A joint collaboration between Unipart Manufacturing and Coventry University, AME is the UK’s first ‘Faculty on the Factory Floor’ and has invested over £50,000 in a ABB’s YuMi collaborative robot - a small parts assembly robot that can work collaboratively in the same environment as people.

Students of the 60 students at the AME will will receive over 25 hours training on YuMi, as well as participating in real life R&D projects, including teaching the robot to complete lightweight assembly work for electronics and automotive components.

Says Andy Hind, Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering manager: “YuMi is a vision of the future and has the potential to change the way we think about assembly automation…it’s fantastic that we are one of the first organisations in the UK to implement it in our course and in the wider Unipart Manufacturing operation.

“It is one of the most advanced collaborative robots on the market, offering dual arm, flexible hands, camera-based part location and state-of-the-art robot control.

“AME was set up to give graduate engineers access to the best technology, and being able to learn on a collaborative robot and how that fits into the future of manufacturing will put them way ahead of the majority of their peers.

“YuMi will also be immediately used to benefit the Unipart Manufacturing Group, and there will be training opportunities for existing engineers with the view to integrating the technology into the manufacturing environment.”

Carl Perrin, director of AME, concludes: “There has been a lot of talk about robots taking people’s jobs, but we don’t believe this. They will be an important element of manufacturing going forward, delivering new solutions and improving productivity.

“The UK has to be investing in robots like YuMi and ensuring the next generation of engineers are being given the chance to learn on them and then apply that knowledge to real applications.

“We’re already doing this with a fully integrated ABB robot cell, but our investment in the collaborative robot marks the next step forward for us.”

The collaborative robot investment is just part of a £500,000 spend recently completed by AME. This has involved the introduction of a cyclic corrosion test cabinet and high pressure test rigs that give the Institute’s R&D centre the ability to put new fuel rail and drivetrain components – currently being developed - through their paces by recreating real-world conditions.