Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and its Industrial Automation Laboratory receives 15 new motor drives and PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) interface systems from ABB. MATC is a leading educational institution, providing associate degree and technical diploma programs for students pursuing positions in a technical discipline.
"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," said Aaron Aleithe, Sr. Vice President and General Manager of Low-Voltage Drives, PLC's and Drive Services.
MATC's Industrial Automation Laboratory will serve students in the EET program with live industrial automation control experience. The lab holds 15 workstations and will be completely wired and commissioned by students in the second-year automation courses. In addition, the entire laboratory will communicate with MATC's internet network, providing an example of how industrial control interfaces with all facets of manufacturing – from floor-level control to data acquisition.
MATC students perform all wiring and programming of VFDs and PLCs in the Automation Laboratory.
According to Terese Dressel, Interim Associate Dean, School of Technology and Applied Science, the donation is the result of a partnership between the college and ABB.
"Strong partnerships with business and industry, and donations like this help the college offer training on state-of-the art equipment, ensuring that our graduates have the skills necessary for today's workplace," said Dressel.
Mark Porubsky, Electronic Technology Department Chair, believes the equipment ABB donated gives MATC's Electronic Technology department the opportunity to advance its automation program with technology that will provide students an educational platform most representative of current industry standards.
Previously, MATC students interfaced the VFD's and PLC's using discrete wire methods but ABB's donation now allow students to work on interfacing motors, VFD's and PLC's, using both discrete and digital interfacing 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," said Tom Heraly, Electronics Instructor for Automation.
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. These controls will provide continuing education opportunities for current students or those entering re-training programs, focusing on re-tooling skills to match today's current workforce requirements.