The primary purpose of this laboratory is undergraduate education for integrated manufacturing. This nationally recognized, 2,400-square-foot facility is divided into four functional areas: a 17-workstation computer laboratory; a 1,100-square-foot integrated manufacturing system; a 400-square-foot research-area and a moderate-size offline learning/development area for industrial controls. All areas are equipped with the latest in manufacturing software and hardware technologies to support a fully functional state-of-the-practice manufacturing facility.
This laboratory provides students with exposure to and experience on industrial-grade, advanced manufacturing automation technologies equipment, and it gives MFET and MET students a solid foundation in automated manufacturing. Students gain valuable skills and abilities to:
- Integrate CAD designs with CAM software to generate programs that control CNC machines capable of producing sophisticated parts;
- Apply programming and integration techniques to various robot technologies to address a variety of manufacturing and assembly challenges.
- Apply controls technology to a variety of mechanical and electro‐mechanical related technologies to address a variety of common industrial related challenges.
- Integrate a wide range of computer-automated equipment to develop an integrated manufacturing system capable of manufacturing and/or assembling finished, usable products.
Current research projects:
- Energy use and monitoring of Computer Automated Equipment – Graduate student thesis
- Use of controls technology to recruit students into MFET via exergames – Development for a future National Science Foundation project
- Development of course materials for Aerospace Manufacturing ‐ National Science Foundation
Past Research projects:
- Proof of concept project for use of wireless sensing – Northrop Grumman
- Proof of concept work for use of an active RFID system to track products – Ingersoll Rand
- Development of an Asset Eco‐system – Northrop Grumman
- Development of a CAD user interface to allow users with little to no CAD skills to customize a CAD design.
- Industrial robots
- Programmable logic controllers
- CNC machine tools
- Auto ID equipment
- Numerous sensing devices
- Several types of controls networks
Funding and support:
Most support for this laboratory has been through cost share contributions, substantially discounted and leveraged products and in‐kind gifts. Corporate support over the years has included GM, Ford, SMC, Fanuc, Phoenix Contacts, Northrop Grumman, and Rockwell Automation.