EGA launches industrial robotics competition for university students

Students to compete for cash prizes worth AED 100,000 in fourth annual Al Robot competition  

  
EGA launches industrial robotics competition for university students

United Arab Emirates: 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.

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About EGA

Since 1975, when it was founded as Dubai Aluminium by His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates Global Aluminium has been innovating aluminium to make modern life possible.

Today EGA is the world’s biggest ‘premium aluminium’ producer’ and the largest industrial company in the United Arab Emirates outside the oil and gas industry.

EGA is equally-owned by Mubadala Investment Company of Abu Dhabi and the Investment Corporation of Dubai. It is the largest company jointly owned by the two Emirates.

EGA is an integrated aluminium producer, with operations from bauxite mining to the production of cast primary aluminium. EGA operates aluminium smelters in Jebel Ali and Al Taweelah, an alumina refinery in Al Taweelah and a bauxite mine and associated export facilities in the Republic of Guinea.

EGA’s aluminium is the second largest made-in-the UAE export after oil and gas. In 2020, EGA sold 2.52 million tonnes of cast metal. EGA is the only UAE producer and makes the UAE the fifth largest aluminium producing nation in the world.

EGA has more than 400 customers in over 50 countries. In recent years over 80 per cent of EGA’s production has been value added products, one of the highest proportions of any aluminium company in the world. In 2020, value added products made up 72 per cent of total sales despite EGA’s flexing of its product mix in response to fluctuating market demand caused by COVID-19’s impact on world manufacturing.

EGA’s aluminium is primarily used in the construction, automotive, packaging, aerospace and electronics industries.

Around 10 per cent of EGA’s aluminium production is sold in the UAE to around 26 downstream aluminium companies that make products with EGA’s aluminium. The growing broader aluminium sector in the UAE supports 60,950 jobs. EGA itself employs over 7,000 of these people including almost 1,200 UAE Nationals.

EGA has focused on technology development for over 25 years. EGA has used its own technology for every smelter expansion since the 1990s and has retrofitted all its older production lines. In 2016 EGA became the first UAE industrial company to licence its core industrial process technology internationally.

As a corporate citizen of the UAE, EGA aspires in all its operations to be measured amongst the world’s leading metals and mining companies in meeting its environmental and social responsibilities. In 2017, EGA became the first Middle East headquartered company to join the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative, a global programme to foster greater sustainability and transparency in the aluminium industry. In 2019, EGA’s Al Taweelah site became the first in the Middle East to receive certification from ASI for its sustainability practices and performance. ASI certification is the aluminium industry’s internationally recognised standard for environmental and social performance and governance.

In 2021, EGA began production of CelestiAL solar aluminium, produced with solar power from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park on the outskirts of Dubai. EGA is the first company in the world to make aluminium commercially using the power of the sun.

EGA was formed in 2014 through the merger of Dubai Aluminium and Emirates Aluminium.

EGA’s Jebel Ali aluminium smelter began production as DUBAL in 1979. At almost five square kilometres, this site is five times bigger than Dubai Mall.

EMAL started production in 2009 and its Al Taweelah aluminium smelter was the largest single-site aluminium smelter in the world when completed. EGA’s Al Taweelah site is five times bigger than Al Maryah Island at six square kilometres.

EGA has its own power stations at both sites, producing electricity to meet its needs. EGA’s electricity generation capacity is 5,450 megawatts, making EGA the third largest electricity generator in the UAE after the Dubai and Abu Dhabi utilities. EGA also produces water through desalination units at its power plants.

EGA began production at Al Taweelah alumina refinery in April 2019. EGA’s alumina refinery is the first in the UAE and only the second in the Middle East. The project reduces the UAE’s dependence on imported alumina and supplies 40 per cent of EGA’s needs.

Bauxite exports from Guinea Alumina Corporation, EGA’s wholly-owned subsidiary in Guinea, began in August 2019. The GAC project was one of the largest greenfield investments in Guinea in over 40 years.

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