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Empowering Students with Industry 4.0 Principles - Strata Innovative Solutions

Strata at Texas State Technical College

The Challenge
The 4th Industrial Revolution is here, and it is reshaping the plant floor through Digital Transformation. Access to real-time data, cloud computing, and machine learning are the driving forces behind Industry 4.0. Schools like Texas State Technical College needed a hands-on way to deliver student learning that targeted smart manufacturing and other technologies that give graduates a set of tools that make them more competitive with employers.

Texas State Technical College is a 2-year Technical College with Programs specializing in fields such as Engineering and Manufacturing, Environmental, Safety, Allied Health, and Computer/Information Technology. TSTC works hand in hand with some of the world’s top organizations, using those companies’ machinery, technology, and equipment during hands-on training, so students are ideal candidates by the time they graduate. The companies range from Tesla, Caterpillar, Chevron or Oncor Utilities.

TSTC needed a partner to develop a new Hands-On “Industry 4.0 Program” and set of tools that leverage some of the principles while teaching core technical topics to students that show the impact of Digital Transformation in the field or on the plant floor. The industry 4.0 Project needed to provide technical focus in areas such as:

• Robotic Integration and Troubleshooting in various plant floor settings and real-life issues
• Training in the Automation Stack and Protocols like MQTT, I/O Link, Ethernet/IP
• Essentials and Advanced PLC Programming, Troubleshooting, and Integration
• Industrial Control Devices and Production Control Equipment on the plant floor or in the field

The complete program and system culminate with an Industry 4.0 Senior Capstone Project that allows students to apply the knowledge and skills gained in the program. The course will be taken after completing specific specialized courses in the program, including programmable logic controller, industrial control devices, and production control. The question was how to incorporate the hands-on products and integration aligned with the teaching objectives. Strata Innovative Solutions was up for the challenge of incorporating TSTC’s goals along with developing and supplying core products and integrated solutions.

The Right Integrator – Not all Integrators are created equal
Founded in 1997, we are an engineering and product systems integrator with experience solving business issues for Manufacturing Clients who need to drive value from plant floor operations and provide direct boots-on-the-ground support anywhere in the automation stack. Over the last twenty years, we’ve become a trusted resource to companies nationwide. We integrate connected technologies with production equipment and business systems to streamline processes, increase communication, and add value to your organization

Strata also partnered with our Factory Representative at Automated Dynamics to create a suite of products that were already on the plant floor and used by all the same private companies whose equipment TSTC Students spend time working on and training within their respective learning tracks.

Hands-on skills for the Plant Floor
Strata is delivering a project for TSTC that delivers some essential tools in their hands-on labs that will place students at an advantage and provide fundamental skills employers want. Some of the critical technologies that will be available to students include:

  • Omron & Universal Robot Cooperative Technologies to achieve the objectives in robotic technologies for Pick and Place or other functions on the plant floor
  • Banner and Turck Vision Systems or products for quality inspection and Safety System Technologies
  • Turck PLC Family of products for integration and troubleshooting
  • Redlion Flex Edge Device Integration and Product Family for Installation, Integration, and Troubleshooting with protocols like MQTT and I/O Link
  • Banner RFID System Integration for Track & Trace Configuration or Troubleshooting
  • Ignition SCADA System Integration with Edge Device, Communication, Data-Driven Insights, Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE0 and Production Control in real-time.

The Hands-on Lab will feature some of the growing technologies and protocols prevalent across the field or plant floor in almost any company leading the way in Industry 4.0 or heading toward Digital Transformation. The lab is expected to offer an alignment of teachable principles with hands-on technical experience that sets the path for TSTC Students in a technical space pining for graduates with the right skill sets. The Industry 4.0 Lab is expected to go live in January 2023 in time for Spring Semester Students.

Working with Texas State Technical College essentially places Strata Innovative Solutions on the “frontline” of industrial challenges when seeking a qualified and skilled workforce. Solving Plant Floor or Team issues allows Stata to deliver solutions in Technology Integration for any client, even in a classroom designed to create the next generation of technical experts.

How we can help your team bring real value that starts in the classroom or on the plant floor?