NEW BERLIN, Wis. — ABB announced that it has completed delivery and set up of 15 new motor drives and programmable logic controller (PLC) interface systems donated to Milwaukee Area Technical College’s (MATC’s) Industrial Automation Laboratory. MATC provides associate degree and technical diploma programs for students pursuing positions in technical disciplines.

ABB representatives and MATC staff gathered for the official presentation of the equipment. The lab, located in the Technology Building, has undergone extensive renovation and refurbishment in recent months. This lab will provide students with industrial automation control experience, using the latest control technology. 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 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.

Terese Dressel, interim associate dean, School of Technology and Applied Science, said, “This donation is the result of an exceptional 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.”

“ABB has provided MATC’s Electronic Technology department an opportunity to advance its automation program with state-of-the-art technology that will provide students an educational platform most representative of current industry standards,” said Mark Porubsky, Electronic Technology department chair.

Tom Heraly, electronics instructor for automation, said, “The donation helps our students work on interfacing motors, VFDs, and PLCs, using both discrete and digital interfacing methods. Our students have always interfaced the VFDs and PLCs 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 PLCs 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 retraining programs, focusing on retooling skills to match today’s current workforce requirements.

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Publication date: 12/26/2011