Middlesex University invests in new MPS-500

New - configurable MPS-500 system provides valuable learning resource for students.

MPS-500 System

If our product design and engineering students are to meet the expectations of employers, it makes sense to ensure that they train on the types of equipment they’ll meet in the real world of industry. And that includes the latest in manufacturing automation systems

Middlesex University’s Product Design and Engineering Academic Group (PDE) is widely acknowledged to be one the UK’s most innovative providers of product design education, with an excellent reputation within the engineering community for its focus on industry needs. The PDE Academic Group employs 15 full time academic and technical staff at its base on the Trent Park campus, and its on-site manufacturing centre is equipped with a formidable range of highend production systems.

Here, undergraduate and postgraduate students benefit from hands on training using CNC milling, turning, rapid prototyping, 3D scanning and laser cutting facilities – this is one of only a handful of universities in the UK with an FDM (fused deposition method) rapid prototyping machine that creates 3D plastic objects direct from CAD data.

New recruit

The latest addition to the centre is a Festo MPS 500 modular production system, which packs every aspect of manufacturing automation into just 16m2 of floor space.  Dr Mehmet Karamanoglu is Chair of the PDE: “We have used Festo equipment at the university since 1996, to help familiarise students with the type of pneumatic and electrical automation used in manufacturing environments.

The MPS 500 installation represents a significant investment for the university and underlines our commitment to providing our students with access to the very latest training technology.  “Students who have benefited from using real-life automation are better prepared for industry, and find employers more receptive.  Furthermore, we are keen to extend our role to serve the needs of local industry, and for this we need to ensure that we are operating the latest-generation equipment.” MPS 500 systems are inherently modular, enabling organisations to configure them precisely for specific training purposes.

Key advantage

Each automation station can either form an integral part of the entire production process, or it can be physically separated for standalone use.  This reconfiguration flexibility provides the university with a key advantage, as Dr Karamanoglu makes clear:  “We often need to tailor programmes to suit the training requirements of particular groups of students or industry sponsors, which makes Festo’s MPS 500 the ideal tool for this task, because we can customise the system accordingly.”

The MPS 500 system employs a complete range of
mechatronic components:

  • Distribution station – pneumatics and electro-pneumatics
  • Test station – optical and capacitive sensing, AC, DC and stepper motor drives
  • Vision inspection – high speed camera for colour and dimension checking
  • And many more features


Trends in Automation article.pdf


World Skills