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Manufacturing Modules

Project 1: Batch Mix System for Polyisocyanurate Foam Insulation

Project Overview


The purpose of this project is to incorporate employability skills (teamwork, problem solving, verbal communication, written communication, dependability/work ethic, and planning and organizing skills) into activities that are related to the creation of a control program and application of design methodology.

This project presents an open-ended design problem that requires students to examine previously learned programming constructs. The project utilizes a formal problem-solving methodology called IDEAL and makes extensive use of reflective writing, wherein students monitor their own project results, compare them to that of their peers, then analyze and adjust their own learning process.

This project is divided into three main activity sessions:

Activity Session 1: Project introduction and kick-off, distribution of materials, formal instruction on problem-solving, planning, and reflective writing. Duration: 30 minutes. Note that these activities could also be done completely asynchronously using a learning management system (LMS).
Activity Session 2: During this session students break into small groups for in-class discussions of their IDE Mind Maps and Second Round Student Action Plans. Following the discussion, students may choose to revise their Mind Map, Action Plan, and Flow Chart and resubmit them, either at the end of the discussion or after class using the LMS. All students write and submit their IDE Stage Reflective Thought Questions during this session. Duration: 50-60 minutes.
Activity Session 3: During this session students present their 3-minute My Solution Oral Presentations. Duration is as needed for all students to present.

Courses for Implementation:

  • Intro to PLC Programming
  • Intro to Programmable IC Controllers
  • Intro to C++ Programming
  • LABVIEW (or other process control programming language courses)

Key Terms/Major Topics:

  • PLC programming
  • Ladder logic programming
  • Sequential statement programming
  • Counters
  • Timers
  • Compare functions
  • Binary input data
  • Binary output data
  • Analog input data
  • Analog output data


  • Standard classroom technology equipment (computer, projector, etc.)
  • Authoring application for a programming language that supports data collection and storage, data compare functions, data mathematical operation functions, timer, and counter functions, and provides simulation capabilities. (i.e., Learning Pit’s LogixPro, Allen Bradley’s RS Logix, Siemens’ STEP 7, Borland’s C++ 5.5 Compiler, Parallax’s PBASIC (free))
  • A prepared simulation model that is compatible with the authoring control program and provides the described system inputs, outputs, and functionality (i.e., Learning Pit’s Batch Mixer simulation)
  • Presentation authoring software to create visual content to complement an oral presentation (i.e., Microsoft Office PowerPoint, PowToon, Prezi, Prezentit)
  • Diagram authoring software to create flow charts, piping, and instrument diagrams (i.e., Microsoft Office Visio, Microsoft Office Word, Gliffy (free), Lucidchart (free), yED (free)).