Friday 8 May 2015

Major investment in automation at US University.

The Purdue Integrated Process Education System (PIPES) laboratory has been fully designed and implemented through collaboration of industry professionals, faculty and a group of seniors from the Purdue Manufacturing Engineering Technology program

Many veteran automation professionals will remember the days of Dr Ted Williams and the pioneering efforts of Purdue University. to develop one of the finest schools for process control engineering in the U.S.

Purdue hosted Joint Automatic Control Conferences (JACC) and led the way in developing advanced control theory, much of which we see embodied in today’s process control equipment. It is heartening to see that this establishment continues to be an educational leader in process control and instrumentation.

The Manufacturing Engineering Technology (MFET) students and faculty in the Purdue School of Engineering Technology are celebrating the joint creation and development of the Purdue Integrated Process Education System (PIPES) laboratory during an open house hosted at the West Lafayette, Ind., (USA).

Through the generous support and donations from industry partners Endress+Hauser; Rockwell Automation; George E. Booth Co., Inc.; Kirby Risk Corporation and other suppliers (American Melt Blown and Filtration, Artek, Inc., BMWC Constructors, Lester Sales Company, Complete Controls, Hoffman, Samson Controls, Inc., Smith-Cooper International, StoneL, and Wilken Enterprises), Purdue University will be the new home to a state-of-the-practice process education lab for students.

Donations to Purdue University included process measurement instrumentation, a control system, control panels, servers, hardware, piping, large industrial water tanks, pumps, valves, cabling, and engineering guidance.

The fully operational system was designed and constructed during a yearlong capstone project undertaken by senior students of Purdue’s Integrated Manufacturing course sequence. Beginning in the fall of 2015, the system will be used to teach process measurement and continuous control, mostly from a technology and implementation perspective.
Grant Richards in the industrial controls lab.

“Our School of Engineering Technology (SOET) faculty are already in the process of designing the first course that will be available to students in all SOET programs,” said Brad Harriger, MET Professor at Purdue University. “The system will provide a key platform for exploring fundamental concepts of process control in our laboratory,” added Grant Richards, Purdue ECET Professor. The SOET programs include Manufacturing Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology.

A long-term goal is for the PIPES lab to be used for summer workshops available to industry – taught by both faculty and industry representatives – where practicing engineers would visit the university for two to five days to learn about and experience process control integration.

By partnering with Purdue University, the supporting companies strive to increase student exposure to fulfilling careers in the process industries and build sustainable industry connections. Many times students fail to recognize the diverse career choices available to them as new roles emerge through new technologies. Additionally, these academic teaching programs augment hands-on industry competencies and positively impact the problem solving abilities of students through real-world practice. In turn, graduates are more competitive in the job market and have direct connection with the industries they select for their career path.

“We at Endress+Hauser know that talented engineers and technologists have many options for careers,” said Don Cummings, Technical Talent Development Manager, Endress+Hauser. “At the same time, we know that many students don't know about the process industries that we serve, or the industry that serves them – the process automation and control industry. This Purdue laboratory project took money, and it took products – ours and others' – but it was the collaborative project aspect of working together that exposes students to our people, the work habits that businesses expect, the culture of mutual achievement that we enjoy together, and sets an example for how creative problem solving can lead to a lifetime of workplace satisfaction.”

“Rockwell Automation has a strong history of effective partnering with companies and schools, and the collaborative nature of this project brings additional richness to the teaching program at Purdue University,” said John Kacsur, Director of Global Accounts and executive sponsor of Purdue at Rockwell Automation. “Professors can use industry cases in the lab and ask students to develop actual applications on a control platform representative of the real world. In designing, fabricating and integrating this project with multiple industry partners, students will also experience the added complexities commonly faced throughout the industry.”

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