Project to create Scotland's Smartest Factory seeks research expertise

Tue, 11 Jun 2019 11:51:00 BST
From left: Dr Babakalli Alkali, Professor Gordon Morison and Professor Don McGlinchey.
From left: Dr Babakalli Alkali, Professor Gordon Morison and Professor Don McGlinchey.

An ambitious partnership to create one of Scotland’s Smartest Factories is seeking two Research Engineers to help deliver the project over the next three years. The collaboration between Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and Mitsubishi Electric Air Conditioning Systems Europe Ltd (M-ACE) will transform the manufacturing process by applying the latest technology to the company’s facility in Livingston.

The £500,000 project is the University’s largest collaboration with private industry to date through the government backed Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme. The arrangement brings universities and companies together to apply academic research to the delivery of commercial projects. It follows on from GCU’s recent success in winning Innovate UK‘s ‘Best of the Best’ award, recognising the best KTP collaboration in the country.

“The project with M-ACE is all about our University applying its knowledge in the latest Industry 4.0 technologies to help one of the world’s leading manufacturers improve their competitiveness and productivity,” said Professor Gordon Morison, who heads GCU’s Department of Computing. “The work is based in a complex facility where workers are using a range of traditional processes supported by advanced robotics.  Using our research expertise, the plant will go through a dramatic transformation to become a Smart Factory over the next three years.”

The two posts, for an Industrial ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) Research Engineer and a Smart Factory Development Engineer, will be employed by the University, but they will be based with M-ACE on site at their plant. “We are very excited about this project,” said Alain Dreze, the Production Engineering Development Manager at M-ACE. “We have a turnover in excess of £200m, and we believe we are well positioned to capitalise on the swing towards more environmentally-friendly heating and cooling solutions throughout European and UK markets. The successful candidates will be critical to delivering this partnership, which will increase our efficiency and our capacity here in Livingston.”

The importance of GCU’s research links with industry have been highlighted through the recognition its KTP partnerships are receiving on the national stage. Professor Morison said: “These KTPs are giving us the opportunity to use cutting edge data science in applied industrial settings, often across different engineering disciplines.”

He continued: “We need to attract high calibre individuals to these new research positions. We will be guiding them to deliver the next generation of Smart Factory technologies for M-ACE. They will also be generating top-quality academic research publications and disseminating their work at international conferences. As well as an attractive salary, they’ll also receive a generous development budget for training, travel, conference attendance and equipment.”

Knowledge Transfer Adviser Jim Berryman said: "Glasgow Caledonian University has already proven its success in helping businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within its knowledge base."

More details on the positions for Research Engineer and Smart Factory Engineer can be found on the jobs.ac.uk and My Job Scotland sites and applications are due in by June 20.