New domains and industries
Previous years we have had one theme and multiple groups, this year we have only two groups, but also two separate cases with completely different topics. In 2022 the theme was vertical farming where the students explored how to transport, analyze and pick strawberries in a vertical farm. This year, our groups have been working on both vertical farming and predictive maintenance.
“The main purpose of the summer internship is to explore and experiment within new domains and industries. This year, we had two groups, one group focused on vertical farming to optimize plant growth, and the second group focused on predictive maintenance and identifying robot errors before it stops”, Sutharshan Nadarajah, VP Research & Development at Element Logic, explains.
In 2022 the case was broad and touched upon three focus areas: transportation, data analyze and picking of strawberries in a vertical farm using warehouse automation mindset and technology. This year is a continuation of analyze with focus on health and quality assessment of salads. The goal was to create a plant analysis system to help farmers prioritize their resources and efforts more effectively by automatically monitoring, assessing, and documenting plant health. This data can be used to help farmers determine when to harvest, water and detect illnesses.
The students employed a variety of tools to develop a prototype that utilized machine learning and various indices such as NDVI and CI. Using two cameras, this prototype identified salads and assessed their health. Based on this evaluation, the plant received a health score between 0 and 100, presented in a user-friendly interface.
The second group had a completely different task at hand, more directly related to Element Logics current daily business: reducing downtime on AutoStore and essentially trying to predict when an AutoStore robot will malfunction before it happens. This is valuable because a robot that stops running will stop the whole operation of AutoStore, and a service technician will have to enter the grid manually and collect it before getting the system back up and running. If we can predict when a robot will malfunction, we can do service on it before it stops and therefore avoid a complete shutdown of the system.
The students tackled the challenge by identifying the primary reasons for downtime through discussions with Element Logic’s customers and service technicians. With this knowledge, they zeroed in on a particular cause and equipped robots with sensors to gather relevant data. The students utilized Element Logic’s test center to conduct experiments, simulating errors and gathering data. Throughout their internship, they not only tested their hypotheses and simulated errors but also efficiently detected these issues using the sensors. Furthermore, they analyzed the collected data and presented it visually on a dashboard. With this research Element Logic can look further into predictive maintenance as an offering.
“We got to explore so many topics and use things we have learned in university and actually solve a real problem in the real world, and it was really exiting to actually get to do all this!” says Hanne Willa, one of the interns working on predictive maintenance.
"We got to explore so many topics and use things we have learned in university and actually solve a real problem in the real world, and it was really exiting to actually get to do all this!"
Both groups exceeded the expectations of Element Logic’s project owners and managed to successfully solve the challenges they were presented with. By the end of the internship, the students presented their findings, demonstrated their prototype, and offered insights on how to potentially commercialize the product. The subsequent phase involves assessing the work and exploring the business prospects it presents for Element Logic. The internships and workshops orchestrated by Element Logic in collaboration with NTNU serve as valuable research platforms for both the company and the students.
The importance of the internship
Element Logic hosts the summer internship every year and though it is supposed to be a creative and fun experience for the students, it is much more than that. It also offers students unique learning opportunities in advanced tech while injecting fresh, innovative perspectives into the company. The interns challenge established thinking, provide new solutions, and may potentially contribute to the company’s future growth. This infusion of diverse ideas can help keep Element Logic at the forefront of its industry.
“The internship program has really been an immense value to us. I think it is amazing to see these young people coming in with so much ambition and drive to really deliver value and they help us to see our problems from a very different perspective.” says Christian Rognes, Group Chief Product Officer at Element Logic
"The internship program has really been an immense value to us. I think it is amazing to see these young people coming in with so much ambition and drive to really deliver value and they help us to see our problems from a very different perspective."
The internship program has been a contributor to the company culture nurturing Element Logic’s business with new ideas and solutions from new-thinking and talented minds. We take pride in our passionate nature and the internship aligns with these values.
“Summer interns are a vital contribution to the culture at Element Logic. Bright, capable students show us what they can do, and they have impressed us time and time again. For our ongoing development, it’s important to recruit employees with diverse backgrounds and varying levels of prior experience and Element Logic gets to connect to educational institutions through this program. With today’s competition for intelligent minds, summer interns are a crucial element in this race!” Group CEO, Dag-Adler Blakseth says enthusiastically.