With the automation trend in manufacturing rapidly increasing, education must keep pace to train the next generation of workers on cutting-edge electrical, industrial, and manufacturing systems technologies. As the industry breaks down silos in these areas, it is important that Industrial Programs department heads ensure students have skills across those disciplines.
At Randolph Community College, we are tackling this head-on to better prepare students for mechatronics roles that require electrical, mechanical, robotics, and software skills. Based on real-world applications, our industrial robotics course provides students with robotics fundamentals as well as real-world manufacturing automation training during the 16-week semester. To allow students to gain hands-on experience with common manufacturing applications used across multiple industries, such as pick and place, we integrated an all-in-one robotics solution that would provide the greatest number of students robotics lab time.
Finding the right solution for the right budget
Like most schools, we had to work within department budget constraints to find a robotics solution that would maximize students’ lab time and experience. Some of the robotic education solutions available went beyond our budget scope and required multiple students to share one work cell, hindering the hands-on experience we hoped to achieve. It was important that we find a high-value, turnkey solution for students to gain in-person, real-life experiences with manufacturing automation equipment. And speed, precision, and repeatability were all key factors when deciding on a high-value robot.
Trusting the guidance and expertise from automation solutions provider CIMTEC, our college integrated the T3 Education System. We worked with CIMTEC to define the requirements and customize the solution to meet our curriculum needs. Keeping budget in mind, CIMTEC leveraged Epson’s T3 SCARA robot for the work cell. The ultra-low cost of the robot compared to similar solutions on the market allowed us to keep the entire cost of the work cell within budget, and opened the door to purchasing additional robot stations in the future for more hands-on student lab time.
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