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A University of Wisconsin-Stout student has earned an educational trip to Italy, thanks to an award-winning research paper.
James Engel, a senior packaging major from Merrill, will take an all-expenses-paid trip to northern Italy from June 28 through July 6. A paper he wrote was chosen as one of four winners in a student contest sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission and Italian Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Association.
The other winners are from Clemson University, California Polytechnic State University and Michigan State University.
Students from 10 North American universities entered the contest, which was administered in the U.S. by the Institute of Packaging Professionals.
Engel and the other winners will tour packaging companies in the north, in an area known as packaging valley in the Province of Bologna. They also will work with other students from the University of Milan on an industry project.
Engel's paper, "History of Robotics and Vision Systems," examines the application of vision systems in packaging machinery. He analyzed cost-savings, real-world applications and what the future holds for the technology.
"Vision systems are basically the eyes of the machine and allow for fast analysis and more automation," Engel said. "They are not new in the industry but have been experiencing a lot of growth and innovation with the cameras, software and computing power."
Engel, who will graduate in December, studied abroad in Seville, Spain, during the fall 2013 semester. His minor is Spanish.
He also had a Cooperative Education work experience in packaging with J.M. Smucker in Orrville, Ohio, in the spring and summer of 2012.
For more information about UW-Stout's packaging undergraduate program, go to the Web page.