United Arab Emirates: Emirates Global Aluminium, the largest industrial company in the United Arab Emirates outside oil and gas, today announced that four student teams from UAE universities are to compete to design and build a semi-autonomous industrial robot or drone for use in EGA’s smelters.
Two of the teams are from Abu Dhabi University, one from the American University of Sharjah and one from Heriot-Watt University Dubai. The teams were chosen based on the innovation and quality of their proposed designs.
The four teams will now each develop a semi- autonomous robot that is capable of capturing and analysing thermal images of the steel shells of reduction cells in EGA’s production lines.
This routine task, which is one way conditions are monitored in EGA’s production lines, is currently performed by people and involves long hours walking in often-hot conditions.
A new robotic solution is expected to be more efficient, and significantly, increase the level and accuracy of data collected. EGA is exploring big data and automation in many areas of its operations, harnessing the transformational potential of Industry 4.0.
The student teams now have four months to work on the project. EGA will fund this work, and the winning team will receive a financial prize.
Abdulla Kalban, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of EGA, said: “We are excited to be working with UAE student teams on this robotics competition, and look forward to seeing what our best young minds can create. Our goal is two-fold – to give students an opportunity to apply their learning to a real industrial challenge, and to develop a home-grown UAE solution.”
The students participating in the competition are:
EGA ran a similar competition with UAE universities in 2017, to develop a robot for another application in its smelters.
EGA has developed technology in the UAE for more than 25 years, focused on improving the efficiency of the aluminium smelting process. EGA’s latest home-grown technology is among the most efficient and competitive in the global aluminium industry.
EGA has used its own technology for every smelter expansion since the 1990s, and has retrofitted all its older production lines.
In 2016, EGA became the first UAE industrial company to license its core process technology internationally, in a major step forward for the development of a knowledge-based economy in the UAE.
EGA’s research and development team works with local and international universities on research projects. Institutions EGA partners with in the UAE include Khalifa university, the American University of Sharjah, Rochester Institute of Technology and Higher Colleges of Technology while EGA’s international academic partners include the University of Auckland in New Zealand and the University of New South Wales in Australia