VU’s collaborative robot technology gives students a competitive edge

VU’s collaborative robot technology gives students a competitive edge

VU College of Technology faculty programming collaborative robots in the Center for Applied Robotics and Automation on the Vincennes Campus.

June 26, 2023

VINCENNES, Ind. - We live in a technology-driven world, and today’s technology is ever-evolving. Self-driving cars are no longer a sci-fi fantasy. AI-powered chatbots are writing books. Vincennes University faculty are diligently keeping up with the fast-paced change and are working to prepare students to become leaders in the use of collaborative robot or “cobot" technology.

VU is a national leader in the rapidly growing technology of cobots, and it is shaping the future of students for generations to come by leveraging the University’s state-of-the-art technologies and cutting-edge facilities. As part of that leadership, VU has established its new Center for Applied Robotics and Automation (CARA), home to the University’s largest cobot lab. 

Cobots are a form of robotic automation built to work safely alongside human workers in a shared, collaborative workspace in various industries, including manufacturing, medical, and aviation.

With the help of faculty experts, VU students will gain a competitive advantage through hands-on experiences highly valued in today’s constantly changing professional landscape.

College of Technology faculty recently learned how to incorporate cobots into their courses.

“The addition of cobots to the College of Technology will be a tremendous complement to the existing traditional robots on site to provide a unique, well-rounded robotics training experience,” VU College of Technology Dean Ty Freed said.

Supported by a Lilly Endowment Inc. grant and in partnership with Carmel, Indiana-based Telamon Robotics, the 4,050-square-foot CARA is a hub for students to develop in-demand skills that keep pace with the future and can propel their careers.

With an arsenal of cobots on the Vincennes Campus, VU Jasper Campus, Gene Haas Training and Education Center in Lebanon, and partner high schools, VU is staying ahead of the latest technology trends. The University is helping Indiana take a big step toward the potential economic future represented by Industry 4.0 or smart manufacturing.

2 male VU faculty watching a cobot picking up and moving cans.VU faculty are working to equip students with essential knowledge and helping them develop in-demand skills as they prepare for the future.

Despite popular belief, robots are not replacing humans in the workplace. Cobots are built to work safely alongside humans and can create new jobs. A collaborative robot is responsible for repetitive, menial tasks in most applications, while a human worker completes more complex and thought-intensive tasks.

VU is integrating cobot technology into its industry partnerships and plans to thread cobots into various programs of study across the University, including WeldingPrecision Machining, and Product Design.

According to VU Precision Machining Instructor Louis Sipes, many machinists graduating from VU will encounter cobots in the workplace.

“Cobot technology at Vincennes University will show students how they can effectively coexist with a cobot in a machine shop,” Sipes said. “By having training prior to graduating, our students will have better job opportunities while also giving them an additional field of manufacturing that they are knowledgeable and experienced in. I imagine that very few trade schools teach their machining students how to program and work alongside cobots. A VU graduate from the Precision Machining program with knowledge and training in cobots will give the student a competitive advantage in the workforce.”

2 VU faculty use a computer to program a cobot in the CARA.

Students need to be well-versed in understanding and implementing new technologies. VU offers quality educational programs and learning opportunities that meet today’s highly skilled and well-educated talent demand.

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