Students at Servicepoint
In addition to the traditional summer jobs and internships, Servicepoint offers the opportunity for students in different study fields to do their student projects and theses that serve both the company and the students in their career. Students, Jasmin Ahonen and Mikko Nygård, from the University of Eastern Finland School of Computing, executed a project in collaboration with Servicepoint during the spring and summer periods. Iiro Jantunen acted as Servicepoint’s representative and project supervisor.
The idea for the collaboration was a sum of many events. Olli Kemppinen, a sales manager for automation solutions and robots at Servicepoint, had seen applications, where the collaborative aspects of Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) autonomous transport robot and Universal Robots cobot had been showcased. The idea was to try out a similar implementation at Servicepoint to explore the potential of both robots and to get an idea of what the robots were capable of. Servicepoint saw this as an opportunity for programmers and students interested in robotics to develop their own know-how and skills.
”Originally, I came to a job interview and along the way discussion proceeded to projects done in school and eventually to a group project that was about the begin at the university”, tells Ahonen of the beginning process of the project. “It was sort of a coincidence that we had discussed the upcoming project at the university during that same week, and during the job interview the possibility of us doing the project for Servicepoint was brought up.” Usually, students will make a two- person-project related to their studies in the second year according to the instructions and subject provided by the university, but project work outside the school is also possible. “Timewise the need for the project from Servicepoint and from the university matched well and we had an opportunity to familiarize ourselves with different robot applications”, Nygård continues.
Studying at the School of Computing has not prevented the students from familiarizing themselves with robotics. “It was a big leap from the classroom to the industrial world. This became clear very quickly when we started the project.” Before the start of the project, both students were given an opportunity to participate in a training event provided by Mobile Industrial Robots. There they got acquainted with the robot´s characteristics. “During the first project weeks following the training, we both came to understand what the MiR and the UR were capable of and we were able to design the project so that it would benefit both sides”, Ahonen and Nygård revise the projects first steps.
Not just programming
During the project, both students got acquainted with their new operating environment. “The idea was to combine the UR cobots usability in moving goods to the autonomous movement offered by the MiR and transfer goods from place to place. The idea of the program that we created is quite simple. The program starts by checking with the user for a need to retrieve a package. If the need arises, the written program sends MiR from its charging station to point A. The UR cobot collects the package with the help of the chosen gripper and moves it to the platform in the front of the cobot. Thereafter, the MiR runs along the route it has determined to the point B, where the UR cobot picks the package and sets it down to the desired spot. This action can be repeated indefinitely”, Ahonen and Nygård explain.
The Universal Robots cooperative robot has been programmed with certain waypoints to help the robot know at which point it should, for example, move the gripper or turn itself around a certain axis. “At this point, the program is very simple, but it can be developed in the future, for example, so that the robot picks up five packages at a time and carries them to more than one point.”
The project had its own challenges but, for example, the UR cobots comprehensive manual and quick technical support helped the students overcome the problems that arose along the way. In addition, the employees at Servicepoint helped in difficult. “As a whole, the project followed a fairly normal project line and was fun to implement, especially through successes”, Nygård sums at the end.
An opportunity to increase knowledge and work at Servicepoint
After the project, Ahonen has continued as a robotics trainee at Servicepoint. She has specialized in Universal Robots and has been training Servicepoint’s clients to work with UR cobots and MiR robots. “I thought that robotics is so-called low-level work, but in fact really consists of far developed systems which were surprisingly easy to use. The controllability of the MiR with a mobile phone, for example, was a positive surprise.”
Servicepoint wishes to give students studying in different fields an opportunity to complete projects, courses or theses related to their studies. Ahonen and Nygård advise all students interested in collaboration with Servicepoint to approach the company boldly and present their own ideas and to ask the company directly about potential development targets. The company’s staff has extensive experience and mutual ideas can bring new perspectives to a project or a thesis.
CTO, Chief Technology Officer
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