Development of a Programmable Logic Controller Training Unit for Engineering Technology Curriculum

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Engineering Technologies, Safety, and Construction

Publication Date



The Electronics Engineering Technology (EET) Program at Central Washington University (CWU) offers courses in Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) applications. The program previously relied on out-of-date, rack-mounted PLC equipment to support this class. While this provided the students with a procedural introduction to PLCs, it did not allow for a conceptual understanding or real world experience with the equipment. The EET Program recently developed an updated set of PLC units utilizing the Allen-Bradley CompactLogix® L30ER controller that allowed an open platform for the laboratory component of the class while fostering a conceptual understanding of the topic.

This paper presents an overview of the development cycle of the PLC training units created to support the engineering technology courses. It also summarizes curriculum developments supporting the associated courses using the PLC units. Finally, assessment results indicating that the new equipment has notably improved the educational experience and learning outcomes of the students is presented.


This article was originally published in 2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Proceedings. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.


2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Proceedings


© American Society for Engineering Education, 2015