Mechatronics program integrates leading-edge technology

Mechatronics program integrates leading-edge technology

This story has been updated since its original publication.

Kennesaw State’s Mechatronics Engineering Program is now providing students with Tecnomatix software that helps them create digital twins of integrated manufacturing systems.

The KSU Mechatronics Engineering Degree Program’s laboratory is located in the Technology Center on the Marietta campus and includes an integrated manufacturing system with two Kawasaki robots and a Vanderlande conveyer system.

Assistant professor of Mechatronics Dr. David Guerra-Zubiaga said that Siemens, a German automation company, provided KSU with product licenses valued at $13.9 million in order to equip students with the Process Simulate solution in the Tecnomatix portfolio of digital manufacturing software.

Students utilize this software in a digital manufacturing class taught by Guerra-Zubiaga. The course includes manufacturing integration at different levels by using the Technomatix software from the Siemens portfolio. Guerra-Zubiaga said that students in this class use Process Simulate to perform virtual simulation on virtual prototypes — digital twins — that replicate the physical manufacturing system.

“Independently, the Tecnomatix and integrated manufacturing system are not new to the industry, but the virtual commissioning of these two technologies is,” Guerra-Zubiaga said.

A former student of Guerra-Zubiaga’s, senior mechatronics engineering major Jordan Roberts, said that he has learned more from the class thanks to the software.

“It taught me the skillset to test in simulation prior to actually building something,” Roberts said.

Guerra-Zubiaga also teaches an instruments and controls class that allows each student to individually control their own Totally Integrated Automation Portal with a Programmable Logic Controller.

“Automation is the future,” former KSU mechatronics student Jacob Beiting said. “A lot of employers at our career fairs were looking for people with PLC experience.”

Guerra-Zubiaga said that professors have used Tecnomatix software to collaborate with students in order to conduct and publish research that will be presented at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ International Mechanical Engineering Exposition in 2018.

Guerra-Zubiaga explained that he has helped his students publish five research papers on the emerging technologies of mechatronics, and these papers will be presented at the conference during November in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“We will continue to conduct and publish research using Siemens Product Lifecycle Management software solutions,” Guerra-Zubiaga said. “We have gained a deeper understanding of the skills students will need in the industry.”

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