Degree project highlights the potential with event-driven communication
This year’s winners of the Automation Student competition are Anna Bengtsson and Sofie Nilsson from the Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering programme at the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University. In their degree project they have investigated how wireless regulation can be improved by modifying the control algorithm and basing the communication of control and measuring signals on events instead of fixed time intervals.
“With event-driven communication only readings and other information are sent when something changes. The algorithm we have designed can significantly reduce the datasets compared with traditional time based systems,” says Sofie Nilsson.
Wireless communication between machines, sensors and automation systems are self-evident in the modern manufacturing industry. The exchange of information takes place at all levels in the system and as more and more of the equipment is connected, the need increases to have a dependable control algorithm that can manage the new prerequisites. At the same time, smaller datasets imply savings in terms of energy, memory capacity and computational resources.
“Our results can be applied to many time-critical processes and we hope that the insights generated from our initiative will be used in industry in the future,” says Anna Bengtsson.
The degree project was conducted as an assignment from ABB Corporate Research in Västerås. In addition to exploring the possibilities of event-based communication, Anna Bengtsson and Sofie Nilsson have also investigated which communication protocols and control algorithms are suitable for managing delays introduced with wireless communication. One of the conclusions they have drawn is that wireless regulation can be designed to be as just as dependable as wired transfer.
Here's how the jury justified its choice of winner:
The winning entry presents a well-developed model for efficient wireless communication in the manufacturing industry. Through scientifically based reasoning and practical tests, the authors have contributed with new knowledge that is valuable for the development of future cost-effective and powerful automation solutions.
The Automation Student competition in brief
To emphasise the importance of a stable regeneration in the automation area, Automation Region, the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and Svensk Automation trade association together arrange an annual competition for the best automation-related degree project. The prize has been awarded since 2010 and the prizewinning entry receives a scholarship worth SEK 20 000.
The jury comprises the following people:
- Patrick Fredriksson, Consultant in Production Technology and Sustainable enterprises
- Christer Nygren, Lecturer in Innovation Technology, Mälardalen University
- Marina Rantanen Modéer, Systems Engineer for underwater robotics, SAAB, 2012 winner of the Automation Student competition
- Magnus Wiktorsson, Professor of Production Logistics, the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)