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News from ECE not contained within mtu.edu/news

Nucor Industrial Control and Automation Lab Opens

Nucor_3

A ceremony was held Monday to celebrate completion of the new Nucor Industrial Control and Automation Laboratory in the Electrical Energy Resources Center. The state-of-the-art facility was made possible by a $255,000 gift from Nucor Corporation, the largest manufacturer of steel products in North America.

The laboratory is a collaborative effort of Electrical Engineering Technology in the School of Technology and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering. It is an example of cooperation within Michigan Tech’s new Alliance for Computing, Information and Automation (ACIA), which combines common interests among established academic units to better equip future graduates and to align research activities with contemporary technological challenges.

The laboratory consists of eight portable Amatrol Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) Learning Systems, equipped with Allen-Bradley CompactLogix 5300 PLCs and Human Machine Interface (HMI). These trainers enhance the teaching of PLC concepts and HMI programming using the latest generation of PLCs. The new technology also includes a fluid flow Process Control Learning System equipped with a Honeywell PID controller and four mechatronic stations fully integrated with a Fanuc Robotics System, enabling teaching of advanced concepts of PLC programming and overall system troubleshooting skills.

PLCs are an integral part of nearly all industrial processes today. A PLC is a digital computer used for the automation of a variety of electromechanical processes, including temperature ranges, immunity to electrical noise and resistance to vibration and impact. PLCs are often integrated with robotic technology.

“Graduates who will be employed in industries utilizing these systems must not only have basic knowledge of PLCs and robotics, but also the skills to integrate these systems,” said Jim Frendewey, dean of the School of Technology. “The knowledge and experience students receive will produce well-educated graduates with practical, hands-on experience designing, configuring and troubleshooting industrial control systems.”

Dan Fuhrmann, chair of electrical and computer engineering, said, “Knowledge and experience in control systems has been the single most sought-after skill set from our corporate recruiters looking to hire electrical engineering graduates, for the past several years. With the Nucor Laboratory we will take a major step forward in meeting the demands of industry and open up opportunities for our students.”

President Glenn Mroz emphasized the importance of the new lab as he spoke to those in attendance at the ceremony. “Michigan’s economy has gone from one of the worst to 16th for growth among the states in a very short time,” he said. ”We’re now in a renaissance in manufacturing, and the people graduating today have the knowledge and skills because of companies like Nucor who have made substantial investments in the education of Michigan Tech students. We realize that this represents a commitment both by Nucor and our faculty and staff that only comes about when people have a clear bead on priorities. We’re thankful to Nucor for helping our students have the best.”

Kurt Kalenauskas, an electrical engineering technology senior, said he is “jealous of the new students who get to learn and work with the equipment and technology the Nucor laboratory has to offer.”

Nucor has an established relationship with Michigan Tech that began in 2008, when the company sent two representatives to a Career Fair. They were so impressed that they asked Career Services how Nucor could help Michigan Tech help its students.  Since then, the company has become a Career Services Gold Partner, providing financial support and sending several representatives to campus before each Career Fair to work directly with students on interview and resume preparation.

“Nucor recruits technical talent and future leaders at Michigan Tech because Tech graduates have proven to be successful Nucor teammates,” said Dave Davolt, electrical supervisor at the company. “Nucor’s relationship and involvement with Michigan Tech has grown stronger over the years. This is evident with Nucor’s investment in technology relevant to today’s manufacturing industry. With these investments and partnerships, Nucor hopes to better equip students for postgraduation opportunities, which we hope they seek with Nucor. “

Aleksandr Sergeyev, an associate professor in the School of Technology with a special interest in robotics, will head the new laboratory, with faculty from both Electrical Engineering Technology and Electrical and Computer Engineering teaching there. Hundreds of students each year will participate in laboratory activities, and those numbers are expected to grow with future development of new advanced courses made possible by the capabilities of the lab.

ECE Academy, Class of 2014 Induction

ECE Academy, Class of 2014 inductees H. Paul Gay '70, Barry Van Veen '83, Michael Whitens '85, Lyman Morikawa '71
ECE Academy, Class of 2014 inductees H. Paul Gay ’70, Barry Van Veen ’83, Michael Whitens ’85, Lyman Morikawa ’71

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering welcomed five of its outstanding alumni to the ECE Academy, Class of 2014, at an induction ceremony held on Wednesday evening, August 6, in the Memorial Union Building Ballroom on the Michigan Tech campus. Inductees for the Class of 2014 are H. Paul Gay ’70, Lawrence Laurich ’65, Lyman Morikawa ’71, Barry Van Veen ’83, and Michael Whitens ’85. Mr. Laurich was unable to attend the ceremony due to illness and will be presented his induction plaque next week during a visit from Department Chair Dan Fuhrmann.

The inductees and guests also enjoyed a special message from guest speaker George Swenson, Jr. ’44. Dr. Swenson’s father was the founding chairman of the EE Department in 1928.

The purpose of the Academy is to honor outstanding graduates of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Technological University. Election to the Academy is made by the Executive Committee of the faculty, and recognizes excellence and leadership in the engineering profession and civic affairs. This induction honors some of the most successful of the over 8,800 ECE alumni of Michigan Tech. Portraits of the new Academy members will be added to the prominent display in the lobby of the EERC building, to inspire and motivate future generations of students in electrical and computer engineering.

For more information see ECE Academy.

 

First Place Award for Graduate Poster to Kaitlyn Bunker

Kaitlyn Bunker, Electrical and Computer Engineering, First Place, Posters, presented by Howard Haselhuhn of GSG, High Dimension Droop Control for Wind Resources in DC Microgrids

The main events of this symposium were a Poster Presentation Session and a Research Colloquium sponsored
by the Graduate Student Government

There is a report for the Graduate Research Colloquium 2014 with photos and awards.

Kaitlyn Bunker, Electrical and Computer Engineering, First Place, Posters, presented by Howard Haselhuhn of GSG, High Dimension Droop Control for Wind Resources in DC Microgrids

Space Solar Power Workshop a Success

Michigan Technological University, in collaboration with professionals from NASA, the Naval Research Laboratory, and the Space Solar Power Institute, hosted a Space Solar Power (SSP) workshop to clarify the challenges facing SSP implementation. The workshop was held in conjunction with the IEEE International Conference on Wireless for Space and Extreme Environments at Baltimore, MD, November 7 – 9, 2013. Researchers from Industry and Academia of many countries including India, Japan, UK and USA participated in this event. Continue reading

Silicon Valley Careers Panel

The Women in Computer Science presented a Silicon Valley Careers panel discussion about careers in Silicon Valley on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, at the Memorial Union Ballroom B.

Devyani Kamdar, Executive Director at Palo Alto Institute and Stephen Kahng, Founder and former Chairman and CEO Power Computing Corp., a Michigan Tech ’72 Electrical Engineering alumnus speaking at the panel discussion about careers in Silicon Valley sponsored by the Women in Computer Science. Stephen “Steve” Kahng, a computer engineer best known for his design of the Leading Edge Model D, founded the company in November 1993. Most recently, Mr. Kahng has been devoting most of his time to philanthropy and non-profit work. He is currently on the Board of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. He is also an active Board member at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Continue reading

Research Experience for Undergraduates Summer 2013

Students in the Research Experience for Undergraduates REU summer 2013 programpresented posters on research projects they have worked on over the summer. The project topics include: measurement of diesel emission particulate matter, experimental hybrid vehicle fuel system, lithium ion battery characterization and SOC measurement, hybrid vehicle dynamometer test stand development, heavy duty truck driving simulation, and measuring temperature variations in combustion vessels.

Bruce Mork Named Wiitanen Professor of Electric Power Systems

Bruce Mork, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been named the Dennis Wiitanen Professor of Electric Power Systems.

The Wiitanen Professorship was established to honor longtime ECE faculty member Dennis Wiitanen, who retired in May 2012. Unlike most professorships, which are named for a single donor, the Wiitanen Professorship is supported by an endowment underwritten by a variety of industry, foundation, and alumni sources, including ITC Holdings, Consumers Energy Foundation, DTE Energy Foundation and electrical engineering alumnus David Brule.

Mork was named to the position after a yearlong selection process. He received high praise from leaders in the power industry and was unanimously supported by the major sponsors of the professorship.

“Bruce is the natural choice for the Wiitanen Professorship,” said Dan Fuhrmann, chair of electrical and computer engineering. “He has been a leader in teaching, research and curriculum development in the power and energy area within the ECE department and across campus for many years. He is a leading expert in power system protection, an area of critical need in the utility power industry as our infrastructure transitions to the smart grid. Plus, he was the driving force behind our online courses in power and energy, a model for the rest of the department and indeed the rest of the University.”

Dennis Wiitanen was also gratified by Mork’s appointment.

“I have had the pleasure of watching Bruce grow from a newly minted PhD assistant professor at Michigan Tech to an internationally recognized leader in the power field,” he said. “I am very pleased that he will be the first recipient of the professorship carrying my name.”

Bruce Mork was honored in his acceptance.

“It’s been a privilege to work with Dennis over the last 21 years of his outstanding 42 year career at Michigan Tech. He’s been an exemplary senior colleague and role model for us all. It’s an honor for me to be the first recipient of this prestigious Professorship. The resources provided will support ongoing developments in education and research which strategically address technology and work force needs of the Electric Power sector. We owe a lot to Dennis and this will greatly help us to maintain and advance our strong program.”

The professorship has a five-year renewable term and carries with it an annual discretionary stipend to support research equipment, graduate students and other expenses to build and maintain an active research program in the power area.