At Aalto University’s Industrial Internet Campus (AIIC), in Espoo, Finland, a Konecranes smart overhead crane facilitates education and research on strategic technologies such as digital twins, augmented reality and 5G connectivity.
Following Konecranes and Aalto University’s agreement to cooperate in education and research on the industrial internet in late 2016, Konecranes installed a CXT NEO-based overhead crane at the campus. Equipped with TRUCONNECT® Remote Monitoring technology, the crane was meant to provide students and researchers with access to the latest technology in real world industrial solutions.
Since its inauguration in January 2017, the smart crane, nicknamed “Ilmatar,” has seen vigorous use, particularly in a number of doctoral and masters research projects. The students named the crane after the female air spirit in Finland’s national epic, the Kalevala.
“The crane has been used mainly by AIIC, but because implementing some of the ideas requires a great deal of ICT skill, many other departments have also been involved and brought their competencies,” says Professor Kari Tammi. Aside from being responsible for Mechatronic Machine Design and Vehicle Mechatronics courses in Aalto University’s Master of Science (MSc) program, he also supervises several doctoral and MSc theses.
A collaborative environment
Tammi explains that the overlap between some of the areas of study has meant that there is room for collaboration between the researchers. Topics of the projects involving the crane have included the attachment of a robotic arm for making inspections, high-accuracy positioning, augmented reality integration to control some of the smart crane’s features, as well as studies related to component wear and condition prediction.
“Konecranes has been a very active participant. Together we have had steering groups for the industrial internet campus, and on a project called Digital Twin, under which we have several task forces. We also have student projects ongoing with Konecranes, and they participate in teaching,” Tammi explains.
Konecranes has recruited some students participating in study projects related to Ilmatar as summer workers.
“Thanks to Ilmatar we have a touchpoint to the students – the future talents who will be developing innovative technologies for industry,” says Petri Asikainen Director, Core Technology at Konecranes.
“With their pilot 5G GSM network and world-class concentration of machine learning competencies, AIIC is involved in leading-edge research in a number of areas which show great promise for enabling our business and the businesses of our customers,” Asikainen states.
The Industrial Internet is a key element of the business strategy of Konecranes.
Image source: Aalto University