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August 5, 2004 2:57 PM

Students Build, Demonstrate Automated Assembly Lines

The great value and defining feature of college-level education is seeing what students can actually do with what they know.

Final-year students in the Mechanical Engineering Technology - Robotics and Automation program of Conestoga College are gearing up to impress employers and industry representatives with working demonstrations of industrial, robotic assembly lines that the students have designed and built themselves.

The event takes place on Wednesday, August 18 at the Woodworking Centre of Ontario, which is located at the Doon campus of Conestoga in Kitchener. The time is 1-4 p.m.

More than 40 students are involved. These projects are the major focus of the final year of their three-year program, which is also fully co-op. The students are fully responsible for all aspects of their projects, including design, fabrication, computer programming and project management, according to industry practices and standards.

The students are in three teams, each with a specific project.

Project challenge #1 is a self-service station for rental and return of DVDs. The station will be sophisticated enough to detect whether the returned DVD package in fact contains the correct DVD, as well as to track and produce reports on individual customer accounts.

Project challenge #2 is a system for assembly and packaging of reusable drinking bottles. The conveyor line consists of a cap-assembly unit, a fill station where one of four drink products is inserted into a bottle along with a straw, a cap-sealing station and a packaging station, at which cases of 12 bottles are packed.

Project challenge #3 is a system for manufacturing and packaging a building-block game, modeled on the popular Jenga blocks game played worldwide. Jenga is a game of 54 pieces assembled into a tower. Players, one at a time, remove pieces from the existing tower and try to build the tower upward without it tumbling down. The student-designed system will cut and sand the wood pieces for the game, then layer and stack the blocks. The system will then group the blocks into the proper number for a game set, box them and seal the box.

All production lines will be in operation, with full commentary and detailed system manuals provided by the students.

"The work these students do, both in complexity and in quality, shows that not only are they ready for productive careers in industry, but also they are ready to move forward as leaders in the manufacturing industry, ensuring that Canada continues to maintain a global reputation for innovation which directly contributes to our economic growth and prosperity," says Henry Reiser, Conestoga's Chair of Engineering and Information Technology.

The Robotics and Automation program consists of nine semesters in all - six of these on-campus at Conestoga and the other three in co-op employment terms in industry. Conestoga students especially profit from the opportunity to gain experience in a location that is home to many enterprises with international reputations for innovation and excellence, such as ATS Automation Tooling Systems, Linamar Corporation, COM DEV International, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, Rockwell Automation, Budd Canada Inc. and NCR Canada.

CONTACT: Beth Blaney, 519-748-5220, ext. 3420, bblaney@conestogac.on.ca

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