OAL's automation talent wins ‘Young Engineer of the Year’

We’re thrilled to announce that OAL's Software Engineer, Matt Ayre won “Young Engineer of the Year” award at the Food Processing Awards 2017.

Matt's story highlights how the food industry can attract the best and brightest; highly relevant given the well-documented engineering skills shortage in the industry. Having completed his degree in aircraft engineering, Matt changed his career path to becoming an automation engineer in the food industry because of the problem-solving challenges and variety of work involved in the UK’s largest manufacturing industry.

We nominated Matt because of the positive feedback received from our customers on his approach to work and skillset. Following a major automation project at Manor Fresh, a large potato packing company, Stefan Clements, IT Manager enthused:

I’ve been really impressed with Matt’s work ethic on site and his ability to communicate effectively with our team. He’s definitely one to watch for the future.
— Stefan Clements, IT Manager, Manor Fresh
Matthew Ayre at the Appetite for Engineering Awards 2017

Matthew Ayre at the Appetite for Engineering Awards 2017

And after Matt joined OAL's project to replace a SCADA based system for Hovis Ltd which had previously been scoped and deployed to a couple of sites jointly by OAL and Hovis Gary Jones, Control Systems Manager commented:

As always a difficult task to take forward the work started by others. Matt rose to the challenge of familiarising himself with the previous development allowing him to support existing engineering, expanding functionality and continuing the development to allow continued deployment to other sites.
— Gary Jones, Control Systems Manager, Hovis

These references demonstrate the skills Matt has developed and strengthened as an integral part of the OAL Connected team.

The award's ceremony was held at the Doubletree Hilton, Coventry on Thursday 19th October 2017 as part of the Appetite for Engineering conference that had taken place during the day at the amazing facilities at the Manufacturing Technology Centre’s also in Coventry. Both events brought together industry professionals from all stages of their career journeys to inspire and educate, discuss and explore what the future holds for the UK’s largest manufacturing industry.

OAL was up for two other awards at the awards ceremony in addition to Matt’s entry. Our APRIL™ Cooking Cell was up for the “Robotics & Automation” award and our APRIL™ Robotic Weighing Station up for the “Future-Factory Enabling Technologies” award. Both these categories were extremely competitive with the finalists being from the most innovative companies the food manufacturing industry has to offer. And, although we didn’t win, it was still fantastic for us to be recognised as one of the best.

The awards season is not yet over for OAL. We’re flying the food industry flag at the cross-sector IET, Institue of Engineering and Technology Awards. APRIL™ Robotics is shortlisted for the “Manufacturing Technology” award in a highly competitive competition.

There were over 300 entries to the awards from 25 countries from industries including aerospace, automotive and pharmaceutical. We’ll find out if we’ve been successful on the 15th November at the ceremony at The Brewery, London.

The year then ends with the Food Matters Live awards where our unique cooking technology Steam Infusion has been shortlisted in the "Best Food and Drink Process or Technology" category.

Keep checking back to keep up-to-date with our progress!

How will you make food tomorrow? We challenged delegates to imagine the digital food facotry of the future

How will you make food tomorrow? We challenged delegates to imagine the digital food facotry of the future