Education News

Curtin Malaysia partners Ultech to empower electrical engineering students with automation control workshop

May 25, 2023 | Campus News

Miri – 25 May 2023 - Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) recently partnered with Ultech, a local technology solutions provider and distributor, to give its electrical engineering students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in automation control through a practical laboratory workshop.

Conducted by Ultech engineers Wang Zhi Xian, Kelvin Tiong Ka Yung and Wong Voon Xing, all of whom are Curtin alumni, as well as marketing executive Adelene Tie Seok Hui at Curtin Malaysia’s Electrical Engineering Laboratory, the workshop exposed the participating students to the latest automation control technologies, and  allowed them to gain practical experience in automation control using programmable logic controllers (PLC).

Joining the students in the workshop were Head of Curtin Malaysia’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Terence Tan Peng Lian, and Coordinator for Industrial and External Engagement, Prof. Garenth Lim King Hann.

During the workshop, the engineers demonstrated some of the latest Siemens PLC (programmable logic controllers) and automation systems developed by German technology giant Siemens for industrial automation, process industry, and production.

They also gave the students valuable insights into the practical applications of the technology, sharing how PLCs can be used to improve automation control, and introducing the students to the Modbus communication protocol that facilitates communication between two devices to exchange data.

“As a renowned international university, Curtin Malaysia is committed to providing its students with exceptional learning experiences. This collaboration with Ultech exemplifies this commitment by providing students with access to real-world applications of automation control technologies, preparing them for their future careers,” said Prof. Lim.

He said the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has also collaborated with other companies like Alibaba Cloud, Sarawak Information Systems (SAINS) and Sarawak Energy Berhad to provide students immersive, real-world experiences.

Tan, meanwhile, said the Department has embedded an industrial module for fourth-year students using PLC programming for industrial applications.

“The involvement of industry experts in the workshop enhances the student learning experience and helps ensure the students are job-ready when they graduate. This strong industry relevance and engagement is among the reasons our course is industry accredited and recognised," he said.

Commenting on the significance of the workshop, unit lecturer Dr. Wong Kiing Ing who organised it, said such workshops not only allowed the students to learn from industry experts and gain practical experience, but also paved the way for further collaboration with Ultech.

He said the collaboration with Ultech goes back a long way and numerous workshops have been held with the company to empower students with the latest industry knowledge and practical experience in automation. The workshops combine theoretical knowledge with practical experience, making it an essential component of their overall educational experience.

Validating this, final-year student Alan Tiong Ka Wei said that he learned a lot about Modbus, and function block, function and PID (Proportional – Integral – Derivative) controllers from the workshop.

He explained that PID controllers are designed to regulate and maintain a desired setpoint or target value for a specific variable such as temperature, pressure or flow rate so that it does not overshoot or underdamp. The difference between function and function block is that function block contains memory while function does not. Also, function blocks are designed to be reusable and modular and they can be easily integrated into larger control programmes.

“Participating in the workshop really enhanced my knowledge of PLCs. I gained considerable insights into their applications and functionalities,” said Tiong.

Curtin Malaysia offers Curtin’s four-year Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical and Electronic Engineering (BEng Hons) which is double-accredited by Engineers Australia and the Board of Engineers Malaysia. Taught by highly-experienced teaching staff, many with extensive industrial experience, the course provides students with fundamental and advanced knowledge relevant to industry with theory, computer simulation and practical components.

To find out more about the Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, visit courses.curtin.edu.my.

Information on Curtin Malaysia can be found on its website at www.curtin.edu.my, or look for Curtin Malaysia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn or TikTok.

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