Million-Dollar Robotics Work Cell Supports Job Training for Michigan Students
- By Dian Schaffhauser
A school in Michigan has what is estimated to be a million-dollar technology project underway. Pinckney High School, part of Pinckney Community Schools, a community about midway between Detroit and Lansing, recently showed off a computer-integrated manufacturing "work cell" that contains four ABB industrial robots and one FANUC robot with integrated robot vision (IR Vision). The work area is integrated with a conveyor system featuring four lift and transfer stations, to replicate an advanced manufacturing work setting. A work cell is the term used to describe a setup with a robot, controller and other elements, such as the safety environment, to speed up and improve the quality of specific manufacturing processes.
The system is part of a career and technical education program that delivers classes on robotics and mechatronics as well as cybersecurity, network administration, manufacturing and welding, automotive technology, computer aided design, video game design and the Internet of Things.
Mark Stein, an industrial technology instructor at the school, said he believes that CTE courses prepare students for college, career and life. Not only can high schoolers earn college credit through articulation agreements the district has with several colleges and universities, he noted in a statement, but also CTE serves as a "gateway into high skilled, high paying, high demand jobs."
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.