Smart Machines & Factories
First Cyber Factory training facility in the UK installed at Middlesex University
Published:  16 May, 2017

The UK’s first Cyber Factory training facility has been installed at Middlesex University London’s new Ritterman Building.

The Cyber Factory is fitted with the latest technology for smart factories and the training equipment has been supplied by Festo.

Professor Mehmet Karamanoglu, Design Engineering and Mathematics head of department at Middlesex University, said: “Middlesex University prides itself in providing the best facilities to support its students. Everything we have developed over the years has been specified to industry standard. Expanding our provision in automation, smart technologies is no exception.

“We have partnered with Festo since the early ’90s and have kept that partnership active for over two decades…

“We are also grateful to Festo for bringing along some of their partner companies to enhance our provision, such as Siemens. All our automation labs are now fitted with technologies provided by Siemens. The benefit for our students, in working with such industry partners, is immense and will continue to have a huge impact on their employability.”

The new building at Middlesex University houses a number of double-sided pneumatics and electro-pneumatics learning systems, PLCs, Modular Production Systems and a Process Automation System.

The training equipment supplied by Festo comprises a comprehensive six-station table top unit (two production cells of three stations), as well as two bridging stations that enable an Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) to deliver the logistics / transport between the cells.

Fully automated, the facility also features an energy monitoring system; RFID - a method for tracking components and goods by means of tags which transmit a radio signal; a digital maintenance system; augmented reality; near field communication (NFC) – which enables any object equipped with a chip to exchange information directly without the need for a computer or communications network; and a manufacturing execution system (MES).

Essentially, this means that the training facility is Industry 4.0 ready. Industry 4.0 is defined as the fourth industrial revolution, in which digitalisation is increasingly used to connect the real with the virtual world, blurring the technological boundaries.