AUBURN — The winners of a competition among students in the electromechanical technology program at Central Maine Community College were announced recently. The competition challenge was to design a P&ID (piping and instrumentation diagram) for automating the waterfall and pond that is located in the ELT lab. The diagrams needed to include all existing piping and wiring and the addition of new devices to give the pond some automation. A bill of materials for the modifications was also required.

The student winners were David Cramer, Mark Blaquiere, Chad Broughton and Scott Terkelsen.

The students embraced the challenge without complete understanding of how all the devices function. They had to ask questions and gather data, much as they would have to do as technicians in the field.

As a result of the students’ design work, several changes to the pond can be implemented during the next semester. Some of these include having the pond fill and drain automatically through new solenoid valves, maintaining the pond’s level through an ultrasonic level sensor, controlling the rate of flow for the waterfalls through a variable frequency drive on the pond pump motor and adding a human machine interface that will allow an operator to change the level and speed of the water flow and monitor the system status.

The program prepares students for careers in electricity and electronic fields that require technicians capable of dealing with the challenge of rapid changes in technology. Emphasis is placed on providing a solid theoretical background in electricity and electronics balanced with industrial control technologies.

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