Aroostook County – Through a lot of innovation, cooperation and motivation Northern Maine Community College will soon have new training equipment for students and local industry. 

NMCC

Irving Woodlands, Maine Woods Co., J.M. Huber and Louisiana Pacific among others communicated a need for further training in the area of industrial automation systems, and specifically for programmable logic controllers or PLCs.  While NMCC already offers a course covering PLCs, industry leaders were requesting more specialized training for the technology that has been installed in their plants.

After checking into the cost of the particular equipment, Electrical/Electronics instructor Chuck Kelley knew he’d have to come up with a better solution.

“The available equipment was very expensive and none had all the needed functionality,” said Kelley.  “To fit our needs more precisely, I designed a PLC trainer that works with our existing curriculum and added the necessary options to better support industrial networking and operator interfaces.”

Many components were ordered but some parts had to be fabricated in house.  The Welding and Metal Fabrication program along with the Precision Machining program stepped up to produce precise metal mounting plates.  Students in the Electrical Construction and Maintenance program worked together to complete the assembly stage of the project.  Six identical trainers have been assembled for a total cost of $28,000 compared to $19,000 each if purchased commercially.

The trainers have been assembled and are ready for wiring. They will be fully operational and ready for use next fall.

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