Students at the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) are benefitting from the recent delivery of 15 new motor drives and PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) interface systems at its Industrial Automation Laboratory. ABB, Inc., a provider of power and automation technologies, donated the equipment to MATC, which provides associate degree and technical diploma programs for students pursuing positions in a technical discipline.
Aaron Aleithe, Sr. vice president and general manager of ABB Low-Voltage Drives, PLC’s and Drive Services, stated, “This is giving back, and an investment in a shared vision of the critical importance of educating power electronics engineers able to help lead companies like ABB into ever brighter technological frontiers.”
ABB representatives and MATC staff recently gathered for the official presentation of the equipment. The lab, located in the MATC Technology Building in downtown Milwaukee, has undergone extensive renovation and refurbishment in recent months. This lab serves students in the EET program with live industrial automation control experience. The lab, with 15 workstations in all, will be completely wired and commissioned by students in the second-year automation courses. In addition, the entire lab will communicate with MATC’s internet network, providing a example of how industrial control interfaces with all facets of manufacturing—from floor level control to data acquisition.
Tom Heraly, Electronics Instructor for Automation, states, “The donation helps our students work on interfacing motors, VFD’s and PLC’s, using both discrete and digital interfacing methods. Our students have always interfaced the VFD’s and PLC’s using discrete wire methods. The changing automation market now requires our students to be able to interface using digital communications methods such as Ethernet/IP and Modbus/TCP.”
In addition to MATC’s automation lab, separate PLC’s and motor controls will be an integral part of the Joint Apprenticeship program campus equipment.