Students qualify for international automation competition

Brandon Bender, Zach Eastman, Brandon Cox, Kaci Kelsey and Ryan Lewis show off their 2015 Xplore Automation entry.

A team of five engineering technology students will compete in the international Xplore Automation competition sponsored by Phoenix Contact (Germany) March 5-6, in Bad Pyrmont, Germany.

The students, all manufacturing engineering technology majors, designed and built an assembly system that builds Purdue cubes that light up with an LED bulb. The system uses a pick and place gantry robot system. It is controlled by a Phoenix Contact controller to assemble plastic injection-molded cube components designed and manufactured by the team.

"The process has been a great learning opportunity that provided hands-on and practical experience," said team member Zach Eastman. In fact, the team was able to use the Phoenix Contact controls, as well as SMC-supplied controllers, to manipulate high precision stepper motors, which generally is not something a Phoenix Contact controller is used for.

Team members include: Ryan Lewis, Brandon Bender, Kaci Kelsey, Eastman, and Brandon Cox. They were advised by Brad Harriger, professor of manufacturing engineering technology, and Grant Richards, clinical assistant professor of electrical engineering technology.

The team received support from several companies:

  • Phoenix Contact provided controls equipment and software worth up to 3000 euros.
  • SMC Corporation provided the ball screw actuators and pneumatic components
  • Sabic provided injection molding materials
  • Complete Controls Inc. provided various electrical components
  • C&E Sales Inc. supplied sensors
  • CEI Tech provided injection molding support.

Watch the team’s project video, which was part of the competition submission process.

This embedded video demonstrates the project.

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