Sunday – April 23, 2017
ABB Equipment Donation Broadens Training Opportunities for MATC Electronic Engineering/Electronic Technology Students
MATC industrial maintenance electrician apprentices program the programmable logic controllers donated by ABB.
Left to right, Daun Redmond, Dave Balzer, John Davies, Kyle Woxland.
As current chairperson and a 12-year veteran on the advisory committee for Milwaukee Area Technical College's Electronic Engineering Technology associate degree program, Dave Polka has a pretty clear idea about the kind of equipment needed to train students in electronics and electronic engineering.
Polka works as principal technical instructor for ABB, an international power and automation technologies company committed to helping institutions of higher education train future technicians. Based in ABB's New Berlin, Wis., office, Polka's job is to develop and implement effective training programs for ABB's distributors, service companies and end-users of motor speed controls.
His experience in training and awareness of the needs of MATC's program motivated him to help the college by approaching ABB's corporate management in New Berlin and requesting a donation of equipment for MATC.
Dave Polka, ABB Tom Heraly, MATC instructor
Need Latest in Technology
"I know first hand the value of an effective educational program," Polka said. "In order for MATC to be successful in turning out talented and skilled technical professionals, it needs to have the latest in technology."
Polka's request was approved and ABB recently donated programmable logic controllers (PLCs), drives and motors to equip 15 workstations for student training in electronic engineering technology, electronic technology and related fields. PLCs are digital computers used to automate electromechanical processes that run machinery on factory assembly lines and in similar applications.
"Anything that used to be manually controlled in a factory can now be done automatically," said Tom Heraly, an MATC electronic technology instructor who uses the ABB equipment in his teaching. "It allows us to control many operations at one time."
Tom Heraly, MATC electronic technology instructor, and apprentice Daun Redmond accelerate an ABB drive.
MATC electricity instructor Chuck Bleu points to the ABB programmable logic controller.
Polka said, "ABB is always looking for opportunities to invest in the future of our business. We believe that by investing in educational institutions, we are able to make a lasting impression for our business on the next generation of the workforce. Donations are really a two-way street. The college or university gains the use of current equipment and technology, and ABB and other companies reap the benefit of a well-trained workforce supplied by the educational institution. The old cliche is really appropriate. It's a win-win proposition for everyone involved."
"Donations are really a two-way street. The college or university gains the use of current equipment and technology, and ABB and other companies reap the benefit of a well-trained workforce supplied by the educational institution."
-- Dave Polka, ABB representative
Heraly said the ABB donation was a great help to the program. "It gives the students experience with working with different equipment from a variety of companies. They get a diverse experience by being able to work with technology from ABB, Rockwell and Siemens. That will help them when they enter the workforce or go on to further study in electronic engineering."
Eric Belmore, an industrial electrical apprentice from ATI Ladish Forging who is training at MATC, echoed that thought. "We have multiple programmable logic controllers from five manufacturers at our company," he said. "We need to know how to work on different styles of equipment. Different projects require PLCs with unique specialties. The ABB drives are very easy to work with. It's great to have the opportunity to work on this equipment."
MATC apprentice Eric Belmore wires the AC drive.
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