Automation is the control of machines and processes by independent systems through the use of various technologies.

This is a practical competition that will test your logic, design and fault finding skills related to automation in a challenging but enjoyable environment with a view to develop your automation skills further.

To complete the tasks, competitors are expected to apply their theoretical knowledge of fundamental principles of, automation, basic pneumatic and electro-pneumatic technologies and PLC technologies. The skills that are tested include:

  • Designing, building and testing pneumatic, electro-pneumatic circuits and PLC programmes for sequential and non-sequential tasks
  • Using appropriate sensors and actuators to build simple automated systems
  • Limited mechanical assembly and basic electrical wiring
  • Adding new functionality and operations to a given application
  • Visualisation of automation processes.

Full list of core competencies can be found in the Technical Handbook within the useful resources section.

Competitors who have taken part in the Automation competition are encouraged to consider taking part in Mechatronics or Industry 4.0 competitions in subsequent years, with a view to progress their skills set further and also benefit from having access to international competitions.

The skills you need to demonstrate

  • Problem solving

  • Attention to detail

  • Performance testing

  • Troubleshooting

  • Software programming

  • Test design

  • Configuration management

  • Agility

Contact details

Entry criteria

  • This is a team activity (teams of two).
  • Team of competitors must have their own PLC and programming software for National Qualifier and National Final stages.
  • Competitors must be available for the National Qualifiers and National Finals.
  • There is no limit to the number of entries per organisation.
  • Competitors must be familiar with fundamentals of pneumatics, electro-pneumatics and PLC programming.

How it works

Registrations are now open and close at midnight 28th March 2024.

The first stage of competition is a remote or online test sent after registration closes on the 15th April 2024.

Competitors have three days to complete the task between the 24th-26th of April 2024.

Live Qualifier starting on 30th May 2024.

Bookings are made as following but other qualifiers will be added to allow date clashes with exams etc:

30-05-2024 – Festo HQ, Northampton
05-06-2024 – Middlesex University, London
06-06-2024 – Southern Regional College – Northern Ireland

To help finalists prepare ahead of the UK Final, we will provide relevant technical training and share mindset development techniques, to support them to remain focused on achieving success.

National finals will take place between the 18th-22nd November 2024 in Manchester (venues TBC)

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