UAE -  Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), the largest industrial company in the UAE outside oil and gas, has said a team from UAE University has won the fourth edition of Al Robot.

AI Robot is EGA’s annual competition that challenges students from UAE universities and higher education institutions to design and build industrial robots for use at EGA’s aluminium smelters.

The winning team members from UAE University were Nasmah Baalfaqih, Aamna Ali Alshehhi, Rashfa Baalfaqih, Huda Al Khawaja, Lobna Shaikhoun and Muthanna Aziz, supervised by Dr Waleed Ahmed. Their prototype, powered by solar energy, will be further developed for long-term use within EGA’s operations.

Applying academic learning

The Al Robot competition enables young engineers to practice applying their academic learning in the real world, including Industry 4.0 skills that are set to be vital to the UAE’s industrial future and for the country to achieve the goals of Operation 300bn.

EGA’s Chief Executive Officer, Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, said: “I congratulate the team from UAE University on winning this year’s edition of our Al Robot competition. At EGA, our aim is to be the technology pathfinder for our global industry over the decades ahead. We are just one industrial company amongst many in the UAE that must use innovation and technology to drive global competitiveness.

“We need the best young science, technology, engineering and mathematics minds to pursue careers in industry if we are to grow our national industrial sector for the benefit of everyone. I hope this competition has helped inspire these young people to consider what they can contribute.”

Cleaning silt and mud

In this year’s competition, student teams were challenged to develop a robotic machine capable of cleaning silt and mud from the aeration basin at EGA’s Al Taweelah site. Aeration increases the amount of oxygen in the water, safeguarding the marine environment.

The judging panel consisted of EGA engineers and technologists.

Three finalist teams – the first-place winners from UAE University, as well as teams from Abu Dhabi University who came second and third - developed prototypes for trial on-site at EGA. The finalist teams won cash prizes worth AED100,000 ($27,226) in total.

EGA’s technology development team works extensively with universities in both the UAE and internationally, to combine the latest academic thinking with the company’s industrial expertise.

Academic partnerships

EGA’s academic partnerships include Khalifa University, the American University of Sharjah, Rochester Institute of Technology and Higher Colleges of Technology in the UAE, and the University of Auckland, University of New South Wales, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

EGA also engages with students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics through its Ambassador Programme, which sees young UAE National engineers discussing with students the practical application of their studies in industry.

The objective of the programme is to encourage young people to continue their interest after graduating and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, all critical fields for the development of the UAE’s industrial economy.

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