The manufacturing industry has continually evolved, from the first industrial revolution of Brunel, Stephenson et al, through the period of assembly lines and mass production and then the implementation of computers and automation to the present day with smart systems fuelled by data and machine learning.  

We are now embracing the fifth industrial revolution, or Industry 5.0, which connects man and machine, combining humans and smart systems to work together. It is about robots helping humans work better and faster by leveraging advanced technologies like big data and the Internet of Things (IoT).

This latest evolution has been accelerated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, fast-tracking existing trends in e-commerce, remote working, and increased automation. This new age of coupling machine and human workers can open doors to limitless opportunities for manufacturing. 

It is with this in mind that Fife College has invested over £400,000 on a range of new, hi-tech equipment to allow manufacturing students to learn about the latest and future techniques being used in the industry. 

Dunfermline Press:

The equipment will be based in Glenrothes at one of Fife College campus’ locations. Glenrothes is one of the main hubs for specialist engineering and manufacturing in Fife and in Scotland, with specialist companies located here that deliver to the UK and rest of the Europe.

The new kit includes the most up-to-date industry technologies covering Pneumatics, Hydraulics, Robotics and PLC control, all of which are modelled on industry standard production lines, creating a realistic, relevant, and high-quality training environment for students.

Each machine will help teach students about automation processes such as Pick and Place, Testing & Quality Inspection, Work Piece Processing, Work Piece Sorting, Robotic Assembly and Work Piece Storage & Retrieval.

The college is the first in Scotland to purchase such a significant range of equipment for students, and the size has meant that rooms in the college had to be redesigned to fully install all the equipment.

Stephen Ayton the Academic Head for Engineering, Science, Mathematics and STEM at Fife College said: "This new investment illustrates just how committed Fife College is to provide the very best learning experience for our students.

“We want to make sure anyone studying manufacturing with us learns about the latest techniques that are being used in the industry, so that they’re equipped with the skills needed to work in any modern factory.

“It’s required a lot of hard work and effort to get the equipment installed, but I’m delighted that we’re the first college to offer this wealth of experience to our students.

Dunfermline Press:

“The digitalisation and automation of manufacturing processes is evolving all the time, and thanks to this new technology our students will be appropriately equipped and work ready for industry.”

Kayleigh Ferguson, an Academic and Quality Manager at the college who has been using the equipment said: "This equipment showcases the latest technology in the manufacturing industry, and it's been great to be able to introduce our students to it.

"Learning about this machinery and the manufacturing processes they are used in will provide them with the knowledge and skills to work in the most modern factories in the world.

"They've all really enjoyed having a chance to operate this equipment, and I'm looking forward to introducing more of our manufacturing students to it over the coming months."

You can find out more about the Engineering and Energy courses available at Fife College by visiting the Fife College website.  

With courses available at every level in engineering and energy, from Introductory to HNC/HND, with routes into university to continue further studies, there is a course for anyone interested in this sector so apply today.