Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu (ROMANIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN18 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 6335-6340
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1505
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
Lately, a series of student competitions were organized both at national and international level. Most of them are dedicated for students from technical specializations and include both theoretical and practical tests. These competitions enjoy a real success among students, but they also raise some issues. First, the training of the student teams must be done during their free time, which, given that many of them practice internships in companies, is very limited. Secondly, tutors who come from among teachers, conducts this work on a voluntary basis, since these activities are considered extracurricular. Another issue is that these competitions usually require knowledge gained during the last semesters of study, which most of the students willing to participate have not yet acquired.

This work will present how these issues are addressed at Lucian Blaga" University of Sibiu, Romania, by the students and tutors from the team which participate at the National Contest of Mechatronic Systems. This competition is being held in Romania since 2002 and teams from all the universities in the country that organize university study programmes of Mechatronics participate. Teams consist of two persons (and a reserve), which must necessarily come from students of Mechatronics study program, either at Bachelor or Master level.
The first test of the contest requires the assembly of a modular electro-pneumatic actuation system (consisting of several pneumatic and electric motors, and several sensors), and the second one requires the programming of a cycle of movements for the system using a programmable logic controller (PLC). All these tasks must be accomplished within a limited time.

These tests require an extensive set of knowledge, including pneumatic and electric actuation systems, sensors and PLC programming. Typically, extended teams are composed of students in the fourth semester who have not yet completed the courses that give them the necessary knowledge. Thus, their training consists of a series of short training sessions, to provide them in a compressed and synthesized form of the minimal knowledge required.

Participating in this contest increased the students' interest in the aspects of the drive systems and PLC programming. Students participating in the contest have greatly improved their skills and abilities, and subsequently have achieved good results at specialist courses on these themes.
High-school education, mechatronics study program, extracurricular activities.