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Development Of Scada Experimental Systems Through Student Projects To Enhance The Automation Curriculum In A Manufacturing Engineering Technology Program

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Manufacturing Engineering Technology Curriculum

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.539.1 - 12.539.11



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Paper Authors


Andrew Otieno Northern Illinois University

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Andrew Otieno is an associate professor in the Department of Technology at NIU. He has done extensive research in experimental and theoretical analysis of metal machining problems. His research and teaching interests include machine vision, manufacturing processes, finite element analysis, and manufacturing automation.

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Development of SCADA Experimental Systems through Student Projects to Enhance the Automation Curriculum in a Manufacturing Engineering Technology Program.


The use of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems in industry is on the rapid increase, especially with developments of modular instruments and sensors that are easily controlled through Ethernet or other industry network standards. The need for skilled personnel to implement and utilize these systems is also increasing. Courses which incorporate SCADA applications are offered widely across the nation and in many colleges. These courses often include theory and laboratory component in which students learn how to implement and program these systems. By providing an experiential education in manufacturing systems automation in an engineering technology curriculum, students are better prepared upon entering the workforce. However, most SCADA experimental hardware and software are often very expensive and many colleges cannot afford them. This paper presents the development of a hybrid low cost experimental system. It is based on National Instruments low end data acquisition card with LabView as the software interface. The rest of the system is built from a collection of inexpensive sensors and output devices to simulate a temperature control system. The hardware is designed and built by the students. Also presented in this paper are the details of the hardware; and the results of a survey that was carried out to determine how well this approach satisfied the academic goals and what challenges the students faced as they worked on these projects. This approach enables academic programs with limited funding to provide important hands-on experience in automation to students, thus enabling them to enter the workforce better prepared. The paper also demonstrates the effective utilization of limited resources to provide more access to practical academic programs.

Introduction As the trends in manufacturing automation continue to evolve, process control is becoming more and more data intensive. This implies the need for more supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. Surveys of the future of SCADA systems1, 2 show trends towards supervisory control, distributed control systems, use of programmable controllers (PLCs), smart sensors, and use of networking systems such as Ethernet or DeviceNet. SCADA systems are currently used in a wide variety of applications ranging from process control to energy distribution and management, and to telemetry and agricultural systems, just to name a few. Because of the continuing increase in the use of SCADA systems, Engineering and Technology educators need to periodically reexamine the skills required by our graduates to meet the multi-faceted challenges in their future workplaces. The need for continuous reengineering of the curriculum is driven by the global desire to reduce costs and increase productivity in a competitive economy. It is therefore imperative that the subjects taught should correspond to those skills needed in this

Otieno, A. (2007, June), Development Of Scada Experimental Systems Through Student Projects To Enhance The Automation Curriculum In A Manufacturing Engineering Technology Program Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2221

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