Thomas Thoen, a full-time faculty associate in Cal Poly Pomona’s Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology (ECET) program, conceived the project as the laboratory component of the new course, which introduces students to motion control systems used in the packaging, printing, textile, semiconductor production, and assembly industries. The students are starting by designing simple 2-axis stage systems like those used in “pick and place” operations for moving products from point to point, or for automatic inspection processes that use cameras to view products coming down a conveyor belt.
“Working with Miyachi and other industrial suppliers, I was able to solicit donations for low cost motion control components that allow students to go through all the steps in the process of designing, assembling, and programming real systems themselves,” said Mr. Thoen. “This is miles ahead of the simplistic labs we could do in the past, giving students a taste of real world project management while learning how to resolve problems.” After demonstrating what they can do with basic components, Thoen hopes to solicit additional university and industry donations to develop more complex systems.
Miyachi’s executive vice president for technology and business development, Mark Rodighiero, was delighted to help the local university, saying, “We have a long history of engaging Cal Poly students as interns, and several of our employees have come from their ranks. We look forward to seeing the designs the students come up with. We are also excited about showing the students how motion control systems are used in a variety of industrial equipment, from galvo-steered laser beams to servo-control resistance welding weld heads.”
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