MILWAUKEE - Delivery and set up of 10 new motor drives from ABB Inc. to Milwaukee School of Engineering's (MSOE) Industrial Control Laboratory "both helps complete the extensive retrofit of this facility for students and gives them hands-on access to the latest generation of electrical motor drive technology," said Dr. Owe Petersen, professor and interim chairman of MSOE's Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department.

"We are delighted with the technology and the timing," Dr. Stephen Williams, associate professor in the MSOE Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, told Rick Hepperla, vice president and general manager of ABB Low-Voltage Drives, and staffers who gathered for the official presentation of the equipment. The lab, located in the Fred F. Loock Engineering Center, has undergone extensive renovation and refurbishment this summer.

"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," Hepperla said. Highly qualified engineers from the university continue to join and be part of ABB's New Berlin, Wis., and global operations, he said, "so it is particularly satisfying and important to continue to support an academic institution that is graduating this level of talent."

The AC drives are being installed into eight refurbished student test benches, and will be used rigorously as part of the Electrical/Electronics Communication curricula, according to Dr. Glenn Wrate, director of the master of science in engineering program at MSOE.

"Students will program the drives, and operate motors that simulate real-world installations and loads," Wrate said. "Beyond an introduction to the technology, they drill on 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 makes the distance between the academic test lab and an engineering company's application work team very short."

Founded in 1903, MSOE is an independent university with about 2,400 students. MSOE offers 16 bachelor's degrees and six master's degrees in the engineering, engineering technology, architectural engineering and building construction, computer, business, and health-related fields.

ABB Inc., Automation Technologies, Automation Products, Low-Voltage Drives, is a manufacturer of electric motors and drives. For more information, visit

Publication date: 09/20/2004