Suncoast Post Tension Ltd. of Texas has donated $4.5 million worth of new robots built by Kawasaki to SPSU’s fast-growing Mechatronics Engineering program.
Glynn Mitchell, a 1984 graduate of SPSU’s Electrical Engineering Technology program and an active member of the International Society of Automation and the SPSU Alumni Association Board of Directors, was instrumental in securing the donation.
One of the robots has been installed in SPSU’s Dale Heatherington Mechatronics Lab. Marietta NDT, a company led by SPSU Foundation Chair Daryle Higginbotham (a Sigma Nu fraternity brother of Mitchell’s), will temporarily store the other three – which are much larger pieces of equipment – until SPSU can prepare sufficient space on campus for their installation.
SPSU’s Mechatronics Engineering program – unique in Georgia and one of the largest in the nation – was launched in 2007 and produced its first 13 graduates in May 2011. The program has approximately 250 students this fall.
“Mechatronics has experienced significant growth primarily because we are addressing a need identified by industry,” said Dr. Thomas Currin, associate dean of the Division of Engineering. “This donation will give our students the opportunity to use the same equipment used in industry and to assess, evaluate and improve its capabilities through undergraduate lab and research experiences.”
According to Dr. Chan Ham, Mechatronics program director, “automation applications around the world utilize these Kawasaki Heavy-Duty Robots for spot welding, material handling, sealing, die and investment casting, material removal, and machine tending as well as numerous other demanding tasks.”
Students in the courses Robotics, Mechatronics Design and Introduction to Mechatronics Engineering will find the robots to be a great resource, Dr. Ham said, while other classes such as Control Systems will also benefit.