GM donates industrial robots to RIT lab
New robotic equipment will provide upgrades to the college’s lab and curriculum capabilities in advanced manufacturing and factory automation
A. Sue Weisler
General Motors donated two heavy-duty industrial robots to Rochester Institute of Technology to be installed in the Materials Laboratory located in RIT’s College of Applied Science Technology. The Fanuc R2000iA/210F robots are used in contemporary manufacturing processes and had been used in two of GM’s plants to build its Chevy Cruze automobiles as well as the larger Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Escalade luxury and utility vehicles.
“The donation is part of an annual effort by GM to get robots that are no longer needed due to process changes into the hands of students who are training to be the next generation of engineers and technicians,” said Bob Berger, manufacturing robotics engineering at GM’s Warren Tech Center in Warren, Mich. “These are hard-to-come-by robots that allow students to learn controls engineering and other robotics-related jobs by actively working on actual robot technology used in the automotive industry.” Berger was on hand with Steve Finch, plant manager of GM’s Tonawanda Engine Plant, for the dedication event in the lab at RIT on July 22.
RIT’s undergraduate and graduate students will have access to the equipment for coursework in CAST’s mechanical and manufacturing engineering technology degree programs. They will use the equipment to learn more about robot operations, programming and simulations. This foundational work will be applied to broader areas in welding, material handling and automated storage and retrieval.
The donation came about from a discussion between Manian Ramkumar, department head of RIT’s mechanical and manufacturing engineering technology department, and Finch, who has been involved in GM’s regional efforts to support STEM initiatives in grade schools and universities. Donations such as this are steps to help develop the next generation of workers.
“College students are learning on equipment that we use at our facilities,” said Finch, “and they are learning firsthand what it takes to manage high volume, high production equipment so that they can be ready to take their place in a company like GM.”
Ramkumar agreed. “Our department is thankful to GM for initiating the robot donations. This is the first step toward building a strong relationship with an iconic company such as GM, and we expect to build on this momentum to more applied research, training and other collaborative endeavors.”
Also participating in the dedication was Karen Shed, human resource manager at GM-Rochester. Since 2011, 19 RIT graduates were hired by the company locally, seven of which began as co-ops or interns. “With over 35 percent of GM Rochester’s salaried workforce RIT alums, clearly our recruitment strategy strongly prefers RIT grads,” she said.
April 18, 2019
Partnership brings business education to Rochester classrooms
A unique community collaboration among Saunders College of Business, Junior Achievement and local elementary schools introduces young minds to business, economics and free enterprise through discussions, hands-on activities and video lessons.
April 18, 2019
Imagine RIT visitors get to control RIT’s ‘Weather Machine’ in new two-story-high video game
Imagine RIT visitors will help keep the skies above RIT clear during the festival on April 27, in a new video game on display at the MAGIC Spell Studios building. Festivalgoers can play “Weather Defense: A Two Stories High Video Wall Game” on six large 4K displays, mounted two stories up the atrium wall of the new 52,000-square-foot MAGIC building.
April 18, 2019
Student Spotlight: Participating in the ASCE Concrete Canoe competition
Meet Brady Smith, a fourth-year civil engineering technology student and captain of this year’s Concrete Canoe team.
April 17, 2019
RIT hosts 2019 Upstate NY Regional Student Conference on April 19 and 20 at Polisseni Center
Concrete canoes float—really. And bridges are more complicated to construct than putting up a few steel beams. Student-engineers who build both the unusual—yet attractive—canoes and complex bridge spans will display their designs at the 2019 Upstate New York Regional Student Conference taking place April 19-20 at RIT.