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Automation Laboratory Development Enhances Student Learning

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Manufacturing Laboratory Experience

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

11.263.1 - 11.263.12



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Paper Authors


Robert LeMaster University of Tennessee-Martin

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Robert LeMaster is an Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He has over 20 years of research, development, and management experience on NASA and Air Force projects. Dr. LeMaster received a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Akron in 1976, an M.S. degree in Engineering Mechanics from The Ohio State University in 1978, and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Tennessee in 1983.

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David Farrow University of Tennessee-Martin

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David Farrow is an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1989, 1990, and 1995, respectively. Dr. Farrow has taught courses in solid modeling, mechanical vibrations, automatic controls, automated production systems, and instrumentation and experimental methods at the University of Tennessee at Martin for three and a half years.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Automation Laboratory Development Provides Enhanced Student Learning Abstract

This paper describes experiments and course content associated with an upgraded course in Automated Production Systems. The objective of the Automation Laboratory is to provide experiential learning opportunities, while at the same time providing exposure to real world industrial automation equipment and tools. Included in the paper is a description of the content and objectives of each laboratory session and a description of the hardware platforms used to accomplish the laboratory exercises.


The University of Tennessee at Martin offers an ABET-accredited Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree with concentrations in civil, electrical, industrial, and mechanical disciplines. A three course sequence involving various aspects of control technology is offered (Table 1). Some of the courses are required of all engineering students, regardless of discipline, while others are available on an elective basis.

Table 1. Courses in Controls Sequence versus Degree Requirements Disciplines Courses Civil Electrical Industrial Mechanical ENGR 317: Instrumentation and Required Required Required Required Experimental Methods ENGR 462: Linear Control Not Required Required Required Systems Design taken ENGR 475: Automated Not Elective Required Elective taken Production Systems taken by most students

The first course, ENGR 317: Instrumentation and Experimental Methods, emphasizes sensors and measurement techniques used in experiments and controls applications. It is the only course of the three required of all engineering majors and helps address ABET outcomes associated with experiment design. The second course, ENGR 462: Linear Control Systems Design, emphasizes the concepts and methods used in the design and analysis of systems that use continuous feedback control. This course is mathematically intensive and is similar to that found in most undergraduate degree programs. The course does not include a lab, but incorporates assignments that require students to implant control algorithms into motor control experiments designed by Quanser1. The third course, ENGR 475: Automated Production Systems, focuses on production and manufacturing applications that involve discrete or batch processes. This course is not mathematically intensive and is more hands-on than the course in Linear Control System Design.

Much of the content contained in the Automated Production Systems course is traditionally referred to as Industrial Controls. An Industrial Controls course is not as common in

LeMaster, R., & Farrow, D. (2006, June), Automation Laboratory Development Enhances Student Learning Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--22

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