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Geckotech Solutions Ltd and Glasgow Caledonian University
Mark Jenkins - KTP Associate
I started my PhD in image processing techniques for visual object tracking at Glasgow Caledonian University in October 2013 shortly after completing a BSc Hons in Mechatronics at the same University. In June 2015, before completing my PhD, I started as a KTP Associate for Glasgow Caledonian University and Geckotech Solutions Ltd. The KTP is heavily focused on the application of image processing techniques and therefore significantly overlapped the subject of my PhD. I completed my PhD early in 2016 and currently have 9 months remaining in my position as a KTP Associate.
Geckotech Solutions Ltd
Geckotech Solutions Ltd is an Edinburgh based company founded in 2006. The company supply clients with a range of specialist access solutions including rope access, confined space entry and tension netting systems. Geckotech Solutions Ltd also provide structural inspection, repair and maintenance services across the United Kingdom. The areas within which Geckotech Solutions Ltd operate are very diverse, ranging from the railway sector to viaducts, bridges and wind turbines. They have also recently started to include subsea inspection as one of the services they provide. Geckotech Solutions Ltd partnered with Glasgow Caledonian University through the KTP in order to incorporate the latest image acquisition and processing techniques into their vast industrial knowledge. This will allow them to enhance the high quality service they already provide to their customers.
The KTP Project
The aim of the KTP is to enhance the visual inspection services provided by Geckotech Solutions Ltd. Through combination of the industrial skills of Geckotech Solutions Ltd and the image processing knowledge of Glasgow Caledonian University, this KTP will increase the quality of the reports which can be provided to customers. Bespoke image acquisition and processing techniques will be utilised to aid examiners in the inspection process. This will allow examiners to be directed towards areas most likely containing faults or defects, reducing inspection time while increasing accuracy. The other major benefit of this project is the direct comparison of current and past inspections to analyse trends in structural defects and monitor them over time. This will result in Geckotech Solutions Ltd being able to provide a more detailed and accurate reports to their customers.
My KTP Experience
My experience as a KTP Associate has been incredibly positive. The opportunity to utilise the academic knowledge I gained during my PhD in developing real world industrial applications is very rewarding. The KTP allows me to continue development of my image processing and software development skills while directly mapping them to industrial solutions. Furthermore, the opportunities to develop new skills as a KTP Associate are endless.
In the early stages of the KTP I attended two residential courses at the Ashorne Hill Management College. These courses provided a foundation in a number of project management skills which have been highly beneficial in the KTP process. These courses were also an excellent opportunity to interact with other KTP Associates from across the UK. Hearing first-hand about the wide range of KTP projects which are currently underway and discussing personal experiences was very motivational.
One of the greatest benefits to the Associate of a KTP project is the number of development opportunities available. I have been fortunate enough to attend several conferences, workshops and training courses in a variety of fields. These have ranged from KTP Associate conferences, where work from a range of projects is showcased, to more technically specific training courses which have allowed me to greatly increase my technical abilities. The freedom to control the areas in which personal development is focused is incredibly valuable and is rare outside of KTP.
As my first step into the world outwith university, KTP has been an excellent transition from the world of academia to industry. My time as a KTP Associate has been completely positive and I feel that it will have a great benefit to my future both personally and professionally. I would strongly recommend that anyone who has the opportunity to undertake a KTP does so. It is a unique and fulfilling opportunity that should not be missed.