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Grant Donation Brings New Equipment to the ‘Ville

Students studying automation and robotics engineering technology will soon have access to new equipment, thanks to Phoenix Contact.

Millersville students studying automation and robotics engineering technology will soon have access to new equipment, thanks to a grant donation from Phoenix Contact.

The Automation and Controls Lab in Osburn Hall will receive new equipment. Phoenix Contact donated close to $50,000 worth of hardware to Millersville as a part of their EduNet educational partnership. This includes industrial-grade computer systems used to digitize and control industrial processes. The equipment is being installed this semester and will be available to students starting in January.

The new equipment is an upgrade to previous equipment in the lab. “Our previous equipment was almost 15-20 years old, and while it’s still valid as industry grade, it is becoming technologically ‘old,’” says Dr. John Haughery, assistant professor in Applied Engineering, Safety & Technology at MU. This updated hardware will allow students to get hands-on practice with equipment that is relevant to their education and future careers.

The new technology will allow students opportunities to develop and work with Industrial Internet of Things for local and remote connectivity and control. Internet of Things is an industry term that refers to collective networks of connected devices and the technology that facilitates communication among itself. It’s especially relevant to students looking to be automation engineers, controls engineers and manufacturing engineers. “Individuals in these careers are becoming more and more valuable to the industry, as they have the skill set to solve some of the toughest engineering problems facing the industry that supply essential and non-essential products,” says Haughery.

Phoenix Contact aims to prioritize sustainability through its business practices and with its equipment. Millersville’s own emphasis on sustainability is supported by the use of this new equipment. “This hardware provides students opportunities to gain experience using technologies necessary to control environmental and industrial systems efficiently with a mind to sustainability,” says Haughery. This includes consideration of lowering energy consumption, using less materials and tracking system health proactively.

Click here for more information on Millersville’s Automation and Robotics Technology degree.

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