MATC students perform all wiring and programming of VFDs and PLCs in the Automation Laboratory.

NEW BERLIN, Wis. — Delivery and set up of 15 new motor drives and PLC (programmable logic controller) interface systems has been completed at MATC’s Industrial Automation Laboratory. MATC (Milwaukee Area Technical College) is an educational institution providing associate degree and technical diploma programs for students pursuing positions in a technical discipline.

Aaron Aleithe Sr., vice president and general manager of low-voltage drives, PLCs, and drive services, said, “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 gathered for the official presentation of the equipment. The lab, located in downtown Milwaukee, has undergone extensive renovation and refurbishment in recent months. This lab will serve students in the Electronic Engineering Technology (EET) program with live 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, stressed, “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.”

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. ”

Associated apprenticeship programs also benefit from the donation.

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 re-training programs, focusing on retooling skills to match today’s current workforce requirements.

Publication date: 03/19/2012