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Design and Evaluation of Automated System Modules for Portable Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) Kit for Industrial Automation and Control Education

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Design & Development Projects and Practices

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Paper Authors


Sheng-Jen Hsieh Texas A&M University

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Dr. Sheng-Jen (“Tony”) Hsieh is a Professor in the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. He holds a joint appointment with the Department of Engineering Technology and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research interests include engineering education, cognitive task analysis, automation, robotics and control, intelligent manufacturing system design, and micro/nano manufacturing. He is also the Director of the Rockwell Automation laboratory at Texas A&M University, a state-of-the-art facility for education and research in the areas of automation, control, and automated system integration.

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Automation impacts our daily lives in many areas. Automated doors, elevators, coffee makers, air conditioners, and copy machines all have controllers and sensors integrated into the machine to form an automated system that provides a service. Designing, building, and maintaining industrial scale automated systems is a complex and challenging task. Student education in this area is hindered due to lack of industrial scale equipment to demonstrate how these systems work and how they are integrated. This paper describes the design and evaluation of an automated system module (that includes an industrial-scale controller) and how this module has been integrated with a portable PLC kit to make learning about automated systems and PLCs convenient and accessible in the classroom and at home. Responses from students suggest that (1) the integration of the automated system module into a PLC kit for use in the classroom keeps them engaged in class and allows them to ask what-if questions, and (2) incorporating different kinds of automated system modules is beneficial. Future directions may include incorporating building an automated system module into course requirements, such as semester project.

Hsieh, S. (2017, June), Design and Evaluation of Automated System Modules for Portable Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) Kit for Industrial Automation and Control Education Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28111

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