A Portland-based manufacturing company has given Oregon State University a new $30,000 industrial-quality robot that is expected to give engineering students enhanced training opportunities in the emerging field of robotics.
John Dillon, a vice president of ESCO Corporation, presented the robot to the university Monday. The robot is a Motoman Education Cell, which is a miniature version of a robotic arm used by industrial manufacturers, including ESCO.
Dillon said there is a growing demand for graduates who know how to operate industrial robots.
“Manufacturing plants are increasingly built around robots,” he said.
According to an ESCO press release on the donation, the company manufactures highly engineered parts and replacement products used in mining, construction and oil and gas industry applications.
Dillon said that OSU has been a valuable partner to the company, both through past research partnerships and because the company has hired more than 50 OSU engineering graduates over the past 30 years.
“Our success is tied directly to the quality of engineers we hire from OSU and other universities,” he said.
Sandra Wood, the dean of the college of engineering, said it is beneficial for students to learn on robots that are similar to those used in manufacturing.
She said the donation of the new robotic arm will fit into the university’s larger goal of developing a robotics center, and developing a faculty with expertise in robotics.
Wood added that there is a need for more graduates who have skills with robotics.
“There is a lot of student interest in this area,” she said.
Ryan Carpenter, who is pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, has been working on developing “grippers” for the new robot as a part of his thesis research. He also works for ESCO. He said that having experience on the robot would enable students to seamlessly transition into a job.
“It helps you learn the programming language and the capabilities of the robot,” he said.