A Collection of Articles from our Educational Partners…

AutomationDirect SpotlightIssue 48 -2022Notebook IssueStudent SpotlightStudent Spotlight

Student Spotlight: OSU Students Save Dying Fish

A team of engineering students from Oklahoma State emailed Automation Direct last year with a disturbing problem: Fish were dying! These engineering students had been contacted, in turn, by students in the nearby Culinary Arts program who run an aquaponics farm.  Aquaponics combines aquaculture (raising fish and other marine life in tanks) with hydroponics (growing…
Issue 47 -2022Student SpotlightStudent Spotlight

EMMA wins Design Competition at Georgia Tech

By Michael Probst, BSEE ’22 The Georgia Institute of Technology Engineering Department requires two semesters of design experience, with a course known as “senior design”. Students divide themselves into teams of 4-6 students, often comprised of members from within a single department, or students can form interdisciplinary teams. The projects themselves come from three sources:…
AutomationDirect SpotlightIssue 43 - 2020Student SpotlightStudent Spotlight

Industrial Automation with a Mission

A student design team developed a PLC-based control system to safely automate a test stand and prove out an engine prior to rocket launch. By Simon Bambey and Griffin Peirce, UBC Rocket Student Team At the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, a group of determined students faced a technical task more challenging…
Company NewsCompany TopicsPress ReleasesStudent Spotlight

2020 FIRST Robotics Digital Animation Award

The 2020 Digital Animation Award is offered to help encourage students to cultivate skills in design and creation of animation including, but not limited to, storytelling, creativity, use of computer software, and an understanding of different techniques and forms of animation. This award is open to all FIRST Robotics Competition teams.
ApplicationApplication StoriesAutomationDirect SpotlightEducation/DIYIndustryIssue 38 - 2017Machine ControlNotebook IssuePLCProductProgrammable ControlSimple PLCStudent SpotlightStudent Spotlight

Copley High School's Automation Success

The Innovator team at Copley High School in Akron, Ohio needed to design a piece of equipment to snap caps together for Weaver Industries ProPak, a company that has been employing people with disabilities for about 40 years. With the existing assembly method, Weaver was struggling to meet production and contract requirements for component assembly.
ApplicationApplication StoriesAutomation NotebookAutomationDirect SpotlightDrivesEducation/DIYIndustryIssue 36 - 2016Learning ResourcesMachine ControlMechanical Power TransmissionMotion ControlNotebook IssueOperator InterfaceProductProgrammable ControlStudent SpotlightStudent Spotlight

Machine Produces Nanofibers for Biomedical Research

If you can’t buy it, you have to build it. This was the situation our group of engineering students encountered when we needed to grow vascular tissue for a bioengineering project at Walla Walla University, and found existing solutions were not acceptable.
ApplicationApplication StoriesAutomation NotebookAutomationDirect SpotlightControl & Signaling DevicesDrivesEducation/DIYEnclosures & AccessoriesIndustryIssue 35 - 2016Learning ResourcesMachine ControlMotion ControlNotebook IssueOnline OnlyPackagingProductSafetyStudent SpotlightStudent Spotlight

It’s a Wrap! Automated Taping Machine

The capstone senior design project is the crowning achievement for seniors at the University of Connecticut School of Engineering.  In this two-semester course, senior students are mentored by faculty and industry engineers as they work to solve real-world engineering problems for their corporate sponsor. Students learn about the principles of design, how ethics affect engineering…
AgricultureApplicationApplication StoriesAutomation NotebookAutomationDirect SpotlightDrivesEducation/DIYIndustryIssue 33 - 2015Learning ResourcesMotorsNotebook IssueProcess ControlProductStudent SpotlightStudent Spotlight

Pulp Processor Speeds Production of Healthy Supplement

Students at Penn State have been working on a Baobab pulp processor in conjunction with the residents of villages in Benin, Malawi, South Africa, and Madagascar. Native to Africa, “Baobab” is the common name for the Adansonia tree and the fruit that it bears. There has been quite a bit of hype surrounding the health…
ApplicationApplication StoriesAutomationDirect SpotlightEducation/DIYEntertainmentIndustryIssue 33 - 2015Machine ControlNotebook IssuePneumaticsPneumaticsProductStudent SpotlightStudent Spotlight

Shier Terror Haunts West Coast

Scott Shier, with his namesake organization, Shier Terror, presented a pneumatics seminar in May, 2015, at the West Coast Haunters Convention in Portland, Oregon. His intent was to expose a group of fifteen “Home Haunter” students to the capabilities of pneumatic systems as they are often used in haunted houses. ‘Haunting’ with Pneumatics West Coast…
ApplicationApplication StoriesAutomation NotebookAutomationDirect SpotlightData System MonitoringEducation/DIYIndustryIssue 34 - 2016Learning ResourcesMotion ControlNotebook IssueOnline OnlyOperator InterfacePLCPLC eBookProductProgrammable ControlStudent SpotlightStudent SpotlightWater/Wastewater

Portable Water Treatment Platform Removes Phosphorus Economically

A trailer-mounted water treatment process controlled by a Productivity2000 PLC has recently been developed at the University of Idaho. Professor Greg Möller, in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, along with engineers from the College of Engineering have teamed up to build the platform, and to further research the economical removal of phosphorus from various…
ApplicationApplication StoriesAutomation NotebookAutomationDirect SpotlightControl & Signaling DevicesEducation/DIYIndustryIssue 32 - 2015Learning ResourcesManufacturingManufacturingNotebook IssuePneumaticsPneumaticsProductStudent SpotlightStudent Spotlight

Ohio Students Improve Assembly Process for Employees With Disabilities

The annual SourceAmerica® Design Challenge is a national engineering competition to design workplace technology for people with disabilities. For this competition, high school students spend months partnering with a nonprofit that employs people with disabilities to invent a device, process, system or software for a more productive work environment. Kirby Harder, Copley High School’s (CHS) Industrial technology…
ApplicationApplication StoriesAutomation NotebookAutomationDirect SpotlightEducation/DIYHMIIndustryIssue 31 - 2015Learning ResourcesMachine ControlNotebook IssueOperator InterfacePLCProductProgrammable ControlStudent SpotlightStudent SpotlightVariable Speed Drives

Technical College Students Understand Protective Relays

Protective relays are specialized devices designed to sense abnormal conditions in electric power systems, commanding circuit breakers to trip or close when needed. These relays are absolutely essential to the reliable operation of the electric power generating stations, substations, transmission lines, and distribution systems that comprise any large-scale electric power grid; they are increasingly finding…
ApplicationApplication StoriesAutomation NotebookAutomationDirect SpotlightEducation/DIYEnergy/UtilitiesIndustryIssue 30 - 2014Learning ResourcesMachine ControlMotion ControlNotebook IssuePLCPneumaticsProductStudent SpotlightStudent Spotlight

UCONN Student Design Team Automates RFID Tagging

In the aerospace industry, any substance that is foreign to the aircraft engine and could potentially cause damage is known as FOD (foreign object debris). FOD costs the industry 4 billion dollars per year on average. Some of the most common causes of FOD damage are the tools required to build or maintain the engine….
ApplicationAutomationDirect SpotlightDiscrete SensingEducation/DIYIndustryIssue 28 - 2014Machine ControlNotebook IssueProductRelays & TimersStudent SpotlightStudent Spotlight

What a Drag!

CO2 powered drag strip teaches students the science of speed. John Harpell’s 9th grade class at Moira Secondary School in Belleville, Ontario, Canada has built and automated a model racecar track for CO2 powered “dragsters” using various components from AutomationDirect. A CO2 powered dragster is a small lightweight vehicle fitted with a CO2 cartridge; think “pine-wood-derby on…
ApplicationApplication StoriesAutomation NotebookData System MonitoringEducation/DIYFacilitiesIndustryIssue 27 – 2013Learning ResourcesNotebook IssueOperator InterfacePLCProductProgrammable ControlStudent SpotlightTest and Measurement

Students help Manufacturing Center See AND Do More

When the mechatronics students at Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) in Hickory, North Carolina, went looking for a suitable project to challenge their recently acquired PLC and HMI skills, they didn’t have to go far. The Problem The college’s Manufacturing Solutions Center (MSC) in nearby Conover needed a way to monitor the status of a…
ApplicationApplication StoriesAutomation NotebookAutomationDirect SpotlightEducation/DIYEntertainmentIndustryIssue 26 – 2013Learning ResourcesMachine ControlNotebook IssuePLCProductProgrammable ControlStudent SpotlightStudent Spotlight

Automation ‘Lifts’ Purdue Theater Production of Medea

From Wikipedia[1]: “A mechane (pron.: /’mɛkəniː/; Greek: μηχανή, mēkhanē) or machine was a crane used in Greek theatre, especially in the 5th and 4th centuries BC. Made of wooden beams and pulley systems, the device was used to lift an actor into the air, usually representing flight. This stage machine was particularly used to bring gods…
ApplicationApplication StoriesAutomation NotebookAutomationDirect SpotlightEducation/DIYEnergy/UtilitiesIndustryIssue 25 – 2013Learning ResourcesMachine ControlNotebook IssueOperator InterfaceProductProgrammable ControlStudent SpotlightStudent Spotlight

Illinois Institute of Technology Competes in Hybrid Racing

A student team, lead by Donald Ruffatto, from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) SAE International chapter contacted AutomationDirect in late 2011, asking detailed questions about our Productivity3000 Programmable Automation Controller (PAC). They were planning to use it to control an electric car that they were building for the Formula Hybrid International Competition, hosted by…