Mechatronics Community Exchange Showcases TAMU Project

The Mechatronics Community Exchange (MCE) is a group of   mechatronics educators in 2-year programs that meet virtually most months during the academic year.  On March 22, the MCE meeting showcased the an NSF ATE Mechatronics project at Texas A&M, College Station, Texas.  Dr. Tony Hsieh, Director of the Rockwell Automation Lab and member of the graduate faculty is the P.I. of the “Innovative Curriculum for Industrial Automation” or “ICIA” project (NSF DUE 1304843). This project is supporting and creating innovative curriculum, lab exercises and pathways to increase the number of qualified technicians and engineers in the areas of operation, troubleshooting, design and integration of automated manufacturing systems (industrial automation). The curriculum pathways developed include a series of courses, lab exercises (hands-on, remote and virtual formats) and learning experiences that equip students for a successful career in automated systems and industrial automation. Dr. Hsieh is working with three Texas Community Colleges for this project. 

The March Mechatronics Community Exchange session was broadcast from San Antonio College, one of the ICIA partner 2-year partners where the Advanced Manufacturing Technology (AMT) program is housed in their Workforce Excellence Center. Dr. Juan Song is the San Antonio College (SAC) and co-P.I. of the project who worked directly with AMT Instructor, Daniel Sherry and Curriculum Designer, Edgar Perez to develop the curriculum pieces needed.

After a brief overview of the project, the presentation focused on the system being developed to remotely access the integrated mechatronics system that the AMT program uses for  instruction. The goal of this part of the project is to provide remote access of the robotic system at SAC for students in the AMT Associate Degree program.  Remote access to the robotic system was demonstrated after Dr. Hsieh’s presentation during the MCE meeting.  The system is now working well internally at SAC, but there are more details to work out including bypassing the college’s security systems, student scheduling, being sure that the system is “on” and configured for startup, and assessment.  However, the system is now in place with the interface and simulated control panel for the robot.  The SAC educators are extremely grateful for the partnership with TAMU on this project that will provide an additional resource for their students that they could not easily have provided without the funding from NSF  ATE and the expertise of Dr. Hsieh and his graduate students at Texas A&M University.

The March 22 MCE Conversation continued with announcement of the Hagersown CC Dissemination Conference for its Mechatronics project (NSF DUE (NSF DUE 1601172)) at Hagerstown CC (PA) and more comments from Stevens College about building the Low Cost Mechatronics Trainer developed by the CollaborATE grant (NSF DUE 1601172) for use in high schools. The next MCE will focus on the "ins and outs" of industry partnerships and will be held on April 27 @11 am EDT.  If you are interested in joining, please contact us at and we will add you to the MCE contact list. You can access the recording of the March meeting on our MCE website.

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