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Developing an IP-Based Industrial Process Control Laboratory for Use in a Distance Education Environment

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Distance Learning in ET Programs

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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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,wireless sensor networks, industrial networks, and industry-academia partnerships.

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Jimmy Bill Linn East Carolina University

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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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Industrial process control networks (ICNs) make up the critical infrastructure that supports the secure and reliable communications between devices in manufacturing environments. In the past ICNs have used mostly proprietary networks and protocols such as, Profinet and Devicenet, along with vendor-specific technologies. Today however these proprietary networks are being replaced with Ethernet IP-based networks allowing consolidation of many different types of networks into a single common network, simplifying network operation, administration, and reducing operational expense. This convergence of Industrial Automation Technology (IAT) with Information Technology (IT) is driving a growing trend in remote management of industrial control systems over Internet Protocol (IP) based networks and a need for engineers well skilled in core competencies of IT networks and operational technology (OT) networks. In this paper we present in detail our experiences in the development of a versatile Industrial Automation Technology remote lab solution for facilitating 24/7 access to student anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. The lab will be used in the fall of 2016 to provide students the foundational hands-on skills needed to configure, maintain, and troubleshoot industrial control systems securely through a remote Internet connection. The centerpiece of the virtual lab is to provide distance education students with the hands-on lab experience of operating industrial control and networking equipment as though they had physical access to the laboratory equipment. A common discussion topic within academic institutions is to determine the extent that differing, but related, disciplines can be integrated to take advantage of synergies and enhance the knowledge base and skill sets of the related disciplines. In this context, central to the development of the remote lab environment was the collaboration between faculty from Information and Computer Technology (ICT) and Industrial engineering technology (IET) programs. The lab environment includes a Web based user interface for scheduling lab time provided by an NDG Netlab+ system installed and administered at XX University. Through this system IET faculty can control class offerings, instructor accounts, student accounts, and configuration of both virtual machines running process control software and physical devices such as programmable logic controllers, variable frequency drives and other industrial control components to perform production, manufacturing, data collection, and other important manufacturing plant tasks. The remote lab environment will allow for merging the skill sets of Technology courses such as Electricity/ Electronics Fundamentals, Electromechanical Systems, Robotics, and Electromechanical Systems Integration with the skill sets of Computer Networking Technology courses such as is discussed in this paper. Finally, the benefits gained from collaborative endeavors between the ICT and IET programs towards the development of industrial networking specialist curriculum is also discussed.

Pickard, J., & Linn, J. B. (2016, June), Developing an IP-Based Industrial Process Control Laboratory for Use in a Distance Education Environment Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26748

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