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Integrating Data Acquisition Tools To Accomplish A Course Project

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

New Electrical ET Course Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.728.1 - 8.728.7

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Paper Authors

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Marvin Needler

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Anna Shiver

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Elaine Cooney

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

Session 1833

Integrating Data Acquisition Tools to Accomplish An Automation Course Project

Anna Shiver, Marvin Needler, Elaine Cooney Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, IUPUI


This automation course introduces students to interfacing a wide-range of equipment: programmable logic controllers (PLCs), conveyors, pneumatic actuators, control relays, hardware sensors; robots, machine vision and smart-sensors; computers and data-acquisition cards; and to diverse kinds of software: machine vision, Matlab, and PLC software, with a major use of LabVIEW software for control and data acquisition.


EET 371 Automation, Instrumentation and Process Control is a junior-senior level course in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology, IUPUI. The purpose of the course is to introduce ECET majors to automation concepts and control and instrumentation equipment and software.

Emphasis of the course is on integration of hardware and software systems. It focuses on a major laboratory project to implement a model automated-assembly-line-style test system for an FM circuit board. (Figure 1)

To update the course to provide for more experience with state-of-the-art technology, machine vision has been added and control of a Rhino Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm (SCARA) with the DOS-based Robotalk has been converted to control of SCARA by the use of PCI counter/timer data acquisition cards and National Instruments LabVIEW software.

The model testing system employs a belt conveyor to move a test unit containing the FM circuit board first to a tuning station where electrical connections are made by a pneumatic actuator. The robot arm adjusts a potentiometer on the circuit board. The conveyor then moves the test unit to a testing station where the output and frequency response of the circuit board are verified. Finally, the unit is moved to the end of the conveyor where the robot arm removes it. Units are then sorted by the robot in accordance with the test results.

This paper describes the major features of the project: the PLC programming, the machine vision, and the robot control hardware and software.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Needler, M., & Shiver, A., & Cooney, E. (2003, June), Integrating Data Acquisition Tools To Accomplish A Course Project Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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