Angelina College in Lufkin, Texas, received a fluid power lab grant from the NFPA Education and Technology Foundation in July 2014. They used the funds to purchase three trainers—one hydraulic based and two pneumatic based. Each new learning system has a set of Learning Activity Packets (LAPs) that include objectives, activities, skills and reviews designed to help students understand and demonstrate the different aspects of hydraulic and pneumatic systems. The activities and exercises are hands-on and help students develop a practical understanding of each topic.
Four fluid power courses used the new fluid power trainers in the spring 2015 semester at Angelina:
• Advanced Hydraulics • Basic Fluid Power II—Pneumatics
• Basic Fluid Power I-Hydraulics • Hydraulics, Fabrication & Repair
The courses included assignments and lab experiences that demonstrated the use of the new hydraulic and pneumatic learning systems. Altogether, 56 students registered for the classes.
The Fluid Power Laboratory Grant Program helps establish state-of-the-art training labs at qualifying educational institutions. Hundreds of budding engineers use these labs to study fluid power with the eventual goal of working in the fluid power industry after they graduate.
Grant applications are judged in a number of areas—whether the lab uses both hydraulics and pneumatics, student involvement, what new projects are initiated and the lab’s multiplier effect to create other relevant projects and curricula. Several schools have taken advantage of the lab grant program in the past few years.
Western Michigan University students are currently using the lab in the IME3840 Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics class. It is anticipated that 130 students in five different undergraduate and graduate level classes will get hands-on experience with the lab each year. Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) used the grant for a new mechatronics/fluid power lab and many other schools are using the grant for similar purposes.
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