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Honda, Lincoln Electric help students gain robotics, automation experience

In order to increase production and perform riskier operations at a high rate of speed, modern automation requires the use of robotics and programmable logic controllers (PLCs). In keeping at the forefront of technology in instructional courses, the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering (ISE) implemented a two-part series of lab-based courses in Industrial Automation & Industrial Robotics.

The courses provide students hands-on experience in dealing with PLCs and their peripheral sensors and accessories, as well as exposure to solving automation problems.

“PLCs are basically very robust and hardened computers specialized to control automated systems,” said Manufacturing Laboratory Supervisor Joshua Hassenzahl, who teaches the courses with Manufacturing Engineer William Tullos.

ISE robotics labISE Chair Farhang Pourboghrat explains to Honda and Ohio State officials how the new Fanuc robot is helping students“Our robotics program was able to get off the ground through a generous donation of two welding cells donated by Lincoln Electric,” Hassenzahl said. “With these cells, we were able to offer an initial course in robotics which directly complemented our automation course dealing with sensors and PLCs.”

He added that the combined automation courses were such a success that the department had more students wanting to enroll than available spaces, and sought to acquire another teaching cell from FANUC, a leading manufacturer of automated cells, or robots.

Another boost to the program occurred when Shubho Bhattacharya, an associate chief engineer at Honda North America and a member of the ISE Advisory Board, brought members of the Honda engineering management team to visit the lab. “They were impressed with the direction we were taking in the courses,” Hassenzahl said, “and wanted to see how Honda could complement what we are trying to accomplish.”

Bhattacharya, who is also co-director of the Honda-Ohio State Partnership, facilitated a donation from Honda North America to the ISE department to purchase a fourth robot, which was installed at the end of July.

Department Chair Farhang Pourboghrat allocated funds for instructional support, which expanded the program, Hassenzahl said. “The other motivation for this was that it allowed us to qualify for the FANUC certification program, which will recognize the training as being FANUC-certified and approved, allowing the students to add that certification to their resume and increase their attractiveness to potential employers.”

article originally appeared in BuckISE newsletter