Automation in the agri-food sector focuses the Control Engineering Symposium at the UAL

He Automation, Robotics and Mechatronics Group of the Department of Informatics of the Higher School of Engineering of the UAL is celebrating these days XVI Control Engineering Symposium of the Spanish Committee for Automationa meeting that has the presence of some of the most prestigious engineers in the world and that has focused on the application of automation in the agri-food sector.

Its manager, José Luis Guzmán, professor of Systems Engineering and Automation at the UAL, has been very satisfied for two reasons: “very happy with the acceptance it is having, since this meeting usually has an attendance of 30 people and is it has reached 50, and due to its development, because the content is technical, but informal and close at the same time, to break the distance between students and high-level professors”.

In this sense, and with the more than relevant participation of the Swedes of the Lund University, Karl Johan Astrom. Emeritus Professor of the Department of Automatic Control, and Tore Hägglund Professor of the same department, “the two leading specialists in the world in this field”, has devised a ‘Coffee with experts’, “precisely so that there is no fear of being on a podium and asking questions with everyone looking at you, but rather a relaxed meeting raising questions in a natural way”. It has been innovative in the format of the Symposium, which other years has lasted a day and a half, “deciding to do it here for three days in order to focus the technical sessions in the mornings and have the afternoons precisely for that treatment”. It has been a luxury for those registered to have “that closeness” of the two Swedish eminences in a transversal subject that can be applied to any industrial field.

Delighted with his presence in Almería, Tore Hägglund has repeated for the eighth time at the UAL: “I have a good collaboration with the Automatic, Robotics and Mechatronics Groupboth in relation to publications and the relationship that this group has established with the nearby industry, and I have been very interested in knowing the SAVANA project with the photobioreactors, the Solar Platform, the greenhouses…; that is why I did not hesitate to accept the invitation to come to this Symposium as soon as it arrived”. As for Karl Johan Aström, who at 84 years old continues with his work, has praised the strength of the University of Almería: “I like its dynamism, full of young people and with great experimental facilities, and I loved the meeting that it has been considered as an interaction of the young doctoral students with us seniors, since there has been a lot of exchange in this way”.

Aström also found it very good “the relationship between the universities that are in the Symposium, with people from various parts of Spain such as Seville, Valencia, Catalonia, Murcia…; I am surprised by the way in which the automatic control community is organized in this country, which meets every year and is divided into groups specialized in each subject, while in Sweden the meetings are every two years and there is less organization”. Thus, “a tremendous month” is completed, in the words of José Luis Guzmán, for this research group, “concentrated three first-order events, but above all the reason to be satisfied is the acceptance in all three, since it is complicated attract high-level people, because they are very busy, but it has been achieved”. Equally satisfied was the director of the group, Manuel Berenguel, who opened the symposium together with Francisco Gabriel Acién.

The program has included presentations by Joseba Quevedo, professor at the Polytechnic University of CataloniaCristóbal Férriz, director of CASI operationsand Pablo Cano, from Department of Electronic and Automatic Engineering of the University of Jaén. The theme of the symposium has been ‘Control Engineering and New Technologies in the Agri-food sector’. A transversal discipline that can be applied to any industrial field, its contribution to the agri-food sector is essential. Some examples are of great interest to the agricultural sector of Almería; ‘Automation and robotization’, ‘Sensors and artificial vision’, ‘Modeling and simulation’, the aforementioned ‘Internet of Foods’, ‘Modeling and climate control of greenhouses’, ‘Optimization of microalgae biomass production in industrial photobioreactors’, or ‘Energy management’.

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