Patti Engineering Inc. has partnered with Kettering University to develop a robotics lab designed to teach engineering and computer science students how to take advantage of automation technologies used in manufacturing.
Patti Engineering is a control systems integrator with expertise in electrical controls and information systems. The company said it helps customers design, build, upgrade and retrofit their facilities with industrial automation systems.
Founded in 1919, Flint, Mich.-based Kettering University specializes in engineering, mathematics, and science. It said it combines classroom instruction with real-world wage-paying work at cooperative employer partners.
Patti Engineering worked together with Kettering to develop the classroom lab and curriculum. The new robotic cell incorporates technology from some of the university’s corporate sponsors including Mitsubishi Electric for the PLC, HMI and collaborative pick-and-place robot, and Keyence for the vision systems and area scanners.
To facilitate learning and experimentation throughout the semester, the robotic cell was specifically designed to enable students to work with and modify the code, the university said. At the end of the term, the staff resets the code to the baseline program, ensuring the same opportunities to 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.
New lab will be incorporated with current course offerings
The new lab will be integrated into existing courses and will be available for use in future courses. The Kettering University faculty said it is creating additional curricula including capstone experiences centered around the new lab, which is scheduled to open during the summer of 2023.
“Patti Engineering has been a longtime supporter of Kettering University and has generously helped us design this new lab and develop related coursework,” said Scott Grasman, dean of the College of Engineering. “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.”
“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,” he added. “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 CEO Sam Hoff graduated from the university in 1990 with an electrical engineering degree. The company said its expertise in industrial controls, robotics, and practical application of Industry 4.0 makes them a great partner for the school.
“We are excited for 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,” he added.