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ABB Technology Centre a boon for Sydney Uni students

ABB and the University of Sydney have worked together to build an official ABB Technology Centre at the university campus, which encompasses 15 full-blown technology demonstrations that will allow students at the university’s School of Electrical and Information Engineering to gain hands-on experience.

According to ABB Australia CEO, John Gaskell, the centre was a significant investment for the control and automation company in terms of the equipment supplied and the time spent by ABB technical experts in consultation with the university.

“More than two years was spent with the university in the planning of this centre where ABB has 15 different technology demonstrations,” Gaskell told PACE.

“These include low and medium voltage switchgear, an AC and DC variable speed drive system, substation automation systems, instrument and distribution transformers, process control system and an industrial robot amongst others. This investment is not about cost but about ABB’s commitment to the next generation of power engineers.”

The ABB Technology Centre is the first of its kind in Australia and, according to Gaskell, will “close the gap between academia and industry”.

“The centre integrates many professional functions to facilitate learning, industry training and continuous interaction between students, academia and industry,” he said.

Moving forward, ABB will be on the lookout for more opportunities to partner with education institutions. “Within Australia, ABB will continue to look for opportunities to support facilities and programs that help the development of young aspiring automation and electrical engineers and strengthen Australia’s long term competitiveness. We are currently investigating the possibility of establishing a relationship with an educational institution in Western Australia, similar to our partnering arrangement with the University of Sydney’s School of Electrical and Information Engineering,” Gaskell said.

The new centre will allow students at the university to gain hands-on experience with expensive ABB process control gear that ABB expects will accelerate their learning.

“The new centre enables students to access technologies such as the installation of ABB’s IEC 61850 Substation Automation equipment that incorporates microSCADA and advanced digital relays: making it a truly unique piece of infrastructure in Australia,” Gaskell said.

The vision for the centre was championed by EnergyAustralia chair of power engineering, Professor Vassilios Agelidis, who is an advocate of the integrated teaching approach. “The ABB Technology Centre was a concept born to highlight the breadth of talent of Australia’s young engineers and act as a beacon for the way in which electrical engineering will be taught. We have now seen this dream come to reality with the opening of the centre,” he said at the official launch.

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