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QCC News, Events and Info

The Power of Robots

Jul 17, 2018 3:20:01 PM / by Institutional Communications

Dr Pedraja observes robotics demonstration

[Dr. Luis Pedraja observes students Shawn Reese and Christian Hulett's demonstration]

In the news, on factory assembly lines, opening doors and even vacuuming your floors. Robots are just about everywhere and are becoming more and more commonplace in today's society. What was once the future is no longer a science fiction story-line. They have left the fantasy world of the big-screen and are making their way into the workplace, our homes and the classroom.

Here at QCC, robots have made their way to Professor James Heffernan’s Industrial Robotics class, where his students recently completed their FANUC CERT (Certified Engineering Robot Training) certification. The Industrial Robotics course is part of the Electronics Engineering Technology Mechatronics Associate Degree at Quinsigamond Community College. 

So.... how do students earn their FANUC certification? Requirements include:

  • Complete a series of 24 robot programming exercises, using actual robots
  • Complete 3 online robot training mini-courses
  • Pass the FANUC CERT test with a grade of 80% or higher

The Industrial Robotics class is more than just the FANUC certification, students also complete robot programming assignments, as well as a final project. The final project gives them a chance to use their creativity to find unique ways to use the robots. 

QCC Electrical Engineering Technology student Cody Hamilton received his FANUC  certification. For Cody’s project, he chose to program the robot to stack blocks in a continuous loop. He had to show that he could keep control of the robot's speed and make sure it was able to properly grip the blocks.

Mechatronics students Shawn Reese and Christian Hulett were self-proclaimed 'Hot Wheels geeks' when they were younger, they even used them in their project. The pair programmed their robot to select various Hot Wheels!

“I came to school not knowing what I wanted and selected this course knowing this is what my dad did. I learned a lot and now I’m going to make a career out of it,” Mr. Hulett said.

As the use of robotics in manufacturing becomes more prevalent, there's a growing job market for the skills students are learning in these classes, including right here in Worcester.

“The use of robots in manufacturing continues to expand. FANUC certification is recognized internationally and opens up opportunities for students in automation and robotics,” said Professor Heffernan. “Even though the certification is based on FANUC robots, the same skills are transferable to other types of industrial robots.”

“Norton Saint-Gobain, an abrasives company near QCC, has recently acquired several FANUC robots to automate part of their grinding wheel manufacturing process,” Professor Heffernan added.

Interested in learning more about Robotics, Mechatronics, Manufacturing, Photonics and other Engineering programs at Quinsigamond Community College? Visit QCC's Electronics Engineering Technology Program to learn more about our degree and certificate programs.

Topics: Worcester, robotics, Dr. Luis Pedraja, electronics engineering, FANUC, mechatronics, manufacturing

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