Ron Dearing UTC hosts showcase for innovation and automation

July 23rd, 2018

Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) has hosted an innovation day showcasing how automation is changing the face of engineering and manufacturing.

The day was staged by Ron Dearing UTC Founding Partner, global medical technology business Smith & Nephew, in partnership with one of its key technology suppliers, Omron, one of the world’s leading factory automation companies.

Technology demonstrated at the event included an Autonomous Intelligent Vehicle (AIV) used in factories to supply production lines with components, materials and tools.

The event was attended by Ron Dearing UTC students, engineers from Smith & Nephew’s Hull site and representatives of the school’s other employer sponsors.

David Stephenson, Director of Project Engineering for Smith & Nephew in Hull, said the day highlighted the ever-increasing importance of automation in manufacturing environments and also the company’s commitment to promoting careers in science, technology and engineering.

He said: “Manufacturing businesses have to automate to compete – if you don’t, you’ll struggle to remain in front of your competitors in terms of cost, quality and delivery.

“The jobs that will continue to be required are much more technically based. We want people who understand the basic principles of automation and the technology involved, as a minimum, because we want them to be able to come in and understand how our complex manufacturing equipment works.

“We have to have the best, most innovative, hi-tech equipment. It may be automated, but it doesn’t run itself. So we also need people who understand the technology to run it, and then, going forward, we will need the talent to specify, design and build the next generation of that equipment.

“We see Ron Dearing UTC as a key source of that talent. This vision is supported all the way to the top of Smith & Nephew by Michael Curry, Vice President, Hull Operations, who is also on the Governing Board of the Ron Dearing UTC.”

The innovation day enabled Ron Dearing UTC students to gain valuable insights into how automation is changing the face of manufacturing and engineering.

Robert Meechan, Key Account Manager for Omron Electronics, said it was the first time Omron had staged such an event within a school.

He added: “The facilities at Ron Dearing UTC are fabulous and, as a company, we’re always looking to reach out to the next generation of engineers.

“In years to come some of the students here will be working at Smith & Nephew and coming up with ideas to make the production lines quicker and more efficient.

“The students were really enthusiastic and took a genuine interest in the technology and equipment we’ve demonstrated.”

Dan Howard, Assistant Principal, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “This was an excellent opportunity for our students and also representatives of other employer sponsors to experience technologies powering factories today and into the future.”

Students take a keen interest in the latest automation systems during the innovation day staged by Ron Dearing UTC Founding Partner Smith & Nephew and one of its key technology suppliers, Omron.

Ron Dearing UTC’s employer-driven education model and curriculum combines academic excellence in the core subjects of English, maths and sciences with the opportunity to specialise in digital technology and/or mechatronics – a combination of computing and engineering. 

In addition to Smith & Nephew, Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners are the University of Hull, KCOM, RB, Siemens Gamesa and Spencer Group.

For more information on Ron Dearing UTC and how to apply to join the school go to

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