We left for Dublin by bus at 5:45 on Sunday morning to get our plane at 11:30 in Dublin. We finally landed at Poznan airport where Anya and her husband collected us and brought us to Ostrow Wielkopolski. After a 2-hour drive, we arrived at the hotel. Once we had put our bags into the rooms, we went for a look around the town. Next, we found a small restaurant where we stayed for the rest of the day. We got a taxi home after the meal and went to sleep.
The following morning, we were up early for our first day at Zap Robotyka. Anna came to walk us to the building. We met the employees of Zap outside where they brought us to a big conference room. Here we met everyone we would be working with for the next 3 weeks. They briefed us on safety, rules, and everything that we will be doing during our time at Zap. When we were finished at Zap, we went to check out Nowy Staw, a big lake with a beach on it. Here we soaked up the sun and went for a swim. On the way back from the lake we stumbled upon a trampoline park and couldn’t resist entering. We had 2 hours of great fun there until walking back into town to meet Mark and grab some food.
The next morning, I woke up extra early along with Matthew so we could go to the nearby gym before work. We found a great gym where we bought a membership for our 3 week stay. Natalie met us at the gate of Zap and brought us inside. For the entire morning she showed us all around Zap Robotyka, explaining in detail what her job is and what each department does. We went into the offices and saw the constructors at work, the marketers working, in a big warehouse we saw the workers lathing, welding, assembling parts, and creating electronics. It was all very cool to see these things being made. After the tour she brought us to the canteen where we had all sorts of Polish food like sausages, pierogi, and other things that I do not know the name of. When we finished lunch, we went down to the lab to meet Mateusz who is an expert on robot programming. He showed us the newest type of robot available which comes with many advantages over the older one. It has sensors which will make it stop if it comes into contact with anything, it can be moved manually into any position while being able to adjust the weight of the arm, and it is programmed by a normal tablet with an easier interface than its previous. He let us move the robot by hand and change the weight of it. We then we did some programming with it from the tablet to make the robot create a square. It was amazing to see how they worked for the first time.
After work we decided to rent bikes to explore more of the city. After some time, we all downloaded the app and got it working and hopped onto the bikes. We then rode back to the hotel to get changed and drop off our bags and then headed off to a shopping centre called Galeria Ostrovia. Here we got some food, and I bought a shirt. 1 or 2 hours past and we all cycled off to explore more of the city. We visited Co-cathedral church, Park Miejski, and Stadion Miejski. We were all hungry so went to meet Mark in the square for some food before heading home to get some rest for work the next day.
The CEO of Zap Robotyka gave us a presentation on the history of zap and what they do. When he was finished and questions were out of the way, Natalie gave us another presentation and showed lots of videos on different things that industrial robots can do. After the presentation, we met Mateusz again to learn more about robots. We began working on the older one model rather than the new one. It is programmed using a teach pendent which is basically its controller. He demonstrated how to use it and got us all practicing making squares. It was great to have a go as my understanding of these robots which I knew nothing about before, began to grow. We then went back to the hotel where Anna picked us up and drove us to Palac Mysliwski. This is beautiful old wooden house which a Karl Friedrich Schinkel, a famous pianist, would play to the prince. Anna dropped us back to the town square where we got some food from the Irish pub. The next thing we did was rent the bikes to go and visit some beautiful murals, parks, and cathedrals. Once we put the bikes back, we went to meet mark for some more food.
Today we met Natalie and she showed us how to make some simple objects on solid works. Next, we met Mateusz in the lab. We moved on from squares and all got a go at mapping out a circle. After work we cycled to the water park, but unfortunately it was closed and wasn’t opening again until June, so we went to the beach instead. We stayed at the beach for quite a while.
In the morning Natalie showed us more on solid works. She picked out a metal pipe with holes in it which she got us to make on solid works. We took turns one by one with her assistance. We then met Mateusz downstairs and did more work on the robot. He had a special pattern with circles, curves, zig zags, and straight lines which we had to map out with the robot. After work we had to prepare to go to Wroclaw. We got the train from the station. When we arrived, we found the hostel and settled in before going out to find some food.
Saturday & Sunday
In Wroclaw we visited all the main tourist attractions. We went to the Zoo, Hydropolis museum, and an art museum. The next day we hired the scooters for the day and went to buy the train tickets home before going to the waterpark.
Overview of the week
My first week in Poland was brilliant. I learned loads about robots and solid works. I have developed many of my skills such as communication skills as I gradually learn more Polish words and my team working skills have improved. By hiring the bikes, it let us explore the entire town and try out as many activities as possible. In the beginning the bikes were a challenge to figure out, but once we got them, they were very useful. Overall, I had a great first week full of activities and exploring.
Today we have moved from Zap Robotyka to Zap Cooperation. We met Zibi and he took us inside to a big room where we dropped our bags. Next, we went into a room which held lots of different types of smart boxes. Smart boxes are basically big vending machines which they sell at Zap. After he explained about the smart boxes we went back into the main room and connected our laptops to the wifi. From there we had to download Promox VE. We downloaded windows 10 and created a virtual device using Promox.
We met Zibi outside again and he brought us into our base room. We went further with using Promox and connected to our virtual device. We learned about VirtualBox which is a program which helps manage multiple virtual machines from within the host operating system. We ran in to some problems with the server we were connecting too so we connected to Zaps main server which unfortunately also had a few problems. Eventually we got going and connected our laptops to windows 10 which we had downloaded onto our virtual device. After work we rented bikes and headed to the shopping centre.
Today we met Zibi inside the building. There was another issue with connecting to the server which got sorted eventually. Once it was fixed, we downloaded XAMPP and WordPress onto our virtual machines. XAMPP is used to help a server to test websites before being released to the main server and WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that allows the user to host and build websites. We then had to put all the files from word press into a folder in XAMPP. He then demonstrated a simple website he made with just a heading and a body using html. Time was up so we walked home. Once home we spent hours trying to book a train, accommodation, and an Auschwitz tour.
We met Zibi in the morning and continued with the virtual machine. On XAMPP we had to create a database. We then made an account on WordPress. I scrolled through the different templates WordPress has and chose one to edit. Once work finished we went back to the hotel and I booked the train to Poznan for next weekend. We then walked back into town and met Zibi at the Ostrow museum. It was an interesting place. The guide was nice and helpful. Once home, I cooked some food and then booked accommodation for Poznan.
We met Zibi in the morning. We noticed that our virtual machines were running out of disk space, so we had to increase it. We downloaded MiniTool Partition Wizard to do this. We encountered a lot of problems, so it took a long time until we were able to add the extra disk space. Once we finished work, we went home and got ready for Krakow.
Saturday & Sunday
We woke up early on Saturday morning as we had a tour booked to Auschwitz and the salt mines. Auschwitz was an incredible experience but very sad. The salt mines were some of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Once back we went out to watch the Champions League final. On the Sunday we rented the scooters and explored much of the city. This week we experienced a lot of the culture of Ostrow by going to the local museum. Krakow was an incredible experience which I will remember for the rest of my life.
Overview of the week
We had a quieter week in terms of activities, but it was very interesting. I really enjoyed creating the virtual machine and seeing what you can do with them. Making a virtual machine improved my computer skills massively. We encountered a few issues with it along the way but Zibi was able to help.
This morning we were with a new guide called Peter. The first thing we did was make 3 internet cables. This week we are going to be doing PLC programming. Unfortunately, I have a mac and the program cannot be installed on windows, so I am paired up with Matthew. We used our 3 internet cables that we made to connect the laptop to the PLC. We downloaded Logo Soft Comfort and learnt some of the basics. For example, we learnt how to program switches and buttons to turn on and off the lights on the PLC machine. Once work was finished, we went back to the hotel.
We met Peter inside and got straight to work. Today we were creating a circuit to imitate a washing machine. We programmed the button so that every time it was pressed a different light would come on and on the digital display a timer would start. We required a lot of help from Peter. After work we went back to the hotel. I was tired so I took a nap and didn’t do much else. The lads had gone to the shopping centre and brought back a HDMI lead, so we all watched ‘The Festival’ on the screen in my room.
Today we were going to try display all the buttons and switches onto the digital display. When the button was pressed the digital button should be highlighted. We had a few issues but eventually we got every button to work. After work we went back to the hotel. I went to the shopping centre to try and find some presents, before heading into town for a bite to eat. When I returned to the hotel, Niamh (GTI Teacher) was there. We talked with her for a couple of hours and planned out the rest of our stay in Poland.
Today we are simulating a set of traffic lights. Peter put up a picture of a crossroad onto the board. When one side of the crossroad is on red the other side should be green. It was quite tricky and took a lot of work. By the end of the day, we hadn’t yet completed it so will continue tomorrow. After work Jurand and Peter had organised a trip for us to visit Golichow which was a beautiful castle, lovely walks, and a zoo. After the walk they brought us to get a Polish meal.
Today we continued with the traffic lights. After a long time we finally got them going. We said our goodbyes to everyone at Zap before Ania and her husband picked us up to collect our bags and then head to the train station. She gave us presents of some nice Polish chocolates and honey. Our train was delayed for about an hour but eventually it arrived. Once in Poznan we got taxis to our accommodation and settled in before going back into town to meet Niamh.
Saturday & Sunday
On the Saturday we did a bit of exploring. I also went to a massive shopping centre to get some presents. We then went to a Lego history museum which was very interesting. Next we went around the entire lake in the centre of Poznan which was really nice. On Sunday we were up early to catch our flight. Once landed in Dublin I got a bus to Cork.
Overview of the week
I found the PLC programming very interesting. I learned lots of new computer skills which will be very beneficial to me. My communication skills improved as we started to spend more time with our co-workers. I really enjoyed the day out which Jurand and Peter organised for us. I loved trying the traditional Polish foods. Exploring Poznan was great, unfortunately we did not have that much time there. I was very sad to be leaving Poland.
Student: Levente Kalman
We left Ireland at 11:30 on the Sunday and arrived in Poznan, Poland at about 2pm. We could immediately feel the difference in the air, the weather was a lot better also. We met Ania as we were leaving the airport. She and her husband drove us back to Ostrow Wielkopolski to get to our hotel. We arrived relatively late but still early enough to be able to go around the town and explore a little bit.
On the Monday, we went into work and were introduced to the staff that are going to be taking care of us for the 3 weeks. They were telling us about the things that we will be doing during the course of our stay for the 3 weeks. In the first week we were working with robotics. We were brought around the factory to see what they do and how the robots are tested. We then went into the lab and all of us were programming the robots for the first week. It was very interesting and something I have never seen before. The robots had to be manually programmed with a tablet. In the evenings we met Mark while he was still here, and we went to go get food at the restaurants in the square.
On the weekend we went Wroclaw. We went on a tour around the city learning about the history and what each building was. There were a lot of churches and cathedrals, some even had bullet holes from the second world war. It was very interesting and very beautiful. We also visited the Japanese Garden. In the evenings we went out to the city to experience the nightlife and went to get food in restaurants in the city centre.
On the second week at ZAP, we started working and setting up our own virtual machines. We used these to install programs such as WordPress. This is an online application that can be used to create an elaborate website in any way that you would like. It also offers plugins that can be installed to, for example, allow people to pay with PayPal on the website. We found setting up the virtual device slightly difficult as we were connecting to a different computer over a network and setting it up on those and not our own laptops, we just connected to it from our laptops. I found the week very interesting, and I was always curious about how virtual machines work and how they can be set up as they can be very useful.
Over the weekend we visited Krakow. We arrived late at night on Friday and we had an early morning on Saturday as we went to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau along with the Salt Mines. The entire trip took over 12hours. It was definitely an experience and worth visiting. Auschwitz is a place that if you get the chance, you should definitely visit it, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana. On Sunday we went around the town looking at the scenery, the castles and just walking around the streets and enjoying ourselves.
Overall the second week was very interesting and I think it’s safe to say that we all enjoyed it.
On the third week in Poland we were doing PLC programming. PLC stands for programmable logic controller. In this we used logic gates among other things to program buttons on an external machine. These were all link through network cables which we made on Monday morning. We spent the week doing tasks that got progressively more difficult and complex to work our heads around but it was very interesting and different to all of the other weeks and the type of coding we are used to at school. I personally enjoyed this week the most at is it what appeals to me the most. On Thursday we went on a tour around Ostrow with the people that are taking care of us at ZAP and they invited us to dinner at a polish restaurant to try their foods.
On the Friday after work we book trains to go back to Poznan so we can be at the airport early and also to be able to look around the city a little bit. In Poznan we walked around a bit, enjoyed the town before we fly back to Ireland on the Sunday morning.
Ariel Cassiano Nunes
Our first week at ZAP was more interesting than I could’ve ever imagined. I was fascinated by the size of the company and by how well organized everything is. Monday was induction day. We arrived at the building at 10 o’clock and there the CEO of the company and two other employees greeted us. They took us to a conference room where they told us exactly what we were going to be learning and who would be teaching us. After the meeting, we went to a place called Jump Factory which is an indoor trampoline near the hotel we are staying in. We had loads of fun there and we got very tired, so we had a meal and went back to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep before going to our first day of work.
On our second day we had a tour inside the company, which was given by Natalia who works in the digital marketing section of the business. She showed us the most important parts of the building which consisted of offices and different production floors. We met some of the employees who work in these areas as well. We had lunch at the canteen, and it was very tasty (and unbelievably cheap). After breaktime, we went down to the lab where our instructor introduced us to what they call “Cobots.” These are robots who are capable of “learning” a path and repeating this path countless times. He then showed us the app in which he programs this new type of robots. It is not easy, but it is super beginner-friendly, so we didn’t have much trouble learning how to make simple patterns. He also told us about safety protocols and how these new robots are programmed to make sure they don’t hit humans. After a wonderful day of work, we went to the shopping centre here in Ostrów Wielkopolski where I was fortunate enough to buy a power bank for only 25PLN (approximately €5).
On Wednesday we spent the morning learning more about the company itself. Natalia showed us loads of videos about how they operate and how the robots we were learning about work. Then, the CEO of the company came in and gave us a PowerPoint presentation about the areas that ZAP has influence in and what products they make such as cabinets and washing machines (the metal part). After lunch, we went to the lab to continue working on the robots. This time, we didn’t work with the more modern ones. We used a different model, which is older but more popular. The way to program these robots is a bit different because there was no tablet nor app. Instead, there was a tool with loads of buttons and commands that seemed a bit startling at first. The tool was called “Teach Pendant”. As our instructor explained we began to understand it more. We didn’t go too deep though; we just learned how to do linear movements and then combine these movements to make a square.
After we left ZAP, we went to the house of the famous Frédéric Chopin, we walked around the gardens and inside the house. It was a lovely trip filled with interesting things. On Thursday we learned a little bit about how Natalia uses SolidWorks to create designs for parts, which she then puts on a document that is given to the costumer. In the afternoon we learned how to make circles using the tech pendant to program the robot. It is a more complicated process because we need to set up some extra points so the robot can follow and complete the circle. Later, we went to the beach and had a fun time enjoying the blistering Polish sun. It was a very productive day and as the days go on, we all feel like we have been learning a lot from this company and this lovely country.
On the last day of the week, we spent the morning doing a little bit of SolidWorks, this time Natalia put us to work and asked us to replicate a simple part that she brought to us. In the afternoon we had a brilliant time at the lab. We used all the knowledge that we had gathered throughout the week to create a more complicated pattern. This pattern consisted of circles, lines, right angles, curves, and different angle sizes. It was a very productive day and we learned loads. Overall, we had an incredible week. At work we developed skills that are very useful when it comes to using certain tools and programs. But we also developed social skills that were only possible because we are abroad.
Trying to talk to people in a different language is a struggle but we are overcoming it by learning some sentences in Polish when we ask for food or when greeting people. Later today, we will be getting a train to go Wrocław where we’ll spend the weekend… Today is Sunday 23rd, we just came back to Ostrów Wielkopolski after an amazing weekend in Wrocław. We visited plenty of places such as the zoo, the market, several cathedrals, restaurants, waterpark and much more. But for me, the best part was using the electric scooter to move around this strikingly beautiful town, it was surely a once-in-a-lifetime experience! So, first week done… We learned loads of new things, we enjoyed ourselves, and we loved every minute of it. The next two weeks are going to be even better!
After a wonderful weekend in Wrocław, we were ready for another week of hard work. On Monday we were introduced to the concept of virtual machines. We had to set up a flash drive with an ISO file, this file would then be used to set up the virtual machine in an old computer (the virtual machines would be running from this PC). We used a tool called Proxmox to do that. We then had some technical problems so we just messed around with the program to see what it could do.
On Tuesday we started by turning on the virtual machines. And for our surprise, Windows 10 was running perfectly, there was just one small problem now… It was all in Polish. We spent a good bit of time trying to figure out what was wrong until our instructor found it. We were using the wrong Windows 10 ISO file. Once that was solved, we were good to go, or so we thought… We were only able to run windows for a few minutes because the old PC couldn’t handle all of us. When we switched to the company’s server, it was way too busy. We used the virtual machine for a few minutes and got a taste of what it would be like the following days.
On Wednesday we were finally able to fully set up the virtual machines. We then used Remote Desktop to access the machine in a smoother and more responsive way. Once the machines were set up, we downloaded a software called XAMPP, which is a program used to test websites before launch. After that we downloaded WordPress and explored the different themes and edit options. The weather wasn’t great, so we didn’t really do anything exciting after work.
On Thursday we learned the basics of XAMPP & WordPress, we were given more freedom today to just do something we wanted with these programs. After work, we had a fantastic experience at the Ostrów Wielkopolski Museum. It was an amazing place full of history and interesting facts about this town’s unique past.
On the last day of the week, we just worked on adding more storage to our virtual machines. We used a tool called MiniTool Partition Wizard to do that. Once we were done, we talked with Zibi (our instructor) for a while and that was it. We had a really great week in terms of learning. We learned loads when it comes to virtualization, cloud-based systems, and web development. We also got the chance to learn more about the history of Ostrów Wielkopolski, which was exciting. So far, the work placement has been a superb experience. We are doing lots of interesting stuff at work but also seeing fascinating places over the weekends.
Our last week in Poland was very exciting. We started using a software called ‘LOGO! Soft Comfort’, which “allows the creation of user programs by selecting the respective functions and their connection via drag-and-drop”. It was a very interesting topic. We also learned how to construct an ethernet cable when you only have the plug and the cable. After work we decided to go to the local cinema and watch Top Gun: Maverik. The film was thrilling!
The next day we continued working with ‘LOGO! Soft Comfort’, this time we had to output some information to the screen of the PLC simulator whilst also setting a timer to count down. We spent most of the day trying to figure it out and by the end we kind of did. It was very satisfying to see the timer counting down on the screen. We then grabbed some snacks on our way home and watched a movie in the hotel.
On Wednesday we worked on the same thing. But this time we had to output information to the main digital display. It was not easy and because I didn’t have an ethernet cable port on my laptop, so I did it with my pair as we had all been split into groups of two.
On Thursday we had a new assignment, we needed to set up crossroads traffic lights using PLC programming. It was not simple, and we needed some help from our instructor Peter to do it. After work we met with the company’s CEO, Jurand, and Peter (our instructor). They took us to a beautiful place with loads of gorgeous animals a striking landscape. Later we went to a proper Polish restaurant, and we had some of the best food we’ve had in Poland. It was all paid for, so we had a wonderful time!
On our last day at ZAP, we took a break from all the work. We did something in the morning but that was all. After lunch, Anna, our host, came to the company and that was it… She took us to get our luggage and then go straight to the train station. We spent our last weekend in Poznań. It is a beautiful place filled with history and culture.
This placement was everything I expected it to be and more! I learned a lot of interesting new skills such as PLC programming, virtual machines, and industrial programming. But I also developed new skills when it comes to communication and better expressing myself. It was worth every second. Now, back to Ireland…
Monday - 16/05/2022
First day at ZAP corporation. Meeting with the company's cooperative team, presentation of the members, and presentation of the company in PowerPoint. http://www.zap-kooperacja.com.pl/film-o-firmie/?lang=en We had a presentation of the robots and projects that the company is involved in and its main objectives. We had an Introduction of ZAP - Corporation and their projects
Tuesday - 17/05/2022
Wednesday - 15/05/2022 ZAP Robotyka
Thursday - 19/05/2022 - ZAP Robotyka
Friday - 20/05/2022 - ZAP Robotyka
This first week of the Erasmus program was very interesting, we got to see a bit of programming combined with electronics and hardware, we wrote write programs with this controller and watched the robot performing them in real-time. It was good to get involved with the work environment and communicate with other company members from other departments. Ask their perspective on what they do daily, how they do it, and why they choose that career path or that type of work.
Outside the company, we stayed very active and tried to get the best out of this experience. Anna was very kind to drive us to Frederic Chopin's palace and we spend the day there during the week we rented bicycles and used them to explore places like the city and their most visited places like murals and famous lakes, we would always end up at the town hall, city center where you can find cafes and restaurants around a city museum.
Places like a jump factory with trampolines to have some good fun as a group was also part of the weekly activities. Friday we took the train to Wroclaw the most expected day of the week, we planned to travel and visit a new city in Poland each weekend. In Wroclaw, we explore the maximum we could during the day we visited the main city attractions such as the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and the town square, and places like the zoo, and aquarium. One of the most unique activities to do in this city is called the hunt of the Wroclaw dwarfs, combining a total of more than 400 dwarfs statues, we had to search for them and they usually would be in amazing places or hidden in the funniest places of Wroclaw. An amazing first week!
Beginning of the second week, this week we changed companies from ZAP Robotyka to ZAP corporation.
25/05/22 The following were the main actives we carried out
26/05/22 The following were the main actives we carried out
27/05 The following were the main actives we carried out
Piotr PLC programming. The following were the main actives we carried out
31/05 Piotr PLC programming. The following were the main actives we carried out
01/06 PLC programming. The following were the main actives we carried out
02/06 PLC programming. The following were the main actives we carried out
We found ourselves in often disagreement inside the company and outside the company but as a group was essential to all come to a mutual decision, so we had to work around our personalities and perspectives so we could get an agreement. As a group, we every day would delegate tasks and assure that everybody had them done on time and if they needed help, someone would be available to assist, either at the company for example working on a project or outside the company when we would travel, to do some research on the place we were traveling to or do the reservations.
Time was limited, 21 days and we wanted to make the most out of this experience so was vital to try to plan and organize almost every single day of this trip from the moment we woke up to the time, we would go to sleep.
Overall this experience was:
Enlightening - as it allowed me to have contact with different departments in the technology sector and create an opinion about what I would like more to work with.
Enriching - it added more resources to my knowledge and values to my personality.
Unique - had the opportunity to visit and explore 4 different cities in a country and have some of the most beautiful cultural exchanges I have ever had so far.
Student: Adam Durand
We began our first day at ZAP Corporation in Ostrów Wielkopolski. We were introduced to the CEO of the company and some employees that would later guide us on the work we would be doing. We were told what we would be doing over the three weeks, and how the company operates on a daily basis. It has a long-standing cooperative tradition in the scope of metalworking, CNC machining, surface treatment and complex mechanical and electrical assembly.
Our first day of work was just about getting to know the company and our mentors. For the rest of the first working week, our mentor, Natalia, gave us a tour of the company so we got to see the metalworking first-hand, and we tried at our hand at graphic design. We were also shown how to program the robots that are used in the metalworking by Mateusz, an employee who is the same age as us!
After work, we would go to the beach to take advantage of the amazing weather, an indoor trampoline park, the shopping centre, or just explore the city using rented bikes.
We went to Wrocław at the weekend where we got a bus tour to see what the city had to offer such as the old churches and the Japanese Garden. Then we would experience the nightlife in the centre of the bustling city.
We started the second week full of energy from the exciting weekend. After completing the first week of our work placement, we were looking forward to the next challenge. Our new mentor, Zybszek, had us create a virtual machine on our laptops where we installed programs like XAMPP and WordPress. We took it easy outside of work on our second week, we walked and cycled around to discover more of the city. On Thursday, our mentor graciously brought us to the Museum of the City of Ostrów Wielkopolski where we gained a more in-depth knowledge of the history of Ostrów.
At the weekend, we went to Kraków and visited Auschwitz. It was a harrowing experience but something everyone should see at least once. We then went to the Wieliczka Salt Mine which is also something that everyone should see purely for its beauty. The next day, we rented scooters and went around Kraków taking in all the sights.
We are now in our final week of our placement in Ostrów. This week, our mentor, Peter, has been teaching us how to do PLC programming. I have found all the work we have been doing to be very interesting and I plan to use what I have learned in my academic and professional career.
We are trying to make the most of what little time we have left here. We have been going to our favourite restaurant as much as possible, going to the beach whenever the weather is good, getting last minute presents for our family, and we had a movie night in one of our rooms.
I am looking forward to going to Poznań for the weekend before we head off back to Ireland. I have had an amazing and unforgettable experience here and hope to come back in the near future with the friends I have made in these three weeks.
I would like to thank GTI, Leargas, John McLoughlin and all the other mentors that took part in making all of this happen for giving me this wonderful opportunity. Also, thank you to Anna and everyone at ZAP for your help to get us placements and accommodation. It was a pleasure to meet and work with you all.
This was the day that we left so I got up at 4 o'clock in the morning and I finished packing my case and I made sure I had everything I needed. My parents dropped me up to the Galway bus station and met Mark and the other boys at 5:30. We left for the airport at got their around 9 and we went through security and we waited for the plane to arrive. After a short delay we made it onto the plane at 11:30 and were on it for 2 hours and 40 mins. When we landed, we waited for Ania to pick us up and she drove us to Ostrow. During the drive she told us all about Poland and the company we are going to be working at. The drive back to our hotel was about 2 hours and we were able to look at all the nearby towns and city's on the way. She dropped us at the hotel to drop our bags off and then took us for a trip around the town and showed us the beach and the nearby parks and the town center for something to eat.
The next morning, we all woke up around 8 and got showered and ready for the day at Zap robotyika. We met Mark and walked to Zap, which is about a 10-minute walk from our hotel. It was a beautiful morning, so we made sure to put on sun cream. We met the main CEOs of the company. They gave us an introduction to the company and took us to one of their many conference rooms. During this conference they showed us a video on YouTube of the company and everything that the company has done and accomplished. After the video each of the Ceo's had a talk about what they would be doing with us and explained the objectives we were going to finish at the end of the week. In the evening we hired some bikes and went to the beach for a swim and then went to a trampoline park on the way home, and then meet up with Mark for a chat and some food.
On this day Issac and I wanted to find a nearby gym, so we left the hotel early around 6:45 and we found a nearby gym. We worked out and then met the lads walking to work later on. When we got to Zap, we met with the lead marketing lady Natalie. She gave us a tour through the hole Zap warehouses where they showed us the lead welders who make the stands for the robots and showed us the area where the laths and drills for making custom stands. She then gave us a tour of the inside programmers, and then talked to a beginner programmer Matias, he showed us the 2 main robots that get programmed the most a newer version and the older version.
When we got to Zap, we met one of the Ceo's who gave a presentation on each of the robots that they programmed and on what the robot will build. After the talk we met up with Natalie and she showed us the day-to-day job that she does with people and showed us prototypes of things that she has designed for robots to make. After that we went down to the workshop where Matias works, and she showed us how to programme on the newer model robot that uses a tablet to control it. In this process we all had a turn in programming the robot to move in a square motion. Which is easy enough as it's just a point-to-point motion. After this day we met up with Ania to talk about the day and if we liked the work, after that we took the bikes into the big shopping center in Ostrow and did some shopping and bought some clothes.
When we got to Zap, we were met by Natalie and Matias that took us through the main Zap robotyika warehouse where we watched a functioning robot working which was cleaning and cutting a part to a car engine. The program was set to move the piece from one basket, do the work on it and then move it to another basket. After that we met with Matias again to try and program a circle on the older version of the robot by using a teach pendant remote controller. This was a bit harder but was more fun and it showed proper coding language, but this was fun as it wasn't just point to point but made it, so we had to touch up middle points and copy others. After that we met up with Ania to go look at a famous musician's holiday home in Prezygotic which was amazing, and we had some very nice fancy ice cream.
Mark went with us this morning as it was his last day in Ostrow because he was going home in the evening. We started the day by Natalie showing us how she works with solid works in designing projects, we were then able to have a go at trying to design a simple rectangle item with holes in it for the machines to weld. After that we met up with Matias for our last day programming a machine, we used all the knowledge we know to combine the different points in a circle and a box together that leads to a slightly long program me. After that we went back to the hotel and packed as we were going to Wroclaw for the weekend, so we headed to the train station with Ania.
Overview of Week 1.
The first week was amazing, we met with so many new people and learnt so much about the smart boxes and the robots. Just this first week alone made me want to get into his sort of work instantly. I’ve always liked robotics, but this made me love it more because it’s combining the programming and coding into manual work with movement, this makes it so much better than just sitting down at a desk. Most people around here can speak basic English so you can mostly understand I improved my communication skill and confidence skills by talking to different people we met.
When we got to work, we moved on to Zap Cooperation where we met with one of the CEOs in the conference room. We talked for a bit about what we would be doing for the week and then he showed us around the warehouses where they showed us Smart boxes and what they do. After that he took us into the conference room where we were shown how to download software called Promox VE. This is the base software for creating a virtual device. After work we had a rest day as we were out all weekend exploring, so we went home for a nap and cooked a home meal.
We met the CEO outside, and he brought us back into the conference room. We started on where we left off yesterday by looking at the software we downloaded. We were able to create the virtual device that was able to create the windows 10 on the Zaps main operating system. We ran into a couple problems so we touched up as much as we could and left it for the day.
When we got to Zap, we picked up where we left off and tried to connect to the server from our own laptops. It came to be that the reason our proxmox kept crashing was that there was an issue with the server in the Zap building. So, after this we were able to connect to our virtual machine that is a server deep in Zap that is controlled by windows 10. We downloaded a software called Xampp that is a website tester and we downloaded WordPress to set up a website, which all of this was on our own laptop, but we were controlling from a server in Zap. After work we headed home and started booking the weekend to Krakow, we got all the train and salt mines trip booked, plus a hostel.
At work we got the virtual desktop up and running again and we started. We started running Xampp and WordPress together. We had a look at creating a database for the Xampp app so we can run WordPress off the database. We looked at the start of making a website and the different templates and layouts we could use. After work we met with Zibi the CEO who has been instructing us all week and he showed us where we can get a tour of the museum in Ostrow. The building is in the town center, and it showed us the history of the town.
When we got to work, we met up with Zibi again and we continued work on WordPress. While we were working, we encountered a problem in space for our virtual machines, meaning we couldn’t really download much more onto it, so we downloaded a software called MiniTool that was able to connect to the virtual machine and allow up to make free around 7 gig bytes of space. After that we continued to create stuff on WordPress. After the day was done, we said goodbye to Zibi as it was our last day with him, and we headed to the train station to head to Krakow for the weekend.
Overview of Week 2.
This week was very fun but very slow in trying to get things working. We encountered a lot of problems so there wasn’t much progress than that I was expected for. But this made me learn patience skills, because everything can’t go perfect all the time, so it was great to try and help Zibi figure out all the different details and software problems to try and get the system working even though I wasn’t familiar with the software. Even on top of that I learnt many things like the virtual computer software called proxmox. This was a very fun software to use as it’s something I’ve never learnt to do before, and I would like to try it again sometime in another company. This week was amazing to see the smart boxes as well, which show us the main best seller in the company. In which I will know to keep my eye out for next time.
When we got to Zap, we met up with our new instructor Peter. He was going to show us PLC and how it works. We started off the day by creating some Ethernet cables. We needed 3 per team so Isaac and I teamed up to make the 3. After sorting out wires for my laptop we looked at the circuit board we were going to be using that had lights and buttons and switches on it and how it works. After work we went to the cinema and watched the new top gun movie.
When we got to zap, we met up with Peter and we started on the programming of the circuit board. We started by downloading Logo! Softcomfort, this was the main software that we had to download to get the IP connection for my laptop and the circuit board. After we had the connection to the circuit board, we were able top use the LogoV8 software to create a basic programming to press the button on the circuit board to switch between the different colored lights.
Wednesday 1st June
When we got to work, Peter had a long amount of task ready for us as he wanted us to program a washing machine circuit onto the circuit board, but we had to use the built in PLC junction box to create a text to show the different times of each wash. We used the logoV8 software and we installed a new software called Easy-builder Pro which controlled the touch control display on the circuit board. We in the end created a column of lights on the display to light up depending on which button you pressed it would show the wash number and how long the wash would take. At the end of the program, it would end but straight away start up from the start again showing the first wash. After the long day was done, we headed back to the hotel for a bite to eat. When coming to the end of the night we met up with Niamh as she came to bring us home at the end of the week, we chatted about how we were getting on and we just planned on how we are going to be getting back home on Sunday.
When we got to Zap peter gave us another task to do. We must program a traffic light system with the display on the circuit box. We had to drag and print an image over onto the display then set up the light system for 4 traffic lights. We have to make it to when 3 lights are red, then one is green and then the same for the rest. This was tricky too code but with Peters help I was able to learn it very easily. After work we met with Peter and Jurand picked us up from our hotel and brought us to a private estate in Golichow. It had a massive private mansion and a little private zoo in the park where we walked around and saw deer, boar, and buffalo. After that we went to a 24h bar and grill in which we had some proper polish food and drinks.
We left our suitcases at the hotel and left for Zap. When we got to work, we picked up where we left on yesterday. We continued with coding the traffic light and preparing to show it to Peter with everything working. There were little difficulties with trying to get some lights on green and some on yellow or red, but after a bit of guidance I learnt well how to create and code onto a PLC machine. We said goodbye to Peter and all the CEOs that were helping us through the 3 weeks and met up with Ania who was taking us to the train station so we can leave for Poznan.
Overview for Week 3
This week was one of the harder but more enjoyable weeks as we were nonstop coding and programming with something I wouldn’t be too familiar with. There was a lot of theory involved as we needed to read instructions on the board on how to install and download the different software. The picture display circuit board was something I’ve never worked with before but because it was tricky and involved a lot of thinking to get the system working made me enjoy it more and it’s something I would like to come back to in the future.