Pedal car assembly shows how automation is possible in industry
The winners of the 2021 Automation Student competition have investigated how a manual assembly process can be automated. The knowledge gained from their degree project can now be used to increase the degree of automation in industry.
“The work that was previously manual and, in many cases, monotonous can now be automated,” says Moutoz Abdalrahman, who together with Alistar Brice is behind the winning degree project. “The new technology enables high productivity and quality assurance. Companies can no longer hide behind the same old arguments for producing in low-wage countries. Now it’s time to bring back production to Sweden,” he continues.
Moutoz Abdalrahman and Alistair Brice have completed the Master's programme in Production and Materials Engineering at LTH, Faculty of Engineering at Lund University. In their degree project “New era of automation in Scania's manufacturing systems”, they built an assembly line to assemble a pedal car. The fact that they selected a pedal car was mainly because the steering wheel and wheels are parts that are difficult for a robot to handle. The pedal car assembly is a demonstrator where the automation principles can be transferred to existing production at their client Scania.
Moutoz Abdalrahman and Alistair Brice hope to further develop Swedish industry with the results gained from their degree project. They believe that technology has caught up at the same time as the visions of a more sustainable future are beginning to be established.
“Our Swedish companies are world leaders and are at the forefront with cutting-edge technology. If we can use automation and technology to create sustainable production locally, we would have a great competitive advantage,” says Alistair Brice.
During their degree project, Moutoz Abdalrahman and Alistair Brice worked with an iterative method to transform the manual assembly process into an automated one. They have looked at which robots can perform the steps in the process and have investigated how the components of the product can be adapted to find the most efficient and reliable techniques. In their findings, the authors have established that it is possible to automate a manual process, and that it is possible to simplify the concept by reviewing and adapting the inherent components for easier assembly at an early stage.
Here's how the jury justified its choice of winner:
Using a clear theoretical framework and practical experiments, the authors have shown how a manual assembly line can be automated. Their work offers a credible, integrative approach to automation – from a need’s requirement, mapping and design to implementation and verification. The authors' results and insights have potential to greatly contribute to the Swedish manufacturing industry.
About the Automation Student competition
To emphasise the importance of a stable regrowth within the field of automation, Automation Region, the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre along with the industry organisation Swedish Automation together arrange an annual competition for the best automation-related degree project. The award has been presented since 2010 and the prizewinning entry is rewarded with a scholarship of SEK 20 000.
The jury consists of the following people:
- Beatrice Björk, Partner and SVP at Level 21
- Patrick Fredriksson, Consultant in Production Technology and Sustainable enterprises
- Gunnar Lindstedt, Ph.D. in Industrial Electrical Engineering and Automation, Lund University Faculty of Engineering
- Marina Rantanen Modéer, Systems Engineer for underwater robotics, SAAB, winner Automation Student competition 2012