Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Daifuku technology selected for new Michigan robotics training centre


April 4, 2016
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Apr. 4, 2016 – Wynright Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daifuku North America Holding Company, announced it and its sister company Jervis B. Webb have received a contract to provide automated warehouse technology for a technical education program at Lansing Community College (LCC) in Lansing, Mich.

The college will use the Daifuku technology, including automated storage and retrieval (AS/RS), conveying and sortation systems, for a new robotics and automation training centre supporting a new mechatronics technician degree program.

“As Michigan’s skilled workers retire, and the advances in technology continue, we will depend highly on the specialized workforce,” says LCC president, Dr. Brent Knight. “In planning for the College’s new Center for Manufacturing Excellence (CME), we assembled an advisory board of 35 area industry leaders to ensure incorporation of cutting-edge technical tools and training for in-demand jobs. Daifuku technology was recommended for the supply chain realm.”

Development of the centre began in spring 2015 when the Michigan Economic Development Corporation awarded the college a grant to purchase new technology and create a space necessary to meet the growing demand for highly skilled automation technicians in the area. The grant has enabled LCC to modify its engineering labs and expand its overall learning space from 14,000 sq. ft. to nearly 27,000 sq. ft.

“We are proud to be part of this important STEM initiative and especially pleased that the new LCC degree program will address automation issues beyond the plant floor,” said Kevin Ambrose, CEO Wynright. “Getting the product from the plant floor to the eventual end user, efficiently and profitably can be as complex as producing it. Many new employment and business efficiency opportunities are emerging in this space and we are looking forward to working with LCC to help automotive and other industries to benefit from them.”

The CME, slated to open this fall, will feature a real-world training environment with a robotic assembly line. The Daifuku warehouse technology will extend the training environment into the supply chain maintenance area, which it says will help students gain skills and a deeper appreciation of the role of logistics in the manufacturing field.  
Jervis B. Webb and Wynright, both subsidiaries of Daifuku Co., are developing a manufacturing solution that will integrate Webb’s inverted monorail, Automatic Guided Carts (AGC) and AGC software, with Wynright’s Automotion brand conveyor, and Fanuc, ABB, and Universal collaborative robots utilizing machine vision and various gripping techniques. The closed loop system will utilize conveyor and AGC’s to transport parts between robotic stations where collaborative robots assemble, disassemble, load and unload product within the closed loop.  

According to the college, this project will allow for a maintenance-focused curriculum around material handling equipment commonly found in an automotive manufacturing facility. The intent of this equipment is to provide a system that will function as a stand-alone closed loop system as well as individual modules able to run independently of one another.