United Arab Emirates, 1 November 2021: Emirates Global Aluminium, the largest industrial company in the United Arab Emirates outside oil and gas, today announced that five student teams from UAE universities have qualified for the next stage of this year’s edition of the company’s Al Robot competition, which challenges young engineers to design and build industrial robots for use at EGA’s aluminium smelters.
The challenge this year is to develop a robotic machine capable of cleaning silt and mud from the aeration basin at EGA’s Al Taweelah site. The basin aerates used sea water prior to its return to the sea to safeguard the marine environment.
In the first stage of the competition, teams submitted blueprints of their designs. A judging panel consisting of EGA engineers and technologists reviewed all the submitted proposals and selected two teams from Abu Dhabi University and three teams from UAE University to go on to the next stage.
EGA’s Chief Executive Officer, Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, said: “This competition enables young people to develop the Industry 4.0 skills required for the UAE’s industrial future. All the entries were impressive, and we are pleased that five teams are now proceeding to the next stage of the competition. By working together to address real-world challenges, UAE students have the opportunity to experience the great potential Industry 4.0 has to transform the way industries work in the decades ahead.”
Each of the selected teams will now receive AED 50,000, to design and build prototypes of their robots for testing at EGA. The finalist teams will win cash prizes worth AED 100,000 in total, and the top team’s prototype will be further developed for long-term use at EGA.
Last year’s edition of Al Robot, which involved designing an autonomous device to measure conditions inside EGA’s baking furnace pits, was won by a team from Abu Dhabi University. The winning team’s drone was able to capture aerial images to map out the furnaces and used artificial intelligence to analyse the image data.
EGA’s technology development team works extensively with universities in both the UAE and internationally to combine EGA’s practical experience with the latest academic thinking. EGA’s academic partnerships include Khalifa University, UAE University, Abu Dhabi University, Heriot Watt University, the American University of Sharjah, Rochester Institute of Technology and Higher Colleges of Technology in the UAE, the University of Auckland, University of New South Wales, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
EGA has developed aluminium 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. In 2016, EGA became the first UAE industrial company to license its core process technology internationally.