PLC interface systems to assist in classrooms

Fifteen PLC interface systems from ABB have been donated to assist at Milwaukee technical school


Delivery and setup of 15 new motor drives and PLC interface systems has been completed at Milwaukee Area Technical College’s (MATC) Industrial Automation Laboratory. MATC provides associate degree and technical diploma programs for students pursuing positions in a technical discipline.

Aaron Aleithe, senior vice president and general manager of Low-Voltage Drives, PLCs and Drive Services for ABB, said the donation is “an investment in a shared vision of the critical importance of educating power electronics engineers to be able to help lead companies like ABB into ever-brighter technological frontiers.”

ABB representatives and MATC staff visited the lab, located in the Technology Building in downtown Milwaukee, which has undergone extensive renovation and refurbishment in recent months. This lab will serve students in the EET program with live industrial automation control experience, using the latest control technology. With 15 workstations, the lab will be 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.

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

“The donation helps our students work on interfacing motors, VFDs, and PLCs, using both discrete and digital interfacing methods,” said Tom Heraly, electronics instructor for automation. “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.

Edited by Sharon Sofinski

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