EGA launches industrial robotics competition for university students

United Arab Emirates, 6 September, 2021: Emirates Global Aluminium, the largest industrial company in the United Arab Emirates outside oil and gas, today announced the launch of this year’s edition of the company’s Al Robot competition, which challenges university students to design and build industrial robots for use at EGA’s aluminium smelters.

The Al Robot competition is now in its fourth year, and aims to support young people to develop real world skills in Industry 4.0 technologies that will be vital to the UAE’s industrial future.

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.

A judging panel of EGA engineers and technologists will review all the proposals and shortlist three to be developed as prototypes for trial on-site 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.

EGA’s Chief Executive Officer, Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, said: “Our Al Robot competition enables young people to develop Industry 4.0 skills including robotics and automation. Today’s student engineers and technologists will spend their careers transforming UAE industry through Industry 4.0, spurring the further development of our industrial sector and helping achieve the goals of Operation 300bn.”

Last year’s edition of Al Robot, which was to design 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 robot 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.