Industrial Automation & Robotic Facilities

Notre Dame Campus

Automation Lab
RRC sensors actuators in automation lab

Working in the Automation Lab

Established in 2011, this manufacturing/ production simulation lab focuses on the use of sensors, actuators, and programmable logic controllers and robots to teach concepts of automation.  This lab utilizes the same equipment used at Toyota, Japan where they train their staff on automation concepts off-line before moving onto the production floor.

The automation lab system is being integrated into a number of courses in the Mechanical Engineering Technology Diploma.  At the same time, course work is being developed to support professional skills upgrading for industry professionals.

The automation lab provides applied research opportunities for industry to assess different sensor and programmable logic controller systems to automate cell operations in their production process.

Robotics Lab & Our Family of Robots

As robotic automation has become an essential element for manufacturing facilities to drive their productivity, the College has raised an entire family of robots meant to serve industry specific needs.  The robotics lab is a complement to the automation lab which also incorporates an ABB robot as a part of the mechatronics assembly line.

Training Robots
Dedicated Robot Training Lab  (12 seats) – Motoman

The dedicated robotics lab can support up to 12 students/industry professionals at a time providing training on robotic operation and programming. It is also used frequently for industry workshops and training on the value of utilizing robots in a production setting.

It also serves as the technology base for new courses (electives) in robotic welding, manufacturing, and mechanical engineering technology.

This lab along with our highly trained robotics experts will help develop highly-qualified personnel for robotic manufacturing applications. Although the robots used in this lab are Motoman robots, they are used as a tool to train beginner, intermediate, and advanced concepts (non-robot specific).

In addition to Red River College built robotic courses, the College is also an Authorized Yaskawa Motoman™ Training Partner and offers the DX:Basic Motoman Certified courses for industry.  Motoman Certified training can be booked directly through Yaskawa Canada.  See the ‘training’ page for more information, view a brochure and learn how to register.

Fanuc: Robot Cell in a Box

RRC now has a FANUC educational robot “in a box”.   This mobile industrial cell is a complete unit with the same fanuc robot in a boxrobot and software utilized in industry including an integrated vision system (iRVision™), its own power unit (that can be plugged into a 120v outlet), compressor, fixtures and grippers. This FANUC robot is used to demonstrate the integration of robots in an industrial setting including applications of pick-and-place, quality control, assembly and more. It is also used to train students and train those in industry on robotic automation and machine vision systems.

It also serves as a base upon which to build new courses and project-based activities to prepare students in our full-time programs to work with robotic automation.

This robot is utilized, as well, in our Technology Access Centre event seminar series, in an effort to help highlight issues of robotic and automation integration for manufacturing organizations.

Robotic Welding Cell

Located in its own dedicated robotic cell and next door to our other traditional welding labs (mig, tig, arc, etc.) at the College, our welding robot provides the hands-on learning required to become a successful robotic welder. Gone are the days when welders just had to become proficient welders. They now need to know how to weld using a robot and CNC programming – as demanded by industry.  Use of this robotic welder is integrated into our welding curriculum so that when students graduate from the College, their skills are well-rounded and are highly marketable to work within a robotic environment.

This robot is also available for industry training, gap training and customized applications.

Research Robots

Baxter

baxter research robotThis industrial robot named Baxter, is the latest addition to our robotic family and is intended initially for use when working on Applied Research projects with industry. Baxter, the brain-child of Rodney Brooks (formerly of MIT) and created by his Boston-based start-up, Rethink Robotics, is currently the only Baxter to live in Canada.  He features flexible arms that can sense when they bump into something (like a person).  He has a front-facing camera and a 360-degree sonar to help detect the presence of others.  Current and future work with Baxter includes robot-to-robot interaction and robot-to-human interaction,… amongst other projects.

Eddie – Robot Platform

Parallax_EddieRobotPlatformA number of intern students have been working on a research project involving Eddie, created by Robot Centre out of the United Kingdom.

Eddie is a turnkey hardware solution enabling one to create a mobile robot with a laptop and Kinect™ sensor — a perfect platform to foster creativity, innovation, and experimentation. Compatible with Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4 (RDS 4), Eddie can navigate autonomously and see in 3-D using the power of the Microsoft Kinect. Five distance sensors (three infrared and two ultrasonic) detect objects to help avoid collisions, providing
sight where the Kinect cannot see. Eddie is well-equipped to navigate and interact with dynamic environments, using sensor fusion to integrate the Kinect sensor’s 3-D vision, color imaging, and sound processing with the platform’s wheel encoders. Eddie is also fully expandable, making it easy to add sensors, accessories, and custom add-ons.

Source of Eddie information: Robot Centre (http://www.robotcenter.co.uk)

Production-Ready Robots

Movie-Clipping-23RRC has a suite of production robots – largely located at our Industrial Campus, Centre for Aerospace Technology & Training (CATT) (see CATT under Facilities tab).  While they are production capable, they are primarily used within an applied research context to validate a new process, material or product.   These large production-ready robot cells work primarily on laser cutting, cladding, and welding applications.  In addition to these robot cells, RRC has a dual-armed 15-axis Motoman robot outfitted with an Omron Machine Vision System, also available for use in research projects,  training, or familiarization with new technologies.