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Designing a Converged Plant-wide Ethernet/IP Lab for Hands-on Distance Learning: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Project

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

IED Technical Session: Preparing Courses for the Future

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

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Paper Authors


John Pickard East Carolina University

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Dr. Pickard is an Assistant Professor at East Carolina University in the College of Engineering and Technology. He teaches undergraduate and graduate Information and Computer Technology (ICT) courses within the Department of Technology Systems. Dr. Pickard plays an active role in building positive and sustainable industry relationship between the college, local businesses, and industry partners.
Current industry recognized certifications include; Cisco Certified Network Professional, Microsoft Certificated Professional, EMC Information Storage and Management, IPv6 Forum Certified Engineer (Gold), IPv6 Forum Certified Trainer (Gold), and Cisco Certified Academy Instructor.
Dr. Pickard received his Ph.D. in Technology Management at Indiana State University. He also holds an MBA from Wayland Baptist University and a B.S. in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle University.
Research interests include: IPv6, IPv6 adoption, wireless sensor networks, and industry-academia partnerships.

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Jimmy Bill Linn

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Jimmy B. Linn, Ph.D.
Teaching Professor
Technology Systems
College of Technology & Computer Science

Professional Interests
Academic Background
Ph.D. Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN, USA, Technology Management (Manufacturing minor), 2014
M.S.E.E. Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, Electrical Engineering, 2002
BSEE Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, IN, USA, Electrical Engineering, 1973
Other Bachelors Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, IN, USA, Mathematics, 1973
Certified trainer for Mitsubishi RV-A and RV-SD series robots, 2010, Dayton Ohio
Licensed Master Electrical Contractor in Indiana, ELE-0286M, 2003
Member of American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), 2006 - current
Member of Association for Technology Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE), 2005 - current
Member of Purdue Alumni Association, 2002 - current
Member of Ivy Tech Foundation, 1997 - current
Member of Rose-Hulman Alumni Association, 1996 - current


Electrical Engineer – 1973 – 1996


Instructor – 1997 – 2005


Teaching Professor – 2005 – present


steam locomotives

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Tolulope B. Awojana East Carolina University

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Ms. Tolulope Awojana is a graduate student in the Masters of Science in Network Technology degree program at East Carolina University.

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Philip J. Lunsford II East Carolina University

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Phil Lunsford received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University. He is a registered professional engineer and is currently an Associate Professor at East Carolina University. His research interests include cyber security, telemedicine applications, network performance, and the cross-discipline application of technologies.

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Industrial Internet of things (IIoT) is the application of the network of intelligent computers, devices and objects that share huge amounts of data to the manufacturing industry. The days of manually manipulating industrial processes are fading, and quickly being replaced by a complex array of sensors and smart devices that are enabling the fourth industrial revolution through machine-to-machine (M2M) communication and industrial big data analytics. This convergence of information technology (IT) and operations technology (OT) in the IIoT is driving unprecedented levels of efficiency, productivity, and performance. As a result, businesses in power and energy, oil and gas, manufacturing, healthcare, aviation, agriculture and many other industries are experiencing transformative operational and financial benefits.

Manufacturers across all industries are investing billions of dollars to equip their plants with the latest innovative technology that require specialized operating skills. Unfortunately, there is not enough skilled labor to keep pace with the industry’s evolution. This skills gap is one of the greatest challenges manufacturers. There is a rapidly-growing need for manufacturing employees with certified skills and verified work readiness manufacturers to grow and remain globally competitive.

This paper details an interdisciplinary graduate student project involving the design, development, and implementation of a remotely accessible lab environment that integrates enterprise information technology (IT) with industrial automation control systems (IACS), and manufacturing process machinery into a fully functional converged plant-wide Ethernet/IP manufacturing infrastructure. The laboratory environment facilitates 24/7 access to students anywhere in the world with an Internet connection providing a platform for distance education and on campus students to work collaboratively to develop critical IIoT skills.

In addition, the laboratory design process is discussed in detail, including how the collaboration of differing, but related, disciplines are integrated to take advantage of synergies and enhance the knowledge base and skill sets of the related disciplines. Lessons learned and best practices are also shared.

Pickard, J., & Linn, J. B., & Awojana, T. B., & Lunsford, P. J. (2018, June), Designing a Converged Plant-wide Ethernet/IP Lab for Hands-on Distance Learning: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Project Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30276

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