Our students were invited to attend an ‘Implementing Robotics into Industry’ training event on the 27th Jan 2022. This session was facilitated by the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry, an AgriFoRwArdS CDT partner with the University of Lincoln.
The MTC sits between academia and industry and is intended to help bridge new technologies into real world environments. This training was focused around this transition and intended to give students a thorough grounding in what considerations and business insights are required when implementing robotic systems into industry.
AgriFoRwArdS CDT (Cohort 3) students, Bethan Moncur, Samual Carter and Garry Clawson took up the opportunity. Starting the day at 06:30 students arrived at the MTC ready for a 08:45 start. They were greeted by the beautiful grounds across the MTC and warmly welcomed by the staff. Students were then met by Mike Wilson, MTC Chief Automation Officer, and Phillip Jackson, MTC Technology Specialists, who hosted and presented the training.
What did the training consist of?
The training itself consisted of a half day discussion and workshop activities, where Mike and Phill spoke about the full pipe line of automation and its benefits. Throughout the session, students and trainers openly discussed and debated the benefits, barriers and methods of implementing robotic systems. Importantly discussions on the considerations for creating and supporting a business case and recognising the importance of safety throughout a system were shared.
Lunch was provided and then the second half of the day consisted of a site facility tour where students were presented with the latest insights into additive manufacturing, robotic automation and vision systems currently being deployed into industry. This gave a real insight into how customer needs were being translated from academic outputs.
The day ended with a sharing of ideas and discussion about what the future holds in the domain. Students then left around 17:00 and were treated to a delightful sunset over the MTC grounds.
What did the students think?
Bethan Moncur, AgriFoRwArdS CDT (Cohort 3) student noted: “It was really interesting to learn about the factors that decision-makers consider when thinking about implementing robotics into their business. The training day was a real eye-opener into the importance of considering how robotic systems are deployed in industry in order to bridge the gap between cutting-edge research and industry-ready systems”
Samual Carter, AgriFoRwArdS CDT (Cohort 3) student said that: “The MTC was a real eye opener for seeing examples of manufactured components using the state-of-the-art manufacturing methods and feel a lot more confident when it comes to explaining the benefits of implementing automation in the agricultural sector. I have also learned about the importance for robotics companies to work together to achieve a common goal rather than tackle the same problems individually. I am grateful that the CDT recommended it to me.”
Garry Clawson, AgriFoRwArdS CDT (Cohort 3) student spoke of the day: “The opportunity to visit the MTC was one I could not pass up. Getting first hand experience from expert practitioners of what the pre-work requirements are for implementing robotics into working environments, is crucial to ensuring that deployments meet the scope of the challenge. The day was well planned, open, and provided many new insights. Thanks to April and Kate for arranging this fantastic opportunity.”