Collaboration between Universities and Automation Suppliers

Donations of automation equipment to colleges and universities are an important way to build the skills of the next generation of automation professionals. I’ve share a few stories in the past (examples here and here).

A colleague shared an example of how these donations extend globally. He pointed to a partnership between Emerson and the College of Engineering in Pune (COEP), India. Pune is a center of higher education and is home to a large Emerson project-engineering center for globally executed automation projects.

I connected with Hemal Desai, a senior manager for automation and safety instrumented systems for the Emerson India team. Hemal shared some background on the origins of the partnership with the College of Engineering. Similar donations were made in the Pune area to the Vishwakarma Institute of Technology (VIT) Pune in 2002 and Cummins College of Engineering for Women in 2008.

Discussions began in 2002 and culminated in a DeltaV system being commissioned at COEP soon after. The Emerson team helped with the installation and commissioning of the DeltaV system and trained two COEP staff members on its use. The collaboration continues as new versions of the DeltaV software are released.

In addition to the DeltaV system donation, the Emerson team provides guest lecturers to the engineering students on subjects such as fieldbuses, safety instrumented systems, and batch automation. For automation-related projects performed by the engineering and science students, Emerson project engineers help provide their expertise and coaching for the students.

The collaboration extends to internship opportunities for Master of Science, Master of Engineering, and Master of Technology students.

Hemal cited an example of the work of professor S.D. Agashe, who completed his PhD in the study of neural networks. He used the DeltaV Neural application in his doctoral pursuits. Professor Agashe and fellow professor Panditrao also presented a paper, Model Predictive Control of Pilot Spray Dryer Unit Designed and Implemented for an Educational Institute at a 2005 IEEE workshop on Process Control in Vancouver, Canada.

Collaborations like these are beneficial for the students learning about process control and instrumentation, the faculty who teaches these disciplines, the Emerson team hiring these students as project engineers, and the process manufacturers hiring these students as plant engineers.

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Update: I’ve updated the post to reflect the donations to COEP and VIT in 2002, and to Cummins in 2008.

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