Pickens County Students Solve Robotics Challenge

Pickens County Students Solve Robotics Challenge - Greenville News
Posted on Feb 01, 2013

Staff Report

Students at the Pickens County Career and Technology Center proved their job-ready skills this year by solving a robotics problem for a manufacturing company.

CTC mechatronics students successfully programmed a robot to build a prototype capacitor for Cornell Dubilier.

CTC director Leonard Williams said engineers from Cornell Dubilier approached the school in November with the project.

“They said, ‘Could you build a work cell for us? We have an old robot, and these are the parameters of what we need it to do,” Williams said.

The students took on the task of solving three problems: figuring out how to perform a TIG (tungsten inert gas) weld, programming the robot to perform the weld, and mounting the welder to the robot.

“I’ve spent 22 years in the industry, and that’s exactly the kind of problem we work to solve in the industry all time,” said Hank Hutto, the mechatronics teacher at the CTC. “I just told my students, ‘This is you, this isn’t me,’ and they all agreed to do it and they gave 100 percent on it.”

Hutto said that during the project, Cornell Dubilier donated about $14,000 worth of programmable logic controllers to the mechatronics program.

The company is participating in the CTC’s co-op program, recently signed an apprenticeship agreement with the school and hired one of the program’s students.

“I have been blown away by the level of talent, professionalism, and enthusiasm these young men have put into this project,” said Patrick Lark, a member of the automation design group at Cornell Dubilier.

Hutto said that if the prototype passes a stress analysis, his students have agreed to install the robot at Cornell Dubilier’s factory to begin production.

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