Aalto University: Open, vendor-agnostic automation is the future of working life

Schneider Electric, a specialist in energy management and automation, has launched collaboration with Aalto University to train future experts. Schneider’s open EcoStruxure Automation Expert platform will be used by Aalto University students in Aalto’s Factory of the Future unit. The unit develops flexible innovations and solutions for use in automation.

“The open automation platform is a good teaching base, as open platforms will only become more common in the future. The labour market will also offer more opportunities if a candidate’s know-how is not limited to a single closed automation system,” stresses Aalto University’s Professor of Electrical Engineering Valeriy Vyatkin.

“With this university collaboration, the students will learn about a good technology platform and understand the advantages and possibilities of open, vendor-agnostic automation. Any future employer will benefit from vendor-agnostic automation expertise gained during university studies,” says Manager Marko Latvasalo of Schneider Electric.

Education for the needs of future working life
Vyatkin underscores the importance of collaboration between enterprises and universities as a win-win situation.

“At Aalto University, we are training future experts in the field of automation. Our main task is to spark students’ interest in industrial automation, but we also hope to benefit industry by putting research results into practice.

“The key elements of the fourth industrial revolution are robotics, AI, digital twins and virtual reality, to name a few. Aalto University has tremendous expertise in these areas. The goal is to make use of this expertise to benefit industry. The technologies also give us a good opportunity to establish start-ups,” says Vyatkin.
Schneider Electric sees the open Automation Expert platform as something that will help students and teachers prepare for the new era of automation.

“Schneider has competent people who can support students in the direction the automation world is heading,” says Schneider Electric’s Head of Marketing, Tuomas Korhonen.

Some 100 students of electrical engineering and automation study the use of open automation at Aalto University every year.

“By collaborating with industrial enterprises, we can lower the threshold for adopting new technologies of the fourth industrial revolution. Aalto’s Factory of the Future can support companies in automation-related development projects and train future experts to meet the needs of industry. With Schneider’s automation platform, Aalto’s Factory of the Future can take part in pilot projects, for example” says Vyatkin.

Schneider Electric’s vendor and process automation logics support the new, open, IEC61499-based Automation Expert platform. As a platform, both series have been in use for years, with a proven and reliable track record in industry. In addition to the logics, wireless control components for the industrial environment to support the transition from conservative automation to the modern wireless industrial environment were also delivered to the Factory of the Future unit.

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