Final conference of the BANOROB project at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering

GeneralUniversity of Banja Luka

The final workshop within the international BANOROB project in the field of robotic technology (Bosnian-Norwegian research based innovation for development of new, environmental friendly, competitive robot technology for selected target groups) was held at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Banja Luka on 20 November 2014.

The project, financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway, has been implemented at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering since January 2012, in partnership with the University College of Narvik, Norway, University for Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, the PPM AS company from Norway, Innovation Centre of Banja Luka (ICBL), with several companies from the Republic of Srpska involved as well.

Declaring the workshop open, Prof. Dr Valerija Šaula, Vice-Rector for International Cooperation of the University of Banja Luka, expressed gratitude to the Norwegian partners for having recognized the University of Banja Luka and its Faculty of Mechanical Engineering as a credible partner, and gave all support in implementing the project activities to the management, staff and students of the University, giving them the opportunity to prove that they are capable of fulfilling the required tasks and show all their professional qualities.

The Vice-Rector emphasized that involvement in this project was a great honor but also a challenge for the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, whose professors, assistants and students proved to be capable of responding to these challenges. She especially commended students who got the opportunity to spend some time at Norwegian universities and prove themselves, through dealing with concrete tasks, to be the best ambassadors of the University of Banja Luka.

The final workshop in Banja Luka was also the opportunity to sum up the results achieved during implementation of numerous activities in the BANOROB project for the past three years and also to remind of objectives of the project which was started with the purpose to developing high quality technological curriculum in the area of modern robotics and production e at the University of Banja Luka, as well as by educating skilled engineers in production engineering, with special focus on robotics and automation contribute to industrial development in the region of Western Balkans.

As mentioned in some of the introductory presentations, coordinators of the project Prof. Dr Bjørn Solvang from the Narvik University College and Prof. Dr Simo Jokanović, Vice-Rector of the University of Banja Luka, all envisaged tasks of the projects were fulfilled, including the exchange of students from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Norwegian universities, establishing the cooperation with business environment and creation of the first remotely controlled virtual laboratory at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.

Through BANOROB project the harmonization of the curriculum of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering with those of the Norwegian partner universities has been achieved, establishing that way a modern and attractive study program. In addition, a completely new subject titled Numerical Machines Programming has been developed and introduced at all three universities, with the aim of producing a common textbook.

Having in mind that one of the aspects of the BANOROB project concerned the exchange of students of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Banja Luka and Norwegian partners, the final workshop was the opportunity for the students to present their experience (those who were spending one semester at Norwegian universities but also those who are currently there, working on the specific tasks related to their projects, who participated in the workshop via Skype).

Spending time studying at partner universities in Norway these students had unique opportunity to work on their project tasks which were previously defined in cooperation with their professors. In successful resolution of the project tasks the students created an excellent starting point for finishing their master thesis.

Participating students emphasized that the project helped them not only to advance their knowledge and professional skills, but also to get to know the Norwegian culture and enjoy great hospitality of their hosts.

During the final workshop, the operation of the earlier established VALIP laboratory (Virtual Laboratory for Intelligent Remote-Controlled Systems) was demonstrated, as well as the operation of three virtual laboratories set at the three universities participating in the project, remotely controlled from one place. During the demonstration of the laboratory, Vice-Rector Jokanović and the Director of the PPM AS company Mr. Trygve Thomessen, showed how, thanks to the modern technology and industrial robot, one can control the mechanical part manipulation from different remote university.

Professors from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Banja Luka Vid Jovišević and Mihajlo Stojičić and professor Knut Sorby from the University of Science and Technology from Trondheim, explained the innovations made in the curriculum of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and its harmonization with those at two partner universities from Norway. Representatives of different companies in the Republic of Srpska and the Innovation Centre Banja Luka, which served as a connection between academic community and business environment, presented their experience gained through BANOROB project and presented the achieved results.