It was announced today that Maxim Integrated Products has donated a state-of-the-art production facility to University College Dublin (UCD).
Engineering students at UCD will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with Industry 4.0 principles using an automated football factory demo donated to the University by Maxim Integrated Products.
The donation to the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering will help current students and future engineers learn the principles of a smart factory and how to design fully automated and intelligent production equipment with self-diagnostic and adaptive capabilities.
The football factory commences with regulation-size footballs and tests them for weight, air-pressure, bounce height and roundness. The footballs are handled by an industrial robot, and the entire assembly line is controlled wirelessly by an iPad app.
The demo also showcases the principles of adaptive/flexible manufacturing, where the production system embodies a level of flexibility to react to different environmental conditions, product variations, specification changes or even product options.
The football factory demo epitomises an Industry 4.0 factory that is locally controlled by a programmable logic controller (PLC) reference design driving a host of intelligent sensors that communicate the factory’s health and status information to enable real-time decision-making to optimise productivity.
The advantage of having a small, distributed PLC working in conjunction with smart, IO-Link-enabled sensors is that changes in the assembly line can be affected at a local level and in real time.
"This factory gives UCD students as well as our academic staff, particularly those from mechanical, electrical and control engineering and computer science, the opportunity to experiment and learn how to design future production facilities, which are highly connected, increasingly intelligent and even self-aware,” said Professor Denis Dowling, UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and Director of I-Form, the SFI Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre."
"We are very grateful for this donation in the form of a state-of-the-art production facility in a small format and are pleased to be able to deepen our co-operation with Maxim, which has its European headquarters in Dublin."