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Donated robots at BIC demonstrate high-tech capabilities

Donated robots at BIC demonstrate high-tech capabilities

December 09, 2021

Thanks to a generous donation from Centro, Inc., the instructional team at UA-PTC's Business and Industry Center (BIC) has a new member: Sawyer the Robot. Sawyer is a smart, collaborative robot designed to give manufacturers the high performance and adaptability needed to automate a wide variety of tasks.

Sawyer joins two other identical robots that “live” at the UA-PTC Business and Industry Center, where they are used to teach robot vision integration in a programmable logic controller conveyor lab. The robots are valued at $41,500 each.

To illustrate the complex tasks that robots can be programmed to master, three students at BIC, Mark Richey, Charles McPherson, and Chris Harmon, of PPG spent approximately 12 hours “teaching” the robots to work together to operate a common Keurig coffee maker. The students programmed the robots’ integrated inputs and outputs to allow the robots to communicate with each other. Both robots were programed in a manner that allowed them to collaborate with each other without getting in the other robot’s operating area. See the video here:

“They had to be programmed so both robots knew where the other was, so they didn't crash into each other,” said UA-PTC instructor Shaun Everest. “The students programmed in a time delay so the robot wouldn't reach in too early and grab the coffee while the coffee maker was still going, but they timed it so it didn't wait an excessive amount of time, either.”

And while robots may not be needed for operating our kitchen coffee maker, their application in industrial manufacturing settings is limitless.

Vision and robotic systems have become an important part of keeping organizations competitive. Our Business and Industry Center's training systems teach the principles of automation, including vision, robotics, programmable logic control, hydraulics, and pneumatics in an environment designed to maximize learning. UA-PTC BIC labs use industry-standard equipment so trainees can return to work and readily apply the new skills.

Learn more about training capabilities at BIC here:

This donation will ensure that BIC training programs use the latest technology.

Pictured left to right: Sharon Cantrell (UA-PTC Director of Workforce Development); Donor Greg Stansell (Branch Manager, Centro); Michele Grainger (UA-PTC Advancement); Summer Deprow (UA-PTC Provost); Shaun Everest (UA-PTC Instructor); PPG Employees/ Students: Mike Weaver, Charles McPherson, Mark Richey, and Chris Harmon.

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