to be optimized or simplified to deploy an ERP system. This leads to the identification of problems in production and the need to carry out testing – these are already addressed within CEITEC BUT,” explains Zbyněk Ondra, saying, “there are so many possibilities, and at the same time, these are not long-term projects in which companies would have to subsidize a lot of time, money and human capacity. On the contrary, clients present us with a problem, and we try to solve it quickly and at a very low cost.”

However, their goal is not to integrate the solution into the company’s existing infrastructure or to purchase technology. The output of the services provided, such as testing, are handover documents that contain research reports with solution proposals. Clients receive a comprehensive overview of the options on the market and what the technology enables, minimising the risk associated with choosing an inappropriate technology and making an uneconomical decision. “It is then up to them to follow the 'cookbook'. We provide them with a crucial document. Our 'test before invest' concept is brilliant because the balance sheet that companies have to do before any major investment decision in manufacturing is largely supplemented by us,” he adds.

As part of the support for small and medium-sized companies, RICAIP Testbed Brno also hosts a variety of workshops in its industrial laboratory. An example of such workshops is the Digital Transformation Academy, which is always filled to capacity, where participants create their own optimization projects ready for implementation under the guidance of experienced coaches. Outside the academy, courses also focus on 3D precision measurement, 3D printing, 5G networks and many other aspects of the industry digitalization.

“In all of our team’s activities, we focus on putting the pieces of the puzzle together – knowledge and technology – to create something new that can be used in industry. And in fact, we are now doing the same with our projects. RICAIP Testbed Brno provides a unique set of cutting-edge technologies, several other international projects allow us to create new knowledge, and EDIH-DIGIMAT then allows us to make both knowledge and technology, for which there would otherwise be high initial barriers, available for companies to experiment with. And if we add the final piece – ideas from industry – together, we can significantly advance digitalisation in the Czech Republic,” concludes Pavel Václavek, principal investigator of the RICAIP and EDIH-DIGIMAT projects at Brno University of Technology.

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