ITMO’s Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Master’s program got a new corporate partner, the Tauras-Fenix company – one of Russia’s leading manufacturers of equipment for food production facilities. The agreement was made as part of the Engineering of Intelligent Systems specialization and is designed to last two years.
“Our students have various professional demands and understanding of their future paths. In order to pursue the personality-centered approach, we aim to solve the task of expansion and diversification of our partner network. We also want to show our students that in the “classical” production fields that aren’t generally associated with hi-tech, there are lots of nonstandard R&D tasks and a great potential for digitalization, as well as a demand for highly qualified engineering personnel,” comments Sergei Kolyubin, the specialization’s head. “One can’t design a machine that properly packs Nutella in a jar without sound engineering solutions and a creative approach. In order to make it clear, let me give you some figures. About a hundred engineers work for the Tauras-Fenix company, and their patent portfolio includes over 90 inventions, models and design solutions. The company works according to international standards in the conditions of global competition, which calls for continuous improvement of their technologies and products. This, and their general outlook is why we got interested in collaborating with it.”
New courses, internships, and employment prospects
Staff of ITMO’s new industrial partner will take active participation in the educational process. The company will offer its experience and infrastructure for two educational courses: Smart Materials in Mechatronics and Biomechatronic Systems Development. At least four Tauras-Fenix employees will work directly with the students.
The students will also get the chance to better acquaint themselves with the plant’s equipment, capabilities and products as part of internships. The Master’s students who will prove themselves will get a chance to get employed.
“Our partner is ready to offer internships to 15 students on an annual basis, no less than 20% of which can get employed at the company, i.e. a plant with modern equipment where they can track the path from a design and materials to a high-tech machine fixed with sensors and controllers,” adds Sergei Kolyubin.
Research, new ideas and engineering projects
What’s more, students will be able to write their theses on topics proposed by the company.
“We aim to give students real engineering tasks to solve as part of their programs, and thus make our products even more innovative and relevant,” explains Svetlana Danilina, CEO of the Tauras-Fenix plant.
The main focus will be on such fields as new materials, design tools of mechatronic systems, programming of industrial robots, and smart service with the use of remote access and AR and VR tools.
“Today, automation of all packaging processes plays a major role in our field. For the past several years, Tauras-Fenix has been actively developing such complex machinery. For this purpose, we look for new ideas and solutions in such fields as robotics, artificial intelligence, and IT,” notes Svetlana Danilina.
The Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Master’s program is one of the country’s biggest programs in the Mechatronics and Robotics subject area. In 2021, it offers 97 tuition-free positions. Those considering to join it can participate in its online Open Day (delivered in Russian) which starts at noon on April 24.
For the past two years, Sberbank Robotics Laboratory has been the program’s partner. Many of ITMO’s Master’s students work on joint projects that have to do with the development of machine learning algorithms for computer vision, mapping, navigation, planning and movement control of autonomous mobile and service robots.
The Tauras-Fenix company has a head office and production facilities in St.Petersburg and is the city’s strategic investment partner. The machines it produces are used in food production facilities in Finland, Greece, Estonia, Turkey, Norway, Germany, the USA and Morocco. The company has offices and maintenance centers in most major cities of Russia, as well as in Kazakhstan, Italy, the Czech Republic, the United Arab Emirates and Ukraine.
Since 2016, ITMO and Tauras-Fenix have organized the “Mechatronics and Robotics Forward!” contest. For the past two years, the company has also been a partner of the Robotics category of the “I am a professional” competition organized by ITMO University.