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Technical University in Liberec is a technology winner with Mitsubishi Factory Automation and Control Engineering

A student and tutor from one of the Czech Republic’s leading technical universities 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 donations 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 the automation system.

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. One overall winner was then chosen from each country to receive a seven day trip to Japan for themselves and their tutors. The final winners from Czech Republic were Mgr. ONDŘEJ ŠTÍPEK – Student, and Ing. MILOŠ HERNYCH,
Professor at Technical University in Liberec (TUL).

Mitsubishi Electric, Central and Eastern Europe FA Centre Manager

“Mitsubishi Factory Automation is proud to be associated with the education establishments of Czech Republic. 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.”

Makoro 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 universities – 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 Factory Automation (FA) Centre based here in Prague for their work in developing our working relationship with the universities, and helping to drive the competition forward.”

The Rector
Technical University in Liberec (TUL).

I represent the University as whole, which means not only the technical department but also humanities. Competitions such as this provide a great motivation for our students, encouraging them to connect theory and practice and gain a deeper knowledge in their field of study.

I began my career in our technical department and I support schemes where manufacturers are getting involved like this. I believe that it is beneficial both for the companies to make contact with students in particular fields and for university students who get a chance to see how what they learn can be applied in practice.

We will be supporting the participation of our students in future campaigns that bring new opportunities and new interesting projects to campus.

doc. Ing. PETR TŮMA, CSc.
Chairman of the Institute of Mechatronics and Computer Engineering

Mitsubishi has made this donation of equipment far more exciting by linking it to a competition and a technical challenge. Equipment that has been given to the department generated some activity immediately because it was associated with a project. The importance and enthusiasm that Mitsubishi gives to the competition is extraordinary.

Deputy Dean at TUL

We are very strong in applied research in light engineering and would be pleased to work on some real-life projects with Mitsubishi equipment. We are looking to develop a long term co-operation with Mitsubishi.


About the winning project


ONDŘEJ ŠTÍPEK studied master's studies in Automatic Control and Engineering Informatics and confesses he didn’t know any where near as much about Mitsubishi automation before he took part in the competition as he does now.

Q. What prompted you to submit this project?

I saw the poster campaign around the department and also the advertisements in Control Engineering magazine. I then looked up the competition website at

Q. What project did you choose and why?

I designed an "intelligent house" with one central control system which would manage and coordinate all the utilities and systems in the house. All the elements were controlled by a single unit, which is something that is not common practice today as separate control systems are more usual, even in large buildings.

I used a complete Mitsubishi package which shows the strength of the Mitsubishi product range (even the solar panels, pumps or air vents were Mitsubishi components).  While working on the project I also learnt a lot about efficient house heating and working with PLCs as well.

Q. Were you pleased about winning?

Yes absolutely, I was not really motivated by the prize money, although that was very welcome. I was interested to find what I thought was the best solution to the problem. The trip to Japan was an amazing bonus.

Trip to Japan

Students and tutors from Czech Republic and Poland 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.


Professor at TUL    Student



Q What did you get to see in Japan and what impressed you most?

The trip to Japan was seven days long and we had a chance to see a few cities including Tokyo, Kyoto and Nagoya and we saw two Mitsubishi production plants, in one of which we were able to see the whole production process of servo drives, which was completely automated.

I found the Japanese culture really captivating, we learned about the history and the cuisine, and I had a chance to meet with some girls who attended a school which followed the teachings of the original Geisha tradition. At least, that’s what I was led to believe! Of course, the modern architecture is very interesting as well.

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

Japanese culture is very polite and there is a lot of social etiquette that people outside of Japan are not always aware of, simple things such as going to a restaurant may be an adventure. In a hotel we were staying in, there was a procedure of being shown to the table, you basically walked through three different rooms and talked to three different members of staff. You couldn't just walk in and sit down at a table. You had to be shown to your table. I was unaware of this convention and when I walked into the restaurant I basically zoomed through it and just joined my colleague for breakfast at his table. I caused a commotion and that was a bit embarrassing.

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

I definitely learnt a bit of Japanese during my stay I think it’s a good idea to learn a few phrases to get around.

I presented my project in Japan and they presented their managerial and technical targets to us and we had a chance to see some new technologies as well. What really caught my attention was the new CC Link system, which enables to connect various devices into a network and implementation of third party products.

Another interesting technology, apart from the CC Link, was the e-F@actory automation solution. There are some areas I would like to look at studying the future, for instance a camera based system for production control.


Q. How was the trip to Japan, and can you say what you learned from the trip?

To be honest before the project started I was just not aware of the scope and size of the range of programmable automation devices manufactured by Mitsubishi, but I guess this is part of the reason for Mitsubishi educating the audience about what is available, and what is possible.

This kind of technology is very complex. One can understand the basics fairly quickly and it requires effort to get in depth understanding of all the functionalities. 

Q How does the level of technology usage compare?

During the visits to the factories we were fascinated not only by the cutting edge technologies but also by the absolute cleanliness and order, which seem to rule Japan. Having said that, I believe that in general some Czech manufactures can be proud of the equipment they use and the level of technology that is employed. I think the Czech Republic has managed to catch up very quickly with current modern trends in automation.

It was exciting for me to see state-of-the-art technology from the Mitsubishi product range in action. I should point out once again the CC Link system, which is an open system and it enables to use any third party components, which makes it very useful.

Q. What cultural aspects of the trip stood out for you?

We both generally liked the cuisine but we are aware of the fact that some of it may look a bit odd to European eyes, especially the sea food. But we enjoyed even that in the end. We found Japanese cuisine not only tasty but also nice to look at.

It’s unbelievable how helpful and generous people are. For instance when I wanted to pay by a credit card in a shop where cards were not accepted, the shop assistant actually went with me to an ATM, which was in Japanese only, and assisted me with withdrawing the money...

2008 / 2009 competition

The Mitsubishi Scholarship automation prize is open to entries from September and closes on 16th December 2008, check the website for entry details.

……….  konec………….

Kontakt na Vašeho lokálního pracovníka PR pro Českou republiku:
Tisková kancelář: Jirka Hokes
DMA Europa Ltd
Tel: +44 (0)1299 405454

Thomas Droth
Sales Manager
Central Eastern Europe
Factory Automation - European Business Group
Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V. -o.s.
Czech Office
Avenir Business Park, Radlicka 714/113a
158 00 PRAHA 5, Czech Republic

Tel: +420-251-091-484
Fax: +420-251-551-471

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