Patti Engineering and Kettering University are developing an Industry 4.0-enabled collaborative robotic cell for student learning. The lab is designed to help teach engineering and computer science students about real-world situations with manufacturing automation technologies they may experience during their co-ops and future careers.
Providing the highest quality education for its students is a top priority at Kettering University. For the last several years, the University had been developing the concept to create a new classroom lab to bring the latest technology to its students and facilitate cross-curricular collaboration.
“We are thrilled to incorporate real-world applications into a single robotic cell for our students to learn industrial robotics, control systems, the internet of things, wireless communications, and data analytics,” said Scott Grasman, Dean of the College of Engineering. “Together with our industrial manufacturing, electrical and computer engineering students, computer science students will work side-by-side on the different learning opportunities presented by the robotic cell. We will even integrate our 3D printing course into developing the end-of-arm actuators for the collaborative robot. It’s a comprehensive system designed to be utilized by all of our engineering and computer science programs.”
Patti Engineering’s deep ties to Kettering University began with founder and CEO, Sam Hoff, who graduated with an electrical engineering degree in 1990 and has supported the University in many ways over the years.
“We are excited about the opportunity to develop a new lab for the students at Kettering,” said Hoff. “The lab’s real-world challenges of collaboration across all disciplines will provide an excellent space for students to put their classroom knowledge into practice, preparing them for the obstacles they may face in their careers. By solving these challenges while still in school, students will be better equipped to navigate and solve problems in their future endeavors.”
Patti Engineering was involved with the design of the new classroom lab, along with developing the baseline program. The new robotic cell incorporates technology from some of the University’s corporate sponsors, including Mitsubishi Electric for the PLC, HMI and collaborative robot arm and Keyence for the vision systems and area scanners.
To facilitate learning and experimentation throughout the semester, the robotic cell was designed to enable students to work with and modify the code. At the end of the term, the staff resets the code to the baseline program, ensuring the same opportunities for the next group of students. This thoughtful approach ensures that every student who utilizes the robotic cell is able to delve deeply into the material and achieve the cell’s full potential.
The Kettering University faculty is creating additional curricula including capstone experiences centered around the new lab, which is scheduled to open during the summer of 2023.