Cole Berger operates a Learnline trainer and Andrew Vandermissen operates a Fanuc LR Mate robot
This year, Bay College launched a brand new Certificate in Mechatronics program. ‘Mechatronics’, a relatively new word, is the study of mechanical, electrical, computer, and robotic elements and how they all contribute to automated process control. By consulting with local industrial advisors, Bay College has been able to create a program that will give students a well-rounded and balanced knowledge in the field. Students in the program are trained in how to install, maintain, troubleshoot, and repair mechatronics systems. Upon completion, they will be prepared to enter the workforce as an industrial maintenance technician. “Mechanical and electrical equipment is more interconnected than ever before,” says Mark Highum, Division Chair and Mechatronics faculty. “Having an understanding of how these technologies work both independently and together is the key to the field of mechatronics.”
The Mechatronics program and equipment is made possible by grant funding. Grants by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the State of Michigan made modern technologies available in the lab. There are process control trainers used for liquids, Learnline systems for hydraulics and pneumatics, and industrial motor controls. Both classroom instruction and hands-on learning contribute to the ultimate learning experience in this program. Students will also have the exciting opportunity to work with 6 new Fanuc robot carts to learn how to program and run robots. Cole Berger, a Mechatronics student, said “the courses have been challenging, but completing the assignments has been rewarding and also fun.”
Students should not feel intimidated to begin a journey in a field they are unfamiliar with because the program will teach them all the necessary skills to enter the workforce. “At the beginning of the fluid power class, I did not know what pneumatics or hydraulics was,” states Andrew Vandermissen, Mechatronics student, “but now I am designing and building circuits, including electrical control.”
In addition to the certificate, a 2-year degree in Mechatronics and Robotics Systems is anticipated to launch by fall of 2016. For more information on the Mechatronics certificate, visit www.baycollege.edu
or call 906-217-4010.