Emirates Global Aluminium has 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.”