Faculty of Engineering success at the control engineering programming competition

A team of students from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Debrecen was among the first three at the 29th National István Ajtonyi Control Engineering Programming Competition. There were teams from Hungarian, Romanian and Serbian technical institutions of higher education taking part in the competition held in Serbia.

The National Istvan Ajtonyi Control Engineering Programming Competition, also known as the PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) competition, was hosted by Subotica Technical College in Palic, with 25 teams of three participants each from Hungary, Romania and Serbia. According to the rules of the competition, the event was open to full-time undergraduate (BSc) and master's (MSc) students from technical higher education institutions.
The University of Debrecen (UD) was represented by four teams at the event. The team called DEmentor from the Faculty of Engineering (MK), consisting of Péter Dávid Nusser, Árpád Kis Károly and Tamás Horváth, came 3rd with Beckhoff PLC, while DE-BUG, consisting of Csaba Muszka, Ákos Botond Papp and Zoltán Vona, using Siemens PLC, finished 15th.

A team named DEcoders from UD’s Faculty of Science and Technology (TTK), including József Balázs Krokavecz, Tamás Kádár and Dániel Papp, using Eaton, came 20th, while Flipflop, another team from DE TTK, using Rockwell Automation, consisting of Timur Bulatov, Batkhuyag Munkhsoyombo and Francisco Kenny Gamboa, came 21st.

“This is not only a competition, but also a professional forum, where the stakeholders in industrial automation as well as sponsoring companies, academics, researchers and students can all meet. Our objectives comprise raising the level of training in control engineering, including PLC programming, strengthening the links between teachers, students and industrial as well as commercial experts, and promoting the understanding and the use of modern control engineering equipment,” said László Keczán, a departmental engineer and one of the coaches preparing the teams of the Faculty of Engineering of UD.
He added that the teams had to participate in three rounds during the three-day trial. On the first day, they had to solve a theoretical problem series made up of 10 questions in one hour. On the second and third days, the participants were to solve practical problems. On one of these days, the students had to control a real-life technology, while on the other day, they worked on a virtual one, following a predefined set of instructions.

“This means the programming of production lines, conveyor belts and machine controllers, without which the modern world would be practically unimaginable,” said László Keczán. The solutions of the practical tasks were adjudicated by a jury consisting of teachers from the participating institutions.

“Once again, this year's competition proved that the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Debrecen has quite a few talented students interested in the exciting and fast-developing world of automation. The faculty is also involved in high-quality work in the field of control engineering, where the transfer of knowledge is sufficiently practical and innovative. Competitors from our faculties have shown that they can work well together and can also handle unexpected situations quite well, which is an essential requirement in this profession,” said Kornél Katona, the departmental engineer who coached the other team from MK, UD.
He also explained that, during the two-month preparation phase, the teams had been also assisted by teaching assistant Róbert Mikuska, who helped the contestants solve the competition tasks from previous years and other tasks invented by the instructors, while they prepared their small PLC stations to be used in the competition.

The top three teams in the competition received valuable prizes and were also invited to a three-day TwinCat training course offered at the company called Beckhoff in Germany, where the winners would be able to further increase their knowledge of PLC programming.

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