Mohawk College officially opens FANUC robotics lab

Collaborative robot in the FANUC lab at Mohawk College. Sara Cain AM900 CHML

Mohawk College is hoping to provide engineering students with a competitive advantage in the job market by offering cutting-edge technology in its new robotics lab.

The FANUC lab, located at Mohawk’s Fennell campus in Hamilton, is equipped with six robots, two of which, are collaborative, meaning they can work alongside people without safety barriers.

The co-bots are a first for any college or university in Canada.

Mechanical engineering Professor Emily Lord says with this technology Mohawk is able to offer a certificate that is only otherwise available from the manufacturer.

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“I worked as a trainer, so the employers would send employees to my company for training,” she said.

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“I know how in demand that is and how valuable it is for them to have it before they even start.”

Lord says it means there is no waiting, students can walk on to the shop floor for a manufacturer in food or pharmaceuticals, prepared to work with the equipment.

For the employer, she says this saves both time and money because they don’t have to pay to send a Mohawk grad away for additional training.

“The fact that we’re the first students to get the training is big,” said Nicholas Rutka, who is hoping to get a job in the automotive sector.

“Using code, the movement, the joints, every aspect of the robot itself, the maintenance of the robot, it’s an all around learning process,” he said.

“I know there is a lot of places for robots in the automotive industry,” he adds, “and they are already implemented.”

Five Mohawk college based programs will make use of the lab with more than 300 students acquiring the skills necessary to program and maintain the robots every year.

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