Budding engineers have been getting some hands on experience with futuristic robotic technologies with Cadent in London this summer.
A total of nine engineering students from Middlesbrough College have been working with Cadent and robot manufacturer ULC Robotics, on projects beneath the streets of London to give ageing gas mains a new lease of life and reduce the risk of gas escape.
Work has been taking place in Great Portland Street, Bow Road and will also be carried out in Spencer Street and Curtain Road, in the coming days and weeks.
The projects are part of Cadent’s biggest ever robotics programme, which was launched with contractor and robot manufacturer ULC Robotics earlier this year and involves the use of a robot known as CISBOT.
Using robots for roadworks requires fewer and much smaller excavations than conventional engineering methods and significantly reduces disruption for the public. Work can also be performed with no interruption of gas supply.
However use of robots does not eliminate the human element and the technology requires skilled human operators to interface with it, creating a growing niche job market for engineers.
Therefore Graeme Cleeton Vice President UK Operations ULC Robotics decided it would be good to give budding young engineers some hands on experiences with robots.
“The idea behind this programme is to give young engineering students experience of working with a technology that’s very much in the ascendency – namely robots.
“We approached Middlesbrough College and Northern Skills Group and together with clients including Cadent we’ve been able to set up the work placement scheme.”
James Harrison, Director of Cadent’s London Network, said:
“At Cadent we’re keen to support initiatives to encourage the next generation of engineers and the importance of this particular work placement scheme should not be underestimated.
“Together with ULC Robotics, Cadent is giving young engineering students first-hand experience of working robots, a technology that’s likely to play an ever increasing role in engineering projects.”
The cohort was selected from around 600 initial applicants for the placements which forms part of their Level 3 Apprenticeship in Mechatronics Maintenance Technician Standard.
The participating apprentices are: Andrew McCulloch, Wendel Baltazar, Farroq Hamed, Lewis Grennan, Adam Fishburn, Ethan Austin, Alexander Bavin, Assun Lane and James Swinnerton
Currently CISBOT is not suitable for every kind of job that Cadent needs to do, however it’s hoped that it can be further adapted and its use expanded across Cadent’s network.
To watch a film chronicling CISBOT’s work in The Strand in 2018 go to https://vimeo.com/292701579
Cadent is Britain’s largest gas distribution whose engineers and specialists work day and night to ensure over 11 million homes keep on enjoying safe and reliable gas supplies.