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Silesian University of Technology proves to be a big technology winner with Mitsubishi Factory Automation and Control Engineering

A student and tutor from Poland’s leading technical institute of further education have won a prestigious Mitsubishi Electric technology prize for automation solutions. Rewards of financial support for students and their university departments have been provided by Mitsubishi in addition to gifts of the very latest automation PLC controllers from Mitsubishi’s System Q range. Staff and students who were the final winners were also taken on an unforgettable trip to Japan.

Students and their university departments were set the task of designing an automation solution from one of three proposed projects. Students were asked to provide a ten page project showing their ideas and demonstrating the benefits of automation.

The competition was run in both Poland and Czech Republic; five winners from each country were selected by an independent panel of judges, appointed by Control Engineering Journal – the winning ten students all received a cheque for €2,000 each. Mitsubishi System Q PLC controllers were awarded to all university departments, the winners from Poland were from: Silesian University of Technology Gliwice, Warsaw University of Technology, and Gdansk University of Technology. One final winner was then chosen from each country to receive a seven day trip to Japan for themselves and their tutors.

Takashi Kawamura san, Regional Manager, Central Eastern Europe (CEE)
Factory Automation European Business Group, Mitsubishi Electric Europe

“Mitsubishi Factory Automation is proud to be associated with the Silesian University of Technology. We were very impressed with the quality of the entries for this automation prize; so much so that we have agreed to run the competition again for the next academic year.”

Kawamura san explains the reason for starting the competition,

 “The objective of this scheme is not just for the winning students to enjoy their trip to Japan, but to help provide the very latest in factory automation hardware and software to the university – in order for the students who will be tomorrow’s Electro-mechanical Engineers to learn about automation technology at the very highest level.”

 “I would like to thank Control Engineering magazine for its joint support of the competition and the staff for their efforts in providing an independent judging panel. Thanks also to the staff at our dedicated Mitsubishi Automation distributor and engineering systems provider in Poland, MPL Technology for its work in fostering the working relationship with the university, and providing the impetus to drive the competition forward.”

Dean of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at Silesian University of Technology. Professor Jerzy Swider.

Professor Swider puts the contest in perspective in terms of the University providing a superior educational experience for its students and also drawing interest to the discipline of engineering and automation.

 “First of all I would like to thank Mitsubishi Electric and MPL Technology for providing ongoing support to our faculty, particularly the Sensors and Industrial Networks Laboratory where our factory automation systems are built and used by the students.”

 “It is vital that Engineering and Automation appear to be attractive options to today’s generation of students: – the latest technology in our labs, and the chance to win all expenses paid trips to Japan send powerful messages to our current and potential students about what we have to offer.”

 “We have 3,200 students in the faculty of Mechanical Engineering and over 30,000 at the university, it is essential for the future success of Polish industry that these students become well-educated experts in the latest fields of technology. With the partnership of forward thinking companies such as Mitsubishi Electric we can work together to build a secure and successful future.”

First prize in Poland went to Mariusz Hetmańczyk MSc.

The Faculty was presented with Mitsubishi System Q PLC controllers by MPL Technology on behalf of Mitsubishi Electric Factory Automation Division.


Dr Piotr Michalski Administrator of the Sensors and Industrial Networks Laboratory

“Through MPL we have had access to a series of Mitsubishi automation products since the inception of the lab in 2002. The system Q PLCs we have received will be used to control our new production line simulation rig, integrating the movements of products along a conveyor system with a range of proximity sensors, switches, variable speed drives and servo positioning functions.

“The Mitsubishi e-F@ctory automation and communications platform will form part of the syllabus this year, as we are going to use it to integrate all our labs using Ethernet and Wi-Fi to mimic a production facility and interface the production line with the latest MES and SCADA visualisation software. Mitsubishi’s e-F@ctory will allow us the cross-platform integration we need to demonstrate. More simple machine controllers such as the Mitsubishi FX3U units which we have had for several years will continue to be used to teach basic automation and control principles.”


About the winning project

Mariusz Hetmańczyk was studying Automatics and Robotics at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Silesian University of Technology when he entered the competition in late 2007. He has since graduated with an MSc degree and is now following post graduate course study for a Doctorate in Machine Design and Operation.

Q. What prompted you to submit this project?

Seeing one of the distinctive advertisements for the competition and looking up the competition website at www.automation-scholarship.com

Q. What project did you choose and why?

Of the three that were set, I chose the energy conservation project. I had already thought about how automation in a family home could save energy by controlling things more precisely and turning them off when they are not needed. The Mitsubishi PLC controller I featured was one that we had used in the labs and so I was very familiar with it’s capabilities.

Q. When did you find out you had won?

I learned that I had won the contest on the way home, when the Chairman of MPL, Mr Andrzej Baryłka, called me; I was totally surprised.

Trip to Japan

Students and tutors from Poland and Czech Republic were taken on an all expenses paid trip to Japan. The object of the visit was to learn more about the latest automation technology direct from the factories and experience some the highlights of Japanese culture both ancient and new.

Q&A with Mariusz Hetmańczyk

Q. How was the trip to Japan?

We spent 7 days in Japan and it was fantastic, we mixed visits to Mitsubishi sites to talk to senior engineers with traditional Japanese experiences and visits to ancient landmarks and sites of interest. The schedule was tight but one week was enough to miss Japan a little when I returned to Poland. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Mr Takashi Kawamura for the hospitality we received in Japan, the food was very different to home, but also very enjoyable, although I don’t think I will every get used to wearing Yukata, the traditional Japanese robes. 

Q. What experiences will stay with you from the trip?

Mitsubishi Headquarters in Tokyo, and the two manufacturing plants we visited in Nagoya and Himeji were very impressive. A very valuable experience was meeting and talking with Japanese engineers. We also visited the show room at Nagoya factory. I was pleased to see many products that I recognised from the Factory Automation (FA) Centre at MPL in Kraków Balice, it was good to know that we are close to the latest Japanese technology.

From a cultural perspective the beauty of Japan lies in the fact that despite the cutting-edge technology and development, the history, traditions and culture of the country has not been forgotten. We were invited to tour Lake Ashi, which is believed to be a home of the legendary dragon. Favourable weather allowed us to take pictures of Mount Fuji. We also visited the Himeji Castle which is an impressive example of Japanese fortress. We also visited: Meiji Shrine with its Grand Tori Gate and Kinkakuji and Kiyomizu shrines. The Japanese people were friendly, smiling, considerate and always helpful. I really felt welcome in Japan.

Q. What technical aspects of the trip did you learn from?

I am interested in all aspects of automation. The relatively short visit meant I could only concentrate on major topics.  We focused on using the concept of e-F@ctory with MES system (Manufacturing Execution Systems). Before the trip, we were aware that the system had been implemented at Nagoya factory. The visit to the factory demonstrated the advantages of the solution, and illustrated many of the possible interpretations of MES module usage. Our interest in e-F@ctory stemmed from the fact that Faculty of Mechanical Engineering acquired, as a first in Poland, an MES module.

I went to Japan with a certain level of experience, because the PLC controller units, drives, process frequencies, operator panels are available at the Institute of Engineering Processes Automation and Integrated Manufacturing Systems. The Japanese factories made us aware of the vast capabilities of Mitsubishi products. Linking elements into one technological line that is a fully functioning production system, augmented by visualisation elements, was very impressive.

Q. What benefits do you see in Poland for these technologies?

Polish industry is at a stage of dramatic development. Many manufacturing companies are investing in new technologies and automation. Mitsubishi Electric has a well established position in the Polish market, but its cutting edge technology places the company as a position of leader in innovative industrial applications.

The implementation of solutions may bring many benefits including improved quality and increased reliability of production lines. What is difficult is producing engineers who could keep up with the breathtakingly-fast pace of development in Japanese technology. I hope the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering will continue with an on-going relationship with Mitsubishi Electric.

Margret Keulemans
mjkeulemans@mpl.pl

MPL TECHNOLOGY Sp. z o.o.
ul Krakowska 50
32-083 Balice
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Sąd Rejonowy dla Krakowa-Śródmieście w Krakowie, XI Wydział Gospodarczy Krajowego Rejestru Sądowego
Kapitał zakładowy 150.000,- PLN

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