The new Industry 4.0 lab to transform education at Kettering University

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Upgrading to the latest industry trends doesn’t just happen in this field. As it happens in the new Patti EngineeringKettering University classroom lab.

Kettering University places great emphasis on providing a superior education to its students. The institution has recently seen the need for a new student learning laboratory that incorporates the latest Industry 4.0 technologies that enable cross-curricular learning.

“Patti Engineering has long been a supporter of Kettering University and has generously helped us design this new laboratory and develop related coursework,” said Scott Grassman, Dean of the College of Engineering. “We are excited to integrate real-world applications into a single robotic cell for our students to learn about industrial robotics, control systems, the Internet of Things, wireless communications, and data analytics. Together with our students in industrial manufacturing, electrical engineering, and computer engineering, computer science students will work side-by-side on the various learning opportunities offered by the cell We’ll even incorporate our 3D printing course into developing end-of-arm actuators for a collaborative robot. It’s a comprehensive system designed to be used by all engineering and computer science programs.”

The Industry 4.0-supported collaborative robotic hive will feature hardware from some of the university’s corporate sponsors, including Mitsubishi and BorgWarner. Patti Engineering assisted with the design prior to financing and is working on the project so it can be completed over the summer.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to develop a new lab for students in Kettering,” said Sam Huff, President and Founder of Patti Engineering. “The real-world lab collaboration challenges across all disciplines will provide an excellent space for students to put their class knowledge into practice, preparing them for the obstacles they may face in their careers. By solving these challenges while in school, students will be better equipped to navigate and problem-solve in their future endeavours.”

Hoff received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Kettering University in 1990.

Patty Engineering is also responsible for programming the new lab with a basic pilot program. The collaborative robot will use a vision system to select and place a variety of objects within the hive and will be able to perform simple tasks for display purposes. The real goal is to allow the students to work with the equipment and the software and make improvements from their ideas. After the term ends, the original Patti Engineering code will be re-downloaded at the push of a button to allow the same learning opportunities for students in the next term. This thoughtful approach ensures that every student who uses Hive can delve deeper into the material and realize its full potential.

The Industry 4.0 Lab concept has been in development for several years.

“We see it from our students as they rotate through the cooperatives,” Grassmann said. “While visiting a student during his collaborative study period recently, I had the pleasure of seeing several of our students working together. One was working on robotics. Another on system vision. A third for an OEM. A fourth for an end customer. Each has a collaboration with a different company and disciplines “In a different discipline, but they all work in the same cell. This really reinforces the idea that we’re trying to replicate in this new lab where many of our students will collaborate with different departments on a regular basis after they graduate.”

The university currently has separate laboratories to correspond to the different courses. The new laboratory will be integrated into existing courses and will be available for future courses. Kettering University faculty are working to create additional curricula, including capstone experiences, centered around the new facility. The new lab is scheduled to open this summer.