AWC’s Digital Transformation Labs

Building and Sustaining Industrial Control System Skills

Developing and sustaining the skills needed to troubleshoot industrial control systems is critical to business continuity. AWC has developed a remote workforce optimization solution to provide real world, experience-based learning to keep industrial control system troubleshooting skills sharp.  

Digital Transformation Labs are located at AWC offices along the US Gulf Coast.  Developed to reflect the latest advances in Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0, each office’s lab features the latest in industrial control system technologies and highlights AWC’s capabilities to interface between IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operational Technology). Each Digital Transformation Lab consists of PLCs, HMIs, VFDs, industrial networking components, cybersecurity, instrumentation, valves, actuators, positioners, pneumatic manifolds, and air preparation systems.

AWC Digital Transformation Lab – P&ID Diagram

These labs have proven to be valuable to the technical development and optimization of our internal control systems specialists, and we now want to share them with our customers. The Digital Transformation Labs have now been made available for the development of our customers with a series of problem-based learning exercises to build and sustain the SKAs (skills, knowledge, and abilities) needed to troubleshoot industrial control systems, both locally and remotely. 

We use these devices to simulate an industrial process in a lab setting. Like all industrial processes, our lab requires maintenance, troubleshooting, and improvements; unlike a real process, downtime doesn’t result in losses. Because failures in modern control systems aren’t frequent enough to build and sustain critical SKAs, we have added a “Harsh Reality Controller” to the labs to induce the most common technical issues, i.e., sensor failures, broken wires, etc.

AWC Corpus Christi's Digital Transformation Lab
AWC Corpus Christi’s Digital Transformation Lab

With our Harsh Reality Controller and online access to problem-based learning exercises, our labs are the ideal environment to test, train, and learn safely.

Remote Access for Problem-Based Learning

Knowing that not all engineers and technicians have access to the necessary PLC programming and troubleshooting software at home or are required to share copies among a group, we have set up the lab with all specialized tools required, allowing remote access via a PC and a live camera feed.

System architecture to support remote access to Digital Transformation Labs

Our one-on-one problem-based learning exercises are designed to simulate a variety of technical issues that an engineer or technician might face in the field or on the plant floor. Once a “Harsh Reality” scenario is initiated to begin the simulation, the customer will be able to remotely establish a connection to the Digital Transformation Lab and utilize TIA Portal troubleshooting tools to identify the issue as well as its cause. The customer is also provided access to a live camera feed to monitor the behavior of the Lab’s equipment in real time, as well as ensure that the environment is safe for remote operation. Throughout the problem-based learning exercise, a member of AWC’s Digital Optimization Team will be available as a subject matter expert and knowledge resource for the customer.

Live camera feeds of Digital Transformation Labs at various AWC locations
Live camera feeds of Digital Transformation Labs at various AWC locations

Please contact your local AWC office for more information on our Digital Transformation Labs.

Julyann Tu is an application engineer for AWC, Inc. in the Houston, TX office. She is a Certified Siemens Technology Specialist for Factory Automation and a SITRAIN Certified Instructor for TIA Portal Programming 1. With over 8 years of experience in industrial automation, she has a BS in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from University of Houston-Clear Lake.

Julyann Tu

App Engineer/
Tech Support

Julyann Tu

App Engineer/
Tech Support

Julyann Tu is an application engineer for AWC, Inc. in the Houston, TX office. She is a Certified Siemens Technology Specialist for Factory Automation and a SITRAIN Certified Instructor for TIA Portal Programming 1. With over 8 years of experience in industrial automation, she has a BS in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from University of Houston-Clear Lake.
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