These outlines are intended as an indication of the type of opportunities available at Eurotherm.

They give a flavour of the technologies we are using, or thinking of using, and some of the problems we are trying to solve.

See our main Projects page for more information.

IP Security Research

Project S14 

Plant communications is nowadays based largely on IP networks, although as a conservative & safety conscious industry, these IP networks are almost exclusively private.

Our service personnel are sometimes asked to visit plant to diagnose problems. The visit can entail a time consuming journey only to discover a very simple problem which is diagnosed in minutes through the access available through the normal plant IP network. The ability to access this remotely would offer benefits to both Eurotherm and the customer alike.

However, opening up an IP network that potentially contains both safety critical and commercially sensitive data is normally considered too dangerous. This project would be to investigate ways of opening up these networks to Eurotherm personnel, without risking opening them up to any unwanted third parties. Ideally the result would be an implementation to provide a proof of concept.

Embedded Linux

Project S17

Linux is claimed to be a highly secure and robust operating system. Eurotherm products typically require real-time operation and various flavours of Linux have emerged with this capability. This project would involve investigation into the potential to employ real-time Linux as an alternative embedded operating system.

Extending Eclipse for Device Configuration

Project S19

This project will involve extending the Eclipse open source framework. The aim is to investigate the potential to use Eclipse in conjunction with existing process automation applications. In part, this investigation will involve researching the feasibility of integrating such applications through the Eclipse plug-in architecture.

Web-based Wizards using Ajax

Project S20

The aim of this project is development of Wizard-style HMIs within the context of a web page.

The student will use Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) to provide a rich user experience, and web services will give access to back-end data.

Wireless Diagnostics & Commissioning Within Plant

Project S22

The normal day-to-day supervision of a plant is performed from the control room via supervisory computer systems which have hard-wired communications links to the physical instrumentation. The physical instrumentation tends to be located at various locations – possibly quite remote from the control room. This creates a conflict brought about by the distance between the two interfaces.

There is recognition that a number of wireless technologies now exist which it may be possible to utilise to provide a limited subset of control room facilities via a portable interface. This project would involve an investigation into the mechanisms & technologies that could be employed to achieve this.

Any solution would have to encompass the requirements of security & safety.

Providing Open Access to Plant Level Process Data

Project S23

There is a multitude of plant level data produced in association with production processes. Much of this data is captured and contained within process automation devices and applications. There is a need to integrate this information into higher level systems to make this data accessible across the business.

This project would involve an investigation into the developing mechanisms and technologies that could be used to interface to databases and other information held at the plant level

Using Vision Systems to Improve Process Control

Project S24

Many process control systems employ indirect measurements to determine or monitor status and progress of a process. There is the potential to use vision systems to provide more direct thermal measurements or even analyse the chemistry of the components involved. This approach could provide process improvements such as better quality, productivity and resulting energy savings.

This project is about providing a proof of concept deployed onto a real world process to move these ideas forward.