United Arab Emirates, 24 November 2020: 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 have been selected to build prototypes in this year’s edition of an EGA industrial robotics competition.
Three of the teams are from Abu Dhabi University, whilst the fourth is made up of students from Heriot Watt University in Dubai.
Al Robot, which is in its third year, challenges students at universities and higher education institutions in the UAE to design and build industrial robots for use at EGA’s aluminium smelters. The competition aims to provide students with real-life experience of robotics and automation, a key focus globally of Industry 4.0.
The teams were chosen for the prototyping round based on the quality of their proposed designs. EGA provides funding for the teams to refine their designs and build their robots, and the winners receive an additional financial prize. The problem the students are challenged to solve with robotics each year is a real one, and EGA uses successful solutions in its operations.
This year’s edition of Al Robot is challenging the student teams to develop an autonomous device to measure the condition of EGA’s baking furnace pits, which operate at very high temperatures.
The completed robots must be capable of capturing aerial images to map out the furnaces and using artificial intelligence to analyse the image data. The ultimate objective is to reduce the need for manual inspections in a harsh working environment.
Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, EGA’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We need the brightest engineering minds to join the UAE’s industries which are a key part of our economy. The industrial operations where they will work are being transformed through Industry 4.0. This competition is designed to encourage students to consider industries for their careers, and help them hone their skills in these important emerging Industry 4.0 specialisms.”
The winning prototype from the last edition of the competition, which was built by a student team from Abu Dhabi University, is currently being industrialised for deployment in EGA’s operations.
EGA has developed smelting technology in the UAE for more than 25 years. The company has used its own technology in every smelter expansion since the 1990s and retrofitted all its older production lines.
The company was also the first UAE industrial company to license its core process technology internationally in 2016.
EGA has existing academic partnerships with universities and educational institutes in both the UAE and internationally. These include Khalifa University, the American University of Sharjah, Rochester Institute of Technology and Higher Colleges of Technology in the UAE, and the University of Auckland, University of New South Wales, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.