The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Industrial Studies Department received an equipment donation valued at more than $300,000 from Rockwell Automation, Inc. The presentation was acknowledged in an appreciation ceremony Thursday in UW-Platteville’s Russell Hall.
The Industrial Studies program received six complete brand new model motor control centers (also known as MCC), which provide a compact modular grouping for motor control and electrical distribution components, controlling some or all electric motors and some process controllers from a central location.
“The University of Wisconsin-Platteville is fortunate to have such a strong business partner in Rockwell Automation,” said UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields. “I thank Rockwell for the generous donation of equipment and what this will mean for our students. We pride ourselves on graduating students who are immediately ready to contribute to companies such as Rockwell because of the hands-on educational opportunities they experience at UW-Platteville.”
Joe Mabry, Rockwell Automation plant manager at the Richland Center facility, emphasized the importance that UW-Platteville students receive a strong learning experience. “It’s important to show Rockwell, because we want to have our products in the hands of the people who are going to be making decisions in the future, but really it’s that brand identity and brand recognition we really want to have as well,” said Mabry. “I think it’s important that we continue this partnership.”
According to Dr. Wayne Weber, dean of UW-Platteville’s College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture, the donation is going to help develop future industry leaders. “Our students will take concepts and learn and apply those through critical thinking to actual hands-on activities and processes; where we develop the 360-degree student, but develop professional and cultural competencies, along with an applied skill set that allows them to immediately add value through the ability to hit the ground running,” he said.
“The partnerships with regional industry and communities are crucial to our students’ education and our mutual success. This incredible donation is directly a tangible example of that,” said Weber.
“In addition to the MCCs, we received spools of 12G, 18G, Cat5e and Cat3 25, spools of bulk cable, PB switches, indicators, circuit breakers, fuses, contactors, relays and more,” said grant recipient Dr. Bandara Gamini, assistant professor of electronics, controls and robotics.
UW-Platteville received Allen Bradley Centerline 2100 MCCs. “The brand-new units contain multiple sections nicknamed buckets,” said Gamini. “The buckets contain motor starters, fuses and circuit breakers and variable frequency drives for motor speed and direction control.”
MCCs are used in applications where there are several, remotely controlled loads linked to a central control point, said Gamini. “Industrial process applications include many load types, such as conveyors, pumps, fans and mixers. These loads often require coordinated control and can be the source of important process or machine diagnostic information,” he added.
The MCCs will be a component of the controls minor curriculum said Gamini. “Our students who are typically hired as controls engineers, system process and control engineers, application engineers, production and manufacturing engineer managers, automation and controls engineers would be productive employees from the date of hire because they would have essential hands-on experience in automation and controls, augmented with the inclusion of these MCCs,” he said.