Universal Robots brings benefits of automation to Scottish Colleges

Universal Robots has announced it is working with Smart Hub Lanarkshire to enhance learning opportunities for students and accelerate the adoption of cobots in Scotland. The initiative connects educational institutions with local and national manufacturers, helping businesses to grow their workforce, become more productive and be resilient.

Smart Hub Lanarkshire is a partnership between New College Lanarkshire, Lanarkshire Council and the University of Strathclyde that democratises access to automation by providing free-of-charge access to the latest robotic technologies and expertise. Set up through the Scottish Enterprise Advanced Manufacturing Challenge Fund, it offers a welcoming space where local employers can familiarise themselves with the technology, access technical training and receive specific advice on how to best adopt automation within their own production lines.

The hub initially purchased three UR5e cobots, selecting them for their flexibility, intuitiveness and ease-of use. It has since secured further funding for a UR10e which the hub makes available for companies to trial on their own site, alongside a technical consultant who advises how to best incorporate it into the business’s operations.

This year, five companies will benefit from a two-week loan of the cobot, supported with hands-on training to optimise its use.

Barry Skea, Head of Lanarkshire Institute of Science and Technology added: “As soon as Universal Robots demonstrated the cobots we knew we wanted to put them in the hands of our students. The support we’ve received from Universal Robots and its partner SP Elements has been outstanding and we really appreciate the access to online learning materials through the UR Academy. The cobots are transformational as we look to upskill and grow the valued manufacturing workforce here in Scotland.”

Caroline Brown, Enterprise Development Officer, North Lanarkshire Council, said: “Universal Robots’ technology is a vital element of our industry 4.0 strategy that gives Lanarkshire businesses easy access to new technologies that can drive their business forward. We’re proud to be working in partnership to advance Scotland’s manufacturing capabilities by acting as the interface between suppliers, educators and industry.”

Mark Gray, Country Manager – UK & Ireland, Universal Robots concluded: “Smart Hub Lanarkshire should be commended for its joined-up strategy that is helping manufacturers of all sizes to access and reap the benefits of automation. It’s a tried and tested formula that other parts of the UK can quickly emulate as part of their own levelling-up activities.”

Lanarkshire is one of several automation hubs in Scotland that is working with Universal Robots to realise the benefits of automation.