First cyber factory training facility in the UK installed at Middlesex University31 January 2017

First cyber factory training facility in the UK First cyber factory training facility in the UK installed at Middlesex University

The UK’s first Cyber Factory training facility has been installed at Middlesex University London’s new Ritterman Building, coinciding with the £18m building’s official opening on 2 February.

The Cyber Factory is fitted with the latest technology for smart factories and the training equipment has been supplied by Festo, a leading international supplier of automation technology.

“Middlesex University prides itself in providing the best facilities to support its students,” Professor Mehmet Karamanoglu, design engineering and mathematics head of department at Middlesex University, said. “Everything we have developed over the years has been specified to industry standard. Expanding our provision in automation, smart technologies is no exception.

“We have partnered with Festo since the early ’90s and have kept that partnership active for over two decades. Festo is a dynamic, innovative and forward looking company, concentrating on the bigger picture.

“We are also grateful to Festo for bringing along some of their partner companies to enhance our provision, such as Siemens. All our automation labs are now fitted with technologies provided by Siemens. The benefit for our students, in working with such industry partners, is immense and will continue to have a huge impact on their employability.”

The University is committed to providing outstanding teaching facilities as part of its mission of putting students first and since the year 2000 has invested over £200m into its London Campus. The Ritterman Building forms an important part of the ongoing investment in the student experience.

“Festo and the University share a common goal to ensure that the key skills necessary to deliver the full potential of industrial automation are being developed alongside advances in the technology,” Babak Jahanbani, head of learning systems at Festo Didactic (GB), said. “We have collaborated closely on a number of topics and also partner the University for the annual Mechatronics Competition of World Skills UK.

“As a result of our long-term partnership, Middlesex University is one of the best equipped centres for Festo Didactic and runs very successful engineering degree courses. This new training facility is the first of its type in the UK and will provide essential practical experience for the engineers of the future.”

The new building at Middlesex University houses a number of double-sided pneumatics and electro-pneumatics learning systems, PLCs, Modular Production Systems and a Process Automation System.

The training equipment supplied by Festo comprises a comprehensive six-station table top unit (two production cells of three stations), as well as two bridging stations that enable an Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) to deliver the logistics / transport between the cells.

Fully automated, the facility also features an energy monitoring system; RFID - a method for tracking components and goods by means of tags which transmit a radio signal; a digital maintenance system; augmented reality; near field communication (NFC) – which enables any object equipped with a chip to exchange information directly without the need for a computer or communications network; and a manufacturing execution system (MES).

Essentially, this means that the training facility is Industry 4.0 ready. Industry 4.0 is defined as the fourth industrial revolution, in which digitalisation is increasingly used to connect the real with the virtual world, blurring the technological boundaries.

Mark Venables

Related Companies
Festo Ltd

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