Page 9 - ME News Spring 2022
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                                Next-Gen Manufacturing
ME 5286: Robotics
Taught by Max Donath
This course covers robots and their
design. Students use 3D graphic
simulation and offline programming
prior to their lab session to program a
counterpart of the robot in the lab to
complete a variety of tasks. The tasks are designed to closely resemble robot assembly operations in industry. Examples include moving items
from one pallet to another, assembling a flashlight requiring threading parts together, building and training neural networks to identify and sort parts, and inserting a pin into a hole with minimal clearance.
Rather than programming robots with
the normal tools provided by robot manufacturers, the lab challenges students
to understand the functionality of the robot and its limitations. Although the simulations are quite accurate, there are almost always slight differences between the model and the real robot setup. Working with both simulated and real hardware, students become more familiar with the constraints of commercially available robots.
The future of robot-assisted manufacturing is in using offline programming to program robots outside the production environment. Using these tools effectively requires that students understand the important role of design, sensing, software, and control in robot functionality. The next generation of robots could significantly change manufacturing in many areas, including assembly, 3D printing, food processing, and more. Students leave this course ready to design the robots of the future.

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