Automation In Education


August 2021

Automation In Education

As the world accelerates its digital transformation, the need to have trained engineers coming into the industry is becoming essential, the use of practical automation in the education curriculum is key to this. From apprentices to graduates, the courses that are undertaken to enable them to fulfil their further education have been slowly evolving within educational institutions over the years.

In addition, due to the benefits of automation, it too is growing at a very fast rate across the world. This demand means that the “new engineers” need to be exposed to the most up to date equipment and methodologies used in the industry of today and into the future. Therefore it is essential that students and teachers spend more time on experiential learning using things such as Collaborative Robots (cobots) during their day to day educational process.

If we turn back the clock and look at when traditional apprenticeship training was established, apprentice engineers were trained on manual lathes, shaping machines, manual mills, and hand fitting skills. These were put in place as part of the curriculum because they were some of the essential skills required. Engineers were very much distinguished between disciplines where mechanical engineers would do “nuts and bolts”, electrical engineers wiring and so on. Education needs to evolve with the industry.


Engineers of Today

Fast forward a couple of decades, and the next generation of engineers, are now required to have a multi-disciplined approach to deal with electrical, mechanical and software. This has now moved even further with the advent of Industry 4.0, bringing in big data, robotics, IoT and so on. The need for developing skilled people is becoming very much the norm and is the use of automation in education.

Although the technology used in today’s manufacturing environments has changed, the same philosophy remains and that is teaching and learning young engineers at the education level the correct skills using the correct tools.

Education establishments such as Fife College is a prime example of a further education campus that has seen the need for this shift change and has recently invested very heavily in equipment to help teach automation within their education sector.

Thankfully, funding allowed this to take place and the result is an incredible modern-day set-up, that won’t only develop our next generation of engineers but also attract more candidates into engineering when they discover that engineering isn’t all about oil, dirty rags.


SP Elements is very honoured to have supplied Fife College with the new “tools” in the form of Universal Robot Collaborative Robots (cobots).


SP Automation & Robotics Testimonials

Fife College are a strong believer that using automation in education is essential in ensuring that the sector evolves with the industry and feel that the cobots from Universal Robots were the correct choice for them due to their flexibility, innovative nature and useability. Here are a couple of testimonials from them first hand;


“Robotic systems have seen significant digital development in the technology and machine control over past 10 -15 years, these current Universal Robots collaborative robotic arms are incredibly flexible in terms of potential use, but then also in terms of dexterity, swiftness and ease of operation. With a range of Universal Robots, end-effectors and high-end automation equipment on campus, we at Fife College are looking forward to sharing this new technology with our staff, students and industry.”

Vlastimil Hovan (Fife College)


 “We chose universal robots due to the vast number of options in terms of size, payload, end-effectors and coupled with the user-friendly intuitive software it provides quick programming and swift fine-tuning of the robot into many different industry-ready operations. Having this new technology on campus will help redesign our engineering programmes with a relatable focus on robotics, automation, and the digital manufacturing technologies of the future. If you would like to know more about robotics, then please see our website for our new PDA (Professional Development Award) in Advanced Manufacturing.”

Stephen Ayton (Fife College) 

Cobots within Education

The cobots will be used to teach students the principles of robotics and how the cobots can be used in many environments, from welding, to life sciences. This can open the mindset of the new engineers to see that automation and engineering are not fixed to one sector with most skills transferable between market sectors. These cobots are designed for industry, but with the added advantage of being suited very well to education. With over 55,000 universal robots in operation around the world, these are part of today manufacturing reality.



Braden Henderson (SP Elements Cobot Sales & Applications engineer) commented. “Having started my career within manufacturing, I know at first hand the importance of being able to adapt what you learn at college to ensure you can develop long term in you chosen career. Having transferrable skills taught at an early stage allows students to become more diverse and adaptable for the future. Working with Fife College and helping implement these cobots has been a privilege and it’s just as rewarding to see how they have developed and even pushing the new technology to maximise the cobots In education.

If you would like more information on automation in education or using Collaborative Robots within your sector, simply get in touch and we can arrange a call/visit to help SP Elements work with you to discover the best solution to suit your requirements.




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