Students work in tandem with experts as RB develops new Gaviscon process

May 28th, 2019

Sixth form students from Hull’s Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) worked alongside experts at consumer health and hygiene company RB as a new system to manufacture an indigestion remedy was developed.

World-leading RB is continually developing new products, including a recently-developed variant of Gaviscon, and specialises in pharmaceutical manufacturing, also producing well-known brands such as Lemsip and Durex.

As one of the employer-led school’s Founding Partners, RB regularly sets technically-complex projects to challenge, inspire and educate students as they progress through their learning journey.

In one of these projects digital engineering students were tasked with producing a report to advise RB’s Project Team while it developed an automated solution to manufacture the Gaviscon product.

With every new product, manufacturing solutions are initially created on a small-scale “pilot plant”, which ensures the most effective resolution is found before the product is mass produced.

Ron Dearing UTC sixth form students worked with experts from RB as the global health and hygiene company developed a new system to manufacture indigestion remedy Gaviscon.

In the project brief, the students were told RB was exploring the use of an automated control system and robots in the manufacturing process, which included batch manufacturing of the product, shaping the packaging, moving the product along a conveyor belt, and sealing and labelling bottles.

It said key considerations had to be taken into account, including the speed of filling the bottles, temperature of the manufacturing environment and ensuring bottles contained the correct quantity of Gaviscon.

While RB continued this important work, students recruited to the RB Project Team had to produce a report for the process at the same time, providing them with a complex challenge based on a real-life major project.

It had to detail their solutions on exactly how the system would work at various points, how an industrial digital computer could be used to look at various factors, how sensors and movers could be used, and how Human Machine Interface (HMI) and other systems could be implemented.

They were also asked to look at ways to maintain the system overall and research technologies which could be used to ensure every box is ticked for the manufacturing process.

A total of 22 students have been involved in the project.

Dan Howard, Assistant Principal for Employer Engagement at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “We ran this project parallel to RB’s work and, after seeing the reports our students produced, RB said they had applied similar solutions, which is fantastic feedback.

“Although our students’ work hasn’t directly influenced what RB has done, it has been a real-life challenge for them and a great opportunity to work on a project in tandem with RB.”

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