Virtual Environments in Advanced Mfg

Innovators at Work

| By: Britten, Casey

Innovators at Work: How Fox Valley Tech is adapting to historic times with inventive solutions for students and efforts that uplift our community.     


Virtual Environments in Advanced Manufacturing     

High-tech operating systems and production applications in manufacturing constantly rely on skilled programmers to make them work. The COVID-19 crisis has imposed challenges to hands-on learning in advanced manufacturing. For example, Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) technology is one skill set that local manufacturers rely heavily on.

Thanks to a culture of ingenuity at Fox Valley Tech, faculty have set up virtual environments in order to continue instruction that supports the vital needs of manufacturers. The training is designed to support both the region’s incumbent workforce and associate degree automation-based programs at FVTC.  

“A virtual environment makes the world of manufacturing come alive,” says Instructor Dave Deeg in the Automated Manufacturing Systems Technology program. “For instance, the simulation software, Factory I/O, provides a way to visualize how an apparatus will physically operate in a real world setting after a programmer downloads instructions.”

Deeg added that trainees from Quad Graphics and the Waupaca Foundry appreciate the innovative approach to tailoring solutions at their respective companies. “Students are able create and troubleshoot programs by using the virtual environment as feedback. This allows students to learn without the risk of damaging real equipment while still providing a visual that responds close to the real world.” 

Factory I/O software screen shot