Conestoga news

March 7, 2024 10:20 AM

Robotics and Automation students pitch capstone project proposals

Sustainable reforestation, custom crayon packaging, plastic cap processing, and a physical Tetris board were the varied projects pitched by students in Conestoga’s Robotics and Automation program.

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Third-year students in Conestoga’s Robotics and Automation program pitched their capstone project proposals at Eclipse Automation in Cambridge.

The third-year students gathered at Eclipse Automation in Cambridge to present their proposals, which were then voted on by their classmates. Two of the four capstone projects will go on to be designed and manufactured, combining all the skills the students have learned in class and on work terms.

The students had been working a few weeks on their proposal to be ready to pitch it on February 7 to their class as well as Eclipse employees. Their presentations included a detailed description of their proposed project and the design they devised to automate the process.

Probotics would produce biodegradable pods filled with seeds and soil by repurposing egg cartons to simplify planting for reforestation efforts in areas that are difficult to access.

Smiale imagined commemorative Tetris boards that would be engraved with a player’s name and game score.

Automatrix assembles custom boxes of four coloured crayons as chosen by the customer along with a personalized label.

Dynabot is a cap-processing solution that looks after all the steps to complete the fabrication of plastic caps, such as adding the paper liner.

The projects were graded on a host of factors, including incorporating required system specifications, practicality of design, marketability, technical challenge and presentation clarity. Students voted to move ahead with Team Automatrix and Team Dynabot.

The students’ pitches are always impressive, topped only by their skills and enthusiasm on display, said Jules Topalian, director of engineering at Eclipse.

“Engaging with the students at Conestoga College is truly invigorating. The enthusiasm and dedication showcased by the students of the Automation and Robotics program are a testament to the potential within our industry,” Topalian said. “Their adeptness in conceptualizing, designing, and articulating plans reflects their strong capabilities and inspires the team at Eclipse.”

John Tielemans, professor and program co-ordinator, said the capstone project is an opportunity for the students to apply all they’ve learned and demonstrate their skills to industry and family at the annual summer technology showcase in August.

“The project incorporates conceptualization, research, proposal, design, build, project management, and team management of up to 15 people. The students are wholly responsible for the concept, making components, building the system, wiring, programming and running a multi-cell manufacturing system they create from the ground up.”

Half the students typically have jobs lined up months before graduation working with leading automation experts locally and around the world, Tielemans said. “Our unique eight-month capstone project gives students experience that industry appreciates. The scale of the projects ensures our graduates are job ready.”

The Mechanical Engineering Technology - Robotics and Automation diploma program combines theoretical knowledge with applied skills in the control of robotic and automated equipment using electronics, programmable automation controllers, computers, hydraulics and pneumatics.

Conestoga’s School of Engineering & Technology offers a comprehensive suite of programs with a wide range of credentials in areas that include architecture, civil, construction, mechanical and electronics.