ABB Enables Students to Utilize Latest Technology in Lab

ABB Inc. recently donated eight democases from a new DTC product line to Waukesha County Technical College's Automation Technology Program, which will enable students to utilize the latest technology in lab work and applications.

With hands-on access to newer technologies, it is believed that the utility of learning will be accelerated in both the school and workplace environments.

Delivery of the democases, "enables us to upgrade our labs - and gives students enhanced hands-on training with the latest available drives technology," said Jesse Stuller, automation instructor and supporter of industry-academic support programs at WCTC. "Our goal is to provide the highest quality education to our students. Our partnership with industry provides the avenue to accomplish that goal."

The drives democases donated are from the new ACS880 high performance DTC product line.

"These units provide a simple, yet comprehensive, all-in-one solution that is specialized for training and learning," said Dennis Miller, ABB Sr. Technical Instructor, who arranged the donation. "The democases facilitate a complete application simulation."

Miller also said the older democases feature older technology and have been in use for over 15 years, making the upgrade current with the latest technology ABB offers end users and keeps the Automation Technologies Program up to date.

Self-contained Labs

The donated drives are extremely user friendly and ideal for students to use.  Students will be able to program and test them as they become familiar with drive technology for the first time.

The drive is connected to a small motor and has an external input/output control panel wired to the analog inputs, digital inputs, digital outputs and analog outputs.

Students can fully simulate use of controls for any given application, and spin the motor like in a real application. The democase's user friendly properties is said to aid in the learning process, even in the areas of serial communications and PC interfacing. The whole gamut of applications can be simulated from basic speed-control to more complex torque-control applications. They are ideal for facilitating learning with parameter adjustments and incorporating drives into electronics projects/applications.

The drives also offer networking capability to DeviceNet and other communication module protocols, so students can see and understand how computers are used in industrial environments. Programming and monitoring of the drive can be accomplished via specific PC or Drive software.

Students will program the drives and operate motors that simulate real-world installations and loads.

Beyond an introduction to the technology, students will have an opportunity to drill into the equipment's performance characteristics in order to understand what control features they will be able to access, modify and offer customers in the workplace. This shortens the distance between experience in school and the workplace. The ACS880 democase can be used to teach and illustrate "complete" motor control.
 
Benefits of Using Drives

The benefits of using drives also include teaching energy consumption to the students.  This fact is becoming more and more useful as the world becomes more energy conscious.

The Adjustable Speed Drives (ASDs) are drives that can be used in any application where mechanical equipment is powered by motors. They provide extremely precise electrical motor control, allowing motor speeds to be ramped up or down, or maintained. Utilizing only the energy required rather than having the motor run at constant, fixed speed saves an excess of energy.

The ability to manipulate motor control helps motor users realize 25 – 70 percent energy savings, according to ABB experts. Using an AC drive also prolongs the operation of small motors and reduces wear and tear in installations.

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