Emerson PlantWeb Laboratory of Digital Industry

The PlantWeb Laboratory of Intelligent Information and Measurement Systems of Process Control Based on the Distributed Intelligence Architecture (Emerson-METRAN-SUSU) was born as a result of a long-standing and close cooperation between the Metran Industrial Group and South Ural State University.

“The foundation of the laboratory was laid back in 2005 hosted by the SUSU Instrumentation Engineering Faculty. In the future, it was modernized and equipped with the most up-to-date process equipment. The grand opening of the laboratory took place on April 13, 2011 with the participation of the Director General and CEO of Emerson Corporation, David N. Farr,” says Mikhail Biziaev, Head of the laboratory, Candidate of Sciences (Engineering), Assistant Professor of the Department of Informational and Measuring Technology

The laboratory is an academic and research one and is intended to increase the level of knowledge and experience of SUSU employees and students in the use of up-to-date technologies and automation tools, as well as for practical verification of solutions in the field of creating various automated process control systems and their elements.

The laboratory machine has three hydraulic circuits and allows to adjust the temperature, pressure, fluid level and flow rate inside these circuits. In addition, the machine allows to control the temperature of the environment from radiators included in the hydraulic circuits of the system. These laboratory facilities are a physical model of the most common technological processes in the chemical, petrochemical, food and other industries.

Laboratory machine (field equipment), classes

The laboratory is equipped with the latest innovations in the field of automation of technological processes. It has SmartWireless sensors that make up a self-organizing wireless industrial network. The laboratory is equipped with an additional emergency protection system, which ensures trouble-free production shutdown in case of emergency. In addition, process simulation boards have been installed in it that allow creating semi-full-scale models of real technological processes, debugging, optimally adjusting them and transferring them to industrial technological processes.

“On the basis of the laboratory, undergraduates carry out graduation projects using the latest principles of process control based on the methods of fuzzy logic, neural network and model predictive control algorithms. Postgraduates conduct research in the field of process control and instrument engineering,” explains Mikhail Biziaev. “One example of the project created by postgraduates and students is the project of the Smart Pipes intelligent system that enables leakage reduction and automatic pressure management of urban water distribution networks."

This project was among the finalists of the Imagine Cup competition (one of the largest student competitions in the world, which is held by Microsoft with the support of other high-tech companies) and gained a special prize from Nokia.

More than 80 students from the Department of Informational and Measuring Technology, the Department of Control Systems, the Department of Automation and Control, and the Department of Mechatronics and Automation are trained annually in the PlantWeb Academic and Research Laboratory of Intelligent Information and Measurement Systems.

In addition, the laboratory provides such training courses in English for international students who arrived from China, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Jordan, Malaysia and Iraq in the programmes on Automated Process Control Systems, and Automated Information Management Systems. Laboratory research is carried out for Master's Degree students from the Department of Mechatronics and Automation, for international students in the framework of summer schools and students of Bachelor's exchange programs.

Quarterly upgrade training courses for specialists from Russian power plants and neighbouring countries are organized on the basis of the laboratory.

Also, project training is carried out in the laboratory both for Bachelor's Degree students from elite training groups and Master's Degree students. In the contemporary labour market, an integrated approach to production decision-making and soft skills of graduates are appreciated, and therefore the project-based education will significantly improve the quality of training and the competitiveness of graduates in the Russian and international labour markets.

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