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Darrell Caron

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INTELITEK UPDATES PLCMOTION WITH 64-BIT COMPATIBILITY

PLCMotion software, enabling enriched technology instruction through simulated PLC systems, is now available for 64-bit systems

Manchester, NH – Sept 9, 2014 –Intelitek announced the release of PLCMotion version 8.1 with compatibility for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 64-bit computer systems. This update, available for the English language version of the software, will be available as a free upgrade for existing users. Like the 32-Bit version, the 64-bit version requires a serial port to be installed on the computer connected to PLC.
Click here to download the new version!

Click here to download the user manual.

About PLCMotion

PLCMotion is a powerful PLC simulation control software that allows students to program a PLC and simulate industrial applications. This simulation software lets students observe and understand the control logic behind the operation of industrial PLCs, ladder logic programming, inputs and output devices and electrical control.
When integrated with Intelitek’s PLC Technology e-learning courses and optional PLCLine hardware training panel, PLCMotion makes a dynamic element of a comprehensive technology training program. The combination of interactive e-learning, graphic simulation software and PLC hardware provides an effective blended learning experience.

About Intelitek

Intelitek transforms education across the globe through comprehensive technology learning solutions. Our innovative tools and technologies empower instructors and inspire students to improve the world around them. We understand the changing needs of your career and technology classrooms and design flexible solutions that meet those needs within the framework of any budget. Our sustainable support and professional development ensure the continued success of your programs. By helping to deliver the competencies needed for in-demand careers, we are producing results for students, teachers, nations and economies.


Purdue College of Technology Enhances Curriculum with Competition

Extra-curricular robotics challenge enhances cross-disciplinary curriculum at Purdue University

Purdue Kokomo

What happens when you take a little inspiration mixed with some competitive challenge, add some vendor support, then toss in some motivated students? It’s a recipe for success in engineering programs as proven by Purdue College of Technology Kokomo. What started off as an extra-curricular robotics challenge has evolved into a full-blown multidisciplinary engineering course that will debut this fall.

A Challenge for Faculty and Students

The seeds of this initiative were planted when members of Purdue Kokomo attended an ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education) conference. A demo at the conference gave the faculty the idea to design a student activity based on a robotics football contest.

They discussed the idea with Paul Copioli, President of VEX. Realizing the potential of the idea, VEX contributed a variety of Vex parts to help initiate the project. Thus the challenge was issued between Purdue College of Technology Kokomo and University of Notre Dame to design and build a team of football-playing robots and compete in an NFL style “combine”.

The combine would test specific robotic “skills” by means of individual events, testing the robot speed, agility, strength and robustness. The skill events would be followed by the teams competing in a scrimmage designed after American football.

The challenge appealed to students on various degree pathways, including Computer and Information Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology, Engineering Technology, and Mechanical Engineering Technology.

The challenge would be achieved using the VEX robotics platform and EasyC programming software as tools. Students held weekly meetings to discuss designs. They were required to develop design specifications and justifications for the design they chose. After a couple of months of training and design meetings, the students completed a working prototype.

Purdue Kokomo Football Prototype

Game Day

The big event was held at the University of Notre Dame’s Joyce Center in April 2014. Five teams participated: Purdue-Kokomo, The U.S. Naval Academy, University of Notre Dame, Purdue-Calumet, and Purdue-South Bend.

Purdue Kokomo Football Combine

Purdue-Kokomo won both the speed and the agility tests, while Navy won the strength test. The scrimmage featured Purdue-Kokomo and Navy teamed up against Notre Dame, with the Kokomo/Navy team defeating Notre Dame 14-0.

Purdue Kokomo Football Speedtest

Read the game story at Purdue website!

A Course is Born

The real winners resulting from the event were the current and future students at Purdue. Since this extracurricular activity was so successful, it has given birth to an entirely new class: “Design of Robotic Systems”. This class will help prepare students for the activity by covering the design principles involved. Topics will include designing mobile robots to accomplish specified performance objectives, developing robotic subsystems, and robotic programming. Throughout the course, students learn the system development process, including planning, documentation, prototyping, testing, and analysis.

The course will be taught by faculty from all four academic areas and will be offered in fall of 2014. This is an excellent example of the value of extra-curricular activities in motivating students and enabling them to take ownership of their educational experience.



Mike Rowe and Mobile Robotics at SkillsUSA!

2014-07_SkillsUSA_Rowe_2360

SkillsUSA is calling this years National Leadership and Skills Conference the best ever – and we would have to agree!

This year, Intelitek’s Automated Manufacturing Technology contest was made a closer replication of the industrial environment. Teams created virtual parts with our CNCMotion software before moving on to the hands-on production with our ProMill 8000. This modification to the contest received great feedback from the competitors and advisors.

The Robotics and Automation contest also ran smoothly again this year with the Puerto Rico team earning the High School Gold Medal and North Arkansas College earning the Post Secondary Championship.

At the Mobile Robotics field, we received a terrific surprise when Mike Rowe, a perennial supporter of CTE and SkillsUSA (also of the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” fame), visited the Mobile Robotics competition!

Trevor Pope, Intelitek’s Product Manager and Mobile Robotics competition committee member spent over an hour with Mr. Rowe in the Mobile Robotics contest area showing him what we do. Along with help from RECF, we built him a robot and created a mini competition against the Massachusetts team, which uses EasyC. Mike named the robot “Micro / Macro” and autographed the shielding.
2014-07_SkillsUSA_Rowe_2218

Best yet, Intelitek will be featured on Mike Rowe’s new CNN show “Somebody’s Gotta Do It“! The program is expected to air on CNN in October. This will provide extensive publicity to Intelitek’s REC program and EasyC on a national news network!

Working with Mr. Rowe at SkillUSA was great fun, and were glad to be a part of the work he does in creating awareness of the awesome opportunities that exist for students in career and technology education!
See our Facebook page for more pictures!


VEX Skyrise – Lessons from Team 1103!

VEX Round Up Champion Team 1103 – Compound Chain Lifting Mechanism

With the release of the 2014 VEX SkyRise challenge , mechanisms and strategies for lifting are a hot topic among potential competitors! We have fielded many inquiries about the lifting mechanism from Team 1103’s robot which won the 2010 championship. 1103 is one of the most successful VEX robot designs and lifting mechanisms ever created! No doubt there are some excellent lessons and principles in the design of the 1103 robot that could apply to Skyrise.

Vex Team 1103 robot

Team 1103 is a rarity – a one man team. Joshua Wade – whom we interviewed in 2011 – is the sole team member. Team 1103 has won several regional contests and awards including the 2010 VEX robotics Programming Skills Challenge World Champion and the 2011 Vex Robotics National Champion for the 2010-2011 Round Up season.

Design

The 1103 robot uses a compound chained linear slide lifting mechanism reaching 40″ high. The base of the claw lifts to 23″ off the ground. Principles of this lifting design as well as other lifting concepts are available in Intelitek’s Robotics Engineering Curriculum (REC 2 Unit 11 – Lift Systems).

The purely vertical multiple-stage lift uses 17.5″ slides cut to 15″ and operates using a total of six 269 motors coupled in three sets of two motors. Each motor is linked to a single output shaft with a 1:1 ratio.
REC 1 Unit 3 – Gears and Gear Trains explains the physics principles involved in designing gears and gear trains. The output gearing is reduced with 2 sets of 1-1.5 reductions using 12, 18 and 24-toothed cogs. These motors and gears provide enough power to lift the entire robot off the ground.

VEX Team 1103 robot lift mechanism

1103 motors, cogs and chain drive

Programming

The exceptional programming was performed using Intelitek’s EasyC V4 for Cortex programming software. The intuitive environment of EasyC allows users to quickly learn skills needed to become an advanced programmer.

The 1103 robot program utilizes PID control giving the ability to hold the lifting mechanism using feedback from a quadrature encoder and limit switch which control the position of the lift. Wade wrote the program using the easyC sample file “PID Interrupt Service Routine” modified for the quadrature encoder. PID control loops hold the arm position at six different increments giving the operator quick and easy points to maintain elevation of the arm and hold the ring pick up position. This delivers the ability to score (and de-score) on both the floor weeble goals and wall goal posts, offering excellent application for the Skyrise challenge!

Team 1103 is a great example of the unlimited potential students have when engaged and motivated by their educational environment. The success shows that competitive robotics is the means of providing that environment for many more students.

You can check out the 1103 robot in person at our upcoming events, including the SkillsUSA National Championship June 25th and 26th in Kansas City, Mo!

Get your free trial! A full-featured 7-day trial of easyC V4 for Cortex is available here!

Try easyC!


EasyC v4 Update

easyC update

We are happy to announce the latest update to EasyC®!

EasyC v4 for VEX Robotics now delivers event more usability and compatibility with VEXnet 2.0! The update is free to all licensed users of easyC v4!

Improved Features

    • Compatibility with VEXnet firmware upgrade utility v4.1.0 and mastercode v4.2 for Joystick and Cortex
    • System Info shows wireless connection method: VEXnet 1.0 or VEXnet 2.
    • EasyC VEX System Info Radio firmware verification
    • Four new Smart Tasks -> Robot Driving easyC function blocks for curve driving
      • Drive Curve
      • Drive Curve – Time Control
      • Drive Curve Degrees (for Smart Motors)
      • Drive Curve Rotations (for Smart Motors)
    • New Ultrasonic sensor function block returns distance in centimeters and inches
    • Various other enhancements

Learn more about EasyC here!

Upgrade now! Visit the EasyC update page to start taking advantage of these new features!

Upgrade now!


You can also update from the EasyC window: Click Help > Check for Updates.


Skilled Trades: Hardest Postions for Employers to Fill

Manpower Skilled Trades Report

STEM Education Essential for Solving the Talent Shortage

According to research by ManpowerGroup, for the fourth year in a row, skilled trades rank as the most difficult jobs to fill in the United States. The root cause is the lack of skilled engineers, machinists, electricians, mechanics, and technicians available in today’s workforce.

These professions requiring skilled talent are emerging at a faster rate than they can be filled. For those pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), this presents a world of opportunity. Constantly changing technologies demand new skills, resulting in the creation of new jobs. Meanwhile, a majority of skilled workers in the U.S. are either approaching or exceeding age 50, indicating an even greater demand for these jobs in the future.

What is the solution? Effective STEM education!

Manpower report: Get training

As shown in the Manpower report, STEM education provides the best opportunity to close the skills gap. Whether through 4-year degrees, two-year career programs or shorter certificate programs, STEM education equips students with the skills that lead to high-demand, high-salaried, meaningful jobs. Students who pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are creating better potential and more security for their futures, as well as for the futures of their respective economies.


SkillsNH Students set Sights on National Competition

March 14th kicked off this year’s annual SkillsUSA NH State Skills and Leadership conference, wherein students competed for the title of best-in-state across 30 events related to technical, skilled, and service occupations. We were proud to host the Automated Manufacturing Technology (AMT) competition at our Manchester, NH, headquarters on March 21st. It is always rewarding to see firsthand students fully engaged in their education, involved in a program that truly makes a difference in their lives. Andrew Clark, Alec Lemelin and Jacob Paradis from the Richard W. Creteau Regional Technology Center at Spaulding High School in Rochester, NH, won gold at this years event. On to on Kansas City for the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference!

The Skills competitions convey the value of collaboration and teamwork in a tangible way. Communicating, defining roles, managing time – all these are part of the process in competitive events, and students realize the value in a more concrete manner that through conceptual instruction.

To see these students succeeding, thriving, and setting goals in such an educational environment demonstrates how effective competitive events are in helping students reach their potential by delivering tangible job-ready, college-ready skills.

In the process, we also help to bridge the skills gap in the workforce even in some of the hardest to fill positions! More on that phenomenon in a later post. For now, we simply tip our hat to the great SkillsUSA students competing over the past month, and offer our thanks for the reminder of why all of us at Intelitek are so proud to do what we do in support of education!


High School Program fills Industry Need for Skilled Graduates

SUNY Adirondack

Adirondack Community College, part of State University of New York (SUNY), and WSWHE BOCES (Washington-Saratoga- Warren-Hamilton-Essex Board of Cooperative Educational Services) have teamed up in an innovative program to prepare students to be career- and college-ready.

A robust college experience for high school students

The Early College High School Program, part of a public-private partnership, takes a new approach to dual-enrollment. Instead of offering college-credit programs at their own high school campus, students are bussed to SUNY Adirondack’s college campus for a half-day of courses co-taught by SUNY professors and the WSWHE BOCES high school CTE instructor.

SUNY Adirondack and WSWHE

This first-in-the-nation strategy delivers a robust college experience for high school students, with the goal of bolstering their skills and credentials upon graduation. Available starting in the junior year for students who pass the placement exam, participants can earn 7 credits
each semester, up to 24 college credits by the end of the 2-year program.

Multiple pathways to success

The program provides multiple pathways to success for students. For students seeking direct-to-workforce employment, four industry certifications are available. The dual-enrollment credits also seamlessly integrate into Adirondack’s Electrical Technology
Associates degree program. Credits also transfer to any 2- or 4-year degree program.
SUNY Adirondack WSWHE student

Project-based learning prepares students for industry certification

Project-based learning is the backbone of this program, featuring hands-on activities with industrial-level manufacturing equipment. Intelitek, a global developer of career and technology training systems specializing in advanced manufacturing, provided curriculum for the program. Students can access online curriculum through an e-learning platform that guides them through projects using the classroom hardware in topics like CAD, precision measurement, mechanical systems and electrical systems.

“Intelitek courses provide excellent exam prep for the MSSC assessments”

The relevant curriculum helps connect students to relevant skills needed in the workforce, thus helping to meet the program’s goal to connect the skills taught in the classroom with the needs of employers. To validate these skills, students also have the opportunity to earn industry certifications throughout the course. At the end of semester 1, students can take the MSSC Safety assessment; semester 2 leads to the Quality Practices & Measurement certification; Semester 3 -Manufacturing Processes & Production; and semester 4 prepares students for the Maintenance Awareness assessment.

“The Intelitek courses provide excellent exam prep for the MSSC assessments.” says Gage Simpson, Career and Technology Instructor for the WSHWE BOCES. In order to teach the courses, Simpson needed to pass the same assessments.
SUNY Adirondack WSWHE student

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher praised Early College High School’s “innovative program that connects high school, college and the world of work, all aligned through a single challenging curriculum that keeps students focused, engaged and excited.” Such a collaboration between industry and education can serve as a model for success.
SUNY Adirondack WSWHE student



Intelitek FMS stands alone at GESS in Dubai

GESS Show 2014 in Dubai World Trade Center

FMS at GESS 2014

Earlier in March we attended GESS (Gulf Educational Supplies and Solutions) show at the Dubai World Trade Centre. We featured our modular Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) for its ability to meet a wide range of academic requirements and budgets. At the show, we displayed our FMS system with SCORBOT-ER9 Pro educational robot and CNC BenchMill 6000 Milling Center machine. The system came with a table, parts feeder and Open FMS software that provide a comprehensive solution for the study and practice of FMS methods and operations.

The successful installation drew many people to the booth. This was the first time our FMS system was exhibited outside the USA and it was the only FMS in the show. For many it was the first time they saw the BenchMill 6000 in action.

From the intense interest we received in this system, we have a renewed appreciation for the global demand for training solutions that can deliver manufacturing skills!


EasyC makes a strong showing at VEX Regional Championship

2014-NE-winners_1
Excitement is building for the VEX Robotics World Championship in April, with over 9600 VEX teams around the world participating in over 700 events this season already!

This past weekend marked the wrap-up of the State and Regional Championships, in which teams qualify for the World Championship. The New England HS Regional Championship for New England (MA, RI, NH, VT) was held in Worcester, MA on March 1st and 2nd, 2014.

The champions:

  • Team 40A – Canned Ham Trinity Robotics – Manchester, NH
  • Team 40F – Déjà vu – Trinity Robotics – Manchester, NH
  • Team 44 – Green Egg Robotics – Oakham, MA

All three champions possessed one common attribute: they used EasyC to program their robots! In addition, Team 44 Green Egg Robotics pulled in the Excellence award and the Robot Skills award!

Congratulations to all competitors – and see you at Worlds!


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