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IEEE NTech 2018 supported by ifm ecolink Sp. z o.o

Students, doctoral candidates and graduates from different Polish universities visited Germany from 26 to 30 November 2018 to learn about new technologies in research institutions, development centres and different companies.

One of the sponsors and partners of the trip was the company ifm ecolink.

All in all, there were 30 participants. The trip was organised by ifm ecolink, the IEEE Young Professionals - Poland Section and volunteers of the IEEE Opole Student Branch of the Opole University of Technology. With the letter of intent dated 23 October 2017, ifm ecolink Sp. z o.o. became a partner and sponsor of the international IEEE NTech 2018 project.

Different IEEE members were invited to participate in the project: students and young professionals from the fields of electrical engineering, automation and robotics, mechatronics, computer sciences and telecommunications. The main focus of the project was on "Industry 4.0" and its expansion by means of innovations regarding production (prototype), energy, aerospace, telecommunications and industrial automation.

The event offered an extensive programme. The trip started on 26 November with a visit of the Infineon Technologies Dresden GmbH plant, where the participants discovered the company's product portfolio, were introduced to the production process of semiconductor structures on 200 mm and 300 mm silicon wafers and participated in a demonstration of MEMS prototypes.

On 27 November, the group arrived in Nuremberg to participate in the SPS IPC Drives 2018. Here, the participants visited ifm's fair stand, discovered the wide range of ifm products and learned how IO-Link technology supports the Industry 4.0 revolution. Besides, the participants got to take look at the products developed by ifm ecolink's research and development department and manufactured in Opole.

On the next day, 28 November, they went to visit the research and business location of GE Additive Germany GmbH in Garching, where they were familiarised with 3D printing methods using metal powders (titanium or platinum) and learned in what industries printed parts can be used. In the afternoon, the group followed an invitation to Intel Deutschland GmbH in Neubiberg, where solutions for 5G technology are being developed. The participants listened to a very interesting lecture and visited a research laboratory.

The fourth day of travel, 29 November, was dedicated to modern energy and aerospace technologies. First, the group went to visit the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics to find out about nuclear fusion and learn how a tokamak (ASDEX Upgrade reactor) works. Afterwards, the participants visited the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen. At the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, the group visited research laboratories in which humanoid robots are built. In the Flight Control Center, the participants learned how the COLUMBUS module of the International Space Station ISS is monitored.

On 30 November, the group arrived in the Lake Constance region to learn about industrial automation technologies. At ifm ecomatic gmbh in Kressbronn, the participants were shown the manufacturing process of controls for mobile machines and given a tour of the test laboratories and R&D offices. At the branch office of ifm electronic gmbh in the neighbouring town of Tettnang, the participants learned about the company's history and mission and the manufacturing process of industrial sensors and had the opportunity to get a close-up look at innovative assembly lines, including PCB production lines. Besides, the group was invited to an interesting lecture about the development of new products and project management in the context of the ifmnovation strategy. After lunch, the participants took leave of the company and went to visit the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen to learn about the town's tradition of airship building.

The management of the IEEE Young Professionals - Poland Section and the IEEE Opole Student Branch thanks the ifm group of companies for the confidence and the successful cooperation with the IEEE NTech 2018 project, 17 of whose participants were from the Opole University of Technology.