Rockwell Automation and Nestlé join forces to promote industrial engineering in the UK to young people at The Big Bang Fair
7th March 2012 - The estimated 35,000 young people making the trip to the NEC in Birmingham between the 15th and 17th of March this year will have the opportunity to learn about food manufacturing, engineering and automation while enjoying live demonstrations of automation in action. Attendees will also have the chance to compete with other young people in a unique interactive game at the Nestlé/FDF stand.
Rockwell Automation and Nestlé have benefitted from working closely together on automated product lines across the globe for many years on a broad range of household-name products from Nescafé and Quality Street through to the Purina Petcare range. Both companies have active and expanding apprenticeship programmes here in the UK which have contributed directly to the stand at The Big Bang 2012.
Plastic model ‘Smarties’ will cascade from a large tube which uses nothing but air pressure to propel the light-weight plastic balls and shoot them from the top of the tube. Visitors to the stand will be invited to compete in a factory automation simulation game based on the Kit Kat production line. The game will test players’ abilities to manage and understand the automated system by asking them respond to increasingly frequent and complex on-screen instructions to keep the line running safely.
By working as a team to alter a set of industrial controls in front of them, such as an emergency stop mechanism and a settings dial, players will run the automated line directly through the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) from Rockwell Automation. This is just as it happens on the real Kit Kat line at Nestlé’s factory in York.
"The opportunity to take part in this sort of event is invaluable to a company such as Rockwell Automation” said Mark Crawford, Manager, Customer Support & Maintenance, "young people should be encouraged to never stop wondering how things work and the more talent encouraged into STEM learning the better for the future of the UK manufacturing economy. The Big Bang is an important part of several initiatives we have at Rockwell Automation investing in the future of Engineering”
Robert Sharpley, a Graduate Project Engineer at Nestlé, and one of those responsible for the activities on the stand, is a great example of how being interested in science can turn into a rewarding career. "I was always interested in making things work when I was at school, and this sort of event does a lot to help encourage young people to follow a career path in engineering".