Companies in Telford, Shropshire and Herefordshire are set for an ‘advanced manufacturing’ boost, with In-Comm Training due to launch a new robotic automation cell.

The leading independent training provider, which opened its Telford Technical Academy just over twelve months ago, is investing more than £200,000 through the Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) and the Marches Education Partnership into creating a dedicated 7-axis robotic training capability that will help firms looking to upskill or reskill workers.

Hundreds of individuals will have access to robotic programming, maintenance and automation courses that will give them the skills they need to help their employers take advantage of new opportunities in automotive, aerospace, electrification, and renewables.

Recognising ever-changing technical skills needs identified in the Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP), In-Comm Training has joined forces with Telford-based Bauromat to design the robotic automation line and will showcase some early features at its ‘Automate your Productivity’ event next Wednesday (6th March).

“There has been a massive rise in the number of advanced manufacturing companies locating and expanding in the Marches and we need to ensure they have access to specialist training that meets their evolving skills requirements,” explained Gareth Jones, Managing Director at In-Comm Training.

“Our role as a provider with The Marches Education Partner is to deliver the robotics, maintenance, and automation offer so crucial to helping companies gain new competences, efficiencies, increase capacity, boosts to productivity and unlock recruitment issues.”

He continued: “There is restricted training provision currently available in the area that covers this growing discipline, so we have used the expertise of Bauromat to come up with a solution that will give learners access to technology that is being used on shopfloors now and in the future.”

Installation of the robotic and automation cell is underway and will be completed by May, providing learners with access to a Kuka robot and a single servo powered head and tailstock positioner.

It also features an integrated Siemens PLC control system and a state-of-the-art ESAB MIG welding power source, fully integrated in a Kyrus guarding enclosure.

The latest addition to the Telford facility will help existing engineers upskill or reskill in a new engineering discipline, providing companies with a more agile workforce and one that is prepared for the move to more automation and digital transformation.

The focus will be on delivering three Level 3 courses in Industrial Robot Technology, Principles of Robotics, Programming of Robotics, offline simulation, and a Level 4 course in Industrial Robotics.

Engineers will learn how to interact with PLCs, perform essential maintenance and automate production lines, whilst also touching on competence elements of fluid power, hydraulics, and pneumatics.

Gareth went on to add: “We’ve got a special event next week where we can give businesses a ‘sneak peek’ of development work to date and explore some of the ways where we can help them automate to improve their productivity.

“There will also be a session on modularised maintenance courses that have been designed by industry for industry.

“It doesn’t have to be massive investment in automation either. Embracing the right technology and upskilling staff can be a cost-effective first step and very quickly gives you a return on investment.”

About the Marches Education Partnership

The Marches Education Partnership secured £2.5 million to boost skills training in the manufacturing, engineering, and construction sectors – with a particular focus on ‘green’ technologies.

The project involves Herefordshire, Ludlow and North Shropshire College, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Group Training Association, In-Comm Training Services Ltd, SBC Training, Shrewsbury Colleges Group, and Telford College – supported by Telford & Wrekin Council and Shropshire Chamber of Commerce.

It will see the launch of 14 new training centres and the creation of at least 30 new courses across Telford & Wrekin, Shropshire, and Herefordshire.

Funding, which is also being provided by the Government’s Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF), is addressing specific skills needs identified in the latest Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) for the Marches area.

In Comm Training and Business Services