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Alexander Lee’s Raspberry Pi Wins MTConnect Student Challenge

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Winner Selected for MTConnect Student Challenge Idea Creation Competition

Central Piedmont Community College student’s submission combines Raspberry Pi, Python and MTConnect

Alexander Lee, a student at Central Piedmont Community College (Charlotte, N.C.), has been named the winner for the Idea Creation competition as part of the MTConnect Student Challenge for his submission, “Raspberry Pi for Data Visualization.”

Lee’s winning submission proposed the use of a Raspberry Pi single-board computer as an MTConnect adapter to monitor a machine’s overall equipment effectiveness, utilizing the Python programming language to visualize the data that comes from the machine.

As Lee notes in his submission, the Raspberry Pi has found widespread use in education and home automation projects, but it has very little presence in industrial applications. However, it is inexpensive – just $35 – and it has unique capabilities that could make it useful on the shop floor.

This was exactly what the MTConnect Student Challenge was designed to do. The idea was to present real-world manufacturing challenges to students, who could utilize their creativity and technical know-how to design solutions. Lee’s submission is cost-friendly and can be easily adopted even by smaller manufacturers with limited means.

Lee’s submission utilized an example of a manufacturing facility where engineers are required to manually record a machine’s downtime through a legacy Sinumerek 840D controller, as the controller is not connected to any network. As a solution, a Raspberry Pi could be repurposed as an MTConnect adapter to collect data, with that data processed through MTConnect and the Python programming language and visualized through an open-source Python-based application. Lee has won a $5,000 prize and has been invited to attend the upcoming [MC]2 Conference in Dallas along with the other competition winners.

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