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Laboratory experiences are an important component of the education of engineering students. Rotating machinery laboratories assist with the visualization of the three-dimensional and rotating equipment. Contemporary use of rotating machines in industry often includes adjustable speed drives and digital controllers. Additionally, instrumentation is used to feedback electrical and mechanical variables to the drives and controls. Using an equipment grant from an industrial automation manufacturer, cost-effective laboratory workstations have been developed. Industrial-grade equipment is not designed for student experimentation but was adapted for this use. The workstations described in this paper incorporate modern power electronic-based drives and motors, electrical and mechanical sensors, and a computer-based control system with data acquisition. The advantages of these workstations include cost-effectiveness and the use of actual industrial devices that students might encounter in industry. Additionally, the workstations can be accessed by remote users, enabling off-campus students to also perform experiments on the workstations. The paper includes details of the workstation and its components, the data acquisition and control system, and sample experimental results.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2009