Remote Laboratory of Automatic Control of the University of Leon (LRA-ULE)

Logotype of LRA
Remote Laboratory of Automatic Control of the University of Leon (LRA-ULE)
Short description

Platform directed at research and teaching that allows users remote interaction with real systems of automation

Photos of the laboratory

The Remote Laboratory of Automatic Control of the University of Leon is a platform that allows students, teachers, professionals and users related with the control and automation systems to interact with simulated systems, and to remotely interact with physical systems of automation and control used in real industry. 

The design of the platform is based on a three-tier structure that gives it an open, flexible and non-proprietary nature, in which the processes for the development, operation, management and inclusion of new equipment is carried out with a systematised and optimised methodology.                                      

From the dual teaching-learning perspective, the aims of the LRA are as follows:

  • To be a high-value resource for the teacher of theoretical classes, providing real-life examples of the concepts of automatic control.
  • To clearly define the links between theoretical content and their real technical implementation, studying them through direct access to real industrial equipment.
  • To facilitate shared use of costly physical resources and the development of laboratory networks.
  • To favour active and cooperative learning among students

To compare the technical characteristics of different expensive technologies.
From a research perspective, the technology platform enables work on the following research lines:

  • Remote monitoring of complex industrial processes.
  • Development of advanced monitoring tools based on machine learning and dimensionality reduction techniques.
  • Critical infrastructure cyber-security and monitoring.
  • Energy monitoring in buildings and industrial facilities.
  • Intelligent data analysis.
  • Application of advanced control techniques.
  • Research into Smart grid technologies.

A new platform is soon to be added to the LRA-ULE, focussed at research into critical infrastructure cyber-security, the design of which has been carried out by the Automation research group at the University of Leon (SUPPRESS). This environment represents the reality of the control and monitoring systems in various sectors of the critical infrastructures (industrial systems, energy management, building management and smart cities). 

Legal Status
Economic condition
Escuela de Ingenierías. Campus de Vegazana s/n. 24071. León (Spain)
Sector - Subsector
Research Installations
WaterWater treatment
Otro sector
Industrial Facilities in general

Remote access via internet for the performance of tests at pilot plants simulating real industrial installations.

Remote access via internet to a series of real installations, including a smart electrical cabinet that supplies various laboratory systems, control and monitoring systems for HVAC systems (air conditioning and heating) and systems for the monitoring and management of electrical energy.                

This platform offers a remote learning service in disciplines related to the automation and control of processes via internet.
In this way students, teachers and users in general are able to interact with the physical systems of the laboratory carrying out experiences such as, for example, PID control practice on pilot plants with real industrial instrumentation, configuration and programming of PLCs, practical experience with tools used in the cyber-security field (for example, vulnerability scanners), monitoring of processes, etc. 

This platform offers the possibility to make cyber-security assessments of common elements used in the control and automation of industrial processes (PLCs, Gateways, DCS, etc.).

With the new cyber-security structure that is soon to be added to the LRA-ULE, the platform will be equipped with the capacity to develop and implement all types of solutions linked to cyber-security in the automation, control and monitoring systems currently managed by the critical infrastructures.

Physical components available

This group of systems includes an industrial pilot plant formed of a fifty-litre reactor which offers the possibility of controlling multiple physical variables including pressure, temperature, level, conductivity, PH, etc. There is also a 4-tank model permitting a multiple control of the fluid level in tanks, several 4-variable models, allowing the control of pressure, temperature, level and flow, an electropneumatic cell that simulates an assembly line for the classification of steel profiles and a cyber-security test environment permitting the performance of cyber-security tests, vulnerability scanners, remotely in representative elements and widely used for the monitoring and control of processes in the industry (PLC, Gateways, etc.).

The LRA-ULE also provides access to a series of real installations, including a smart electrical cabinet that supplies various laboratory systems, monitoring and control systems and control of HVAC systems (heating and air conditioning) and systems for the monitoring and management of electrical energy.

The teaching equipment of the LRA-ULE includes a domotic panel and a modular Feedback MS-150 system permitting control of the position and speed of a motor step-by-step.

No additional information.

These devices aim to reproduce the systems used in real industry, and can be used both for research and for teaching. These devices include devices widely used for the control of processes in real industry, of several manufacturers including Opto, Schneider, Siemens, Moeller, National Instruments, etc. There are also other devices including speed inverters, HMIs, a robot with six degrees of freedom or a control and monitoring system based on the Fieldbus Foundation Technology.

Software components available

The LRA-ULE platform has a series of simulation tools based on the Easy Java technology which permit control practices to be carried out in systems simulating reality.

This section includes the tools used for the monitoring of the processes of the LRA-ULE. On the one hand there are third-party software tools including Siemens WinCC, Schneider Vijeo Citect, Schneider Vijeo Designer, Struxureware Power Monitoring, etc. On the other hand, there are tools designed by the research group for the monitoring and management of electrical energy. These tools can be classified into two main groups: traditional monitoring tools (display of electrical variables) and advanced monitoring tools (based on intelligent data analysis techniques directed at advanced display, optimisation and prediction). The platform also has software tools for the monitoring and management of HVAC systems.

For the correct use of all the hardware components in the laboratory, a series of software tools are required that focus on a controller server. Some of these components include: Matlab, LabVIEW, Schneider Unity Pro XL, Siemens Simatic-S7, PAC Control, CodeSYS, Wonderware ArchestrA Workflow, OPC, etc.

At communications level, the LRA-ULE platform is based on a three-tier structure (physical tier, server tier and client tier) in which various tools developed by the research group are essential for the management of the same.