Students Assist Local Company

August 13, 2012


Students from the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College assisted a local company with retrofitting some of its equipment during the last year. Students in Rio Grande’s School of Technology often work with local companies on special projects that help the businesses and give the students hands-on learning opportunities. Students in Keith Saunders courses in Program Logic Controllers and Electronic Maintenance and Troubleshooting worked on a project with Ohio Valley Track Work of Gallipolis. Saunders explained that the students did mechanical retrofitting for the company. The students started their work during the spring semester, and will continue the project during the fall semester.

The main machine that the students have been working with, Saunders explained, was originally built in the 1940s. This means it was designed before computerization and new technology, even though it is still being used today. In order to make the equipment more efficient and effective, the Rio Grande students are adding computerized controls to the machine. The students first studied the equipment, and then worked on designs for it in a laboratory setting on campus. The students then studied and tested their different designs, in order to see what would work best for the equipment.

After creating designs for the project, the students worked with the company officials to make sure that the designs fit all of the specifications they required. The students also had to study how all of the wiring would work for their designs, and had to research all of the potential safety concerns. “It’s a great learning experience for the students,” Saunders said.

It’s also a positive project for the Ohio Valley Track Work company, as it should help improve the efficiency of its equipment. If all of the tests on the designs are successful and if the company approves of the designs, the Rio Grande students will implement the computer controls on the machine later in the year. Students in the Rio Grande’s School of Technology programs have a wide range of opportunities to gain hands-on experience with real-world work projects such as this one every year. Students regularly are involved on projects with companies around the region, and some students are also able to work on internship projects. Many Rio Grande graduates are hired by the companies that they have worked with while they were students.

Rio Grande features small class sizes and individual instruction in its courses all across campus, and prides itself on creating real-world learning experiences for its students. For more information on the current project with Ohio Valley Track Work of Gallipolis, as well as information on other projects that Rio Grande School of Technology students are working on with companies in the region, call Keith Saunders at 1-800-282-7201 or send him an e-mail at For additional information on School of Technology programs, as well as information on the wide range of academic programs offered on Rio Grande’s scenic campus, log onto