Instrumentation and Operational Controls

Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA)

MMA’s undergraduate engineering curriculum needed an update. It provided traditional classroom training in fundamental instrumentation and operational controls, however, the Academy’s engineering advisory board – in recognition of emerging advancements in instrumentation and control technologies – recognized the need for modern, state-of-the-art instrumentation and control laboratory spaces and curriculum.

The Customer

Massachusetts Maritime Academy is a top-ranked university in Buzzards Bay, MA. The Academy’s undergraduate programs prepare students for careers in the Maritime industry as well as Life Sciences through engineering planning, design, and installation of technical equipment systems required for power generation and management.

These systems assist in the distribution of electrical power with the ability to engage in all facets of energy engineering. The fast-growing Life Sciences industry has a high-demand for graduates with technical problem-solving skills.

The Solution

Given a referral from AET Labs, a local reseller and education consultant, MMA selected Festo Didactic to provide their cadets with more effective hands-on training and equip them with the practical skills needed to work successfully in plant and facility management – particularly those supporting the growing Life Sciences industry in the Boston area.

“In consultation with the Academy’s Engineering Advisory board, which includes industry experts, the Festo equipment was selected as it allows for precise training and practice on pressure, flow, level, and temperature process learning systems, while introducing students to a wide range of industrial processes that include instruments and control devices such as PLC plus control logics such as PID and On/Off,” explained Dr. Ashraf Omran, Associate Professor of Facilities Engineering at MMA.

The new learning systems feature process and instrumentation workstations that allow instructors to select specific equipment as a function of the training objectives. The energy efficient units allow for several configurations regarding pressure, flow, level, and temperature. The learning systems also include complex control loop strategies that simulate controlling a level in a boiler, advanced controls such as cascade and feed-forward loops. “The new training systems definitely enhanced our existing Instrumentation and Operational Controls curriculum. Using state-of-the-art equipment like Didactic’s 3531 series is ideal to train students in facilities management and the growing process control industry. Modern technology-driven facilities require personnel experienced in complex operational controls, which these learning systems are specifically designed to provide,” Dr. Omran added.

Grant Funding from Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC)

With proposal support provided by AET Labs, a grant from MLSC was awarded. This allowed MMA to have their initial investment matched and plans for Phase I were underway. Phase I (Instrumentation, Operation and Controls (IOC) engineering laboratory) included the acquisition and installation of a technologically advanced training platform to better guide students through the study of pump systems, temperature, pressure and flow controls. The upgrades supported three undergraduate engineering program facilities, equipment, and curriculum.