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Mechatronics 17 (2007) 480–488

A mechatronics educational laboratory – Programmable logic controllers and material handling experiments
Hany Bassily a, Rajat Sekhon a, David E. Butts
b

b,1

, John Wagner

a,*

a Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, United States Engineering Technologies and Engineering Transfer Midlands Technical College, Columbia, SC 29202, USA

Received 13 February 2006; accepted 19 June 2007

Abstract The integration of robotics, conveyors, sensors, and programmable logic controllers into manufacturing and material handling processes requires engineers with technical skills and expertise in these systems. The coordination of assembly operations and supervisory control demands familiarity with mechanical and electrical design, instrumentation, actuators, and computer programming for successful system development. This paper presents an educational mechatronics laboratory that encourages multi-disciplinary hands-on engineering discovery within team settings. Three focused progressive experiments are reviewed that allow students to program and operate a programmable logic controller, a traditional conveyor system, and a distributed servo-motor based conveyor. The students also program and implement two robotic arms for material handling applications. The equipment, learning objectives, and experimental methodology for each laboratory are discussed to offer insight. A collaborative design project case study is presented in which student teams create a smart material handling system. Overall, engineering graduates have generally been required to learn material handling and other multidisciplinary concepts in the field, and therefore, a well-rounded engineering curriculum should incorporate mechatronics in both the classroom and laboratory. Ó 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Mechatronics; Programmable logic controllers; Conveyors; Robotics; Sensors

1. Introduction Consumer product manufacturers increasingly rely on the cooperative development of multi-disciplinary technical systems that often span the electrical, mechanical, and industrial engineering domains. Design and production engineers are frequently organized into cross-functional teams in which members bring critical skills to the assembled group [1]. To facilitate multi-disciplinary teams, engineers must develop their teamwork, problem solving, synergistic design, and communication skills as well as the traditional technical competencies [2,3]. Further, it is
Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 (864) 656 7376; fax: +1 (864) 656 4435. E-mail addresses: buttsd@midlandstech.edu (D.E. Butts), jwagner@ clemson.edu (J. Wagner). 1 Tel.: +1 (803) 738 7833; fax: +1 (803) 738 7809. 0957-4158/$ - see front matter Ó 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.mechatronics.2007.06.004
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increasingly presumed that competitive engineering graduates will have these skill sets in place and be able to contribute immediately to their assigned teams [4]. In essence, the expanding implementation of sensors, actuators, and digital control across all engineering systems suggest that students need a mechatronic systems perspective [5] with an opportunity to develop leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills. The availability of mechatronic courses within the engineering curriculum can help prepare students for the global workplace. During the past decade, mechatronics education has received significant worldwide attention. Ranaweera et al. [6] discuss the required introductory mechatronic laboratory course at the University of California at Santa Barbara which focuses on sensors and actuators while accommodating large numbers of engineering students. Grimheden [7] reports on the KIH University mechatronics

drag chain conveyor system. pneumatic. Surgenor et al. which in turn drives a rubber conveyor belt riding on gravity rollers or idlers (e. In standard configurations. Bassily et al. fabricated. and ‘‘smart’’ MicroRollerTM 2 based conveyor sections. MI. pneumatic actuators. The experiments are student team designed. and hydraulic systems are controlled with programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and personal computers running LabVIEW. students assume ownership for the laboratory creation process. / Mechatronics 17 (2007) 480–488 481 Adept CS7 Controller 220 VAC 110 VAC Air Supply Air Solenoid Unloading Station Conveyor # 2 Air Cylinder Turn Table Power Bus 110/220 VAC PC Monitor (Robot Host) Students Access Door Proximity Sensors Scanner STAUBLI RX 130 P L C Conveyor # 1 Labeling Station 24 VDC Power Supply 110 VAC PC # 1 (PLC Host) Staubli’s Range of Operation Loading Station Restricted Access Unrestricted Access Fig. 1. Grand Rapids. and demonstrated based on assigned design projects. Schematic diagram for a material handling educational laboratory. laboratories. Finally. one disadvantage of the typical conveyor technology is that every point on the conveyor moves at the same speed and time. and (iii) process inconsistencies. In this manner.. there does not exist an opportunity for the localized optimization of the individual assembly steps. The traditional conveyor system has been successfully applied in manufacturing and material handling applications for many years. [8] use active learning strategies including lectures. engineers are partitioning conveyor systems into smaller focused segments that can be controlled independently depending on the factors such as: (i) localized product flow rate. One subcategory of mechatronics that merits attention is material handling which includes robot arm object placement. . 2 MicroRoller is a registered trademark of Sparks Belting Company. Bushnell and Crick [11] describe the hands-on experiences provided to students by three autonomous robotic courses at the University of Washington. However. and cooperative design projects with integrated sensors in the technical elective mechatronics course at Queen’s University. Note that some design projects may continue for multiple semesters due to their complexity.H. Hence. vehicle suspension system. The laboratory features workstations in which electro-mechanical. Minor and Meek [9] stress open-ended problems for integrated systems in the required two-semester mechatronics design course at the University of Utah.g. [14]). the University of Maryland Eastern Shores [12] has established a mechatronics laboratory which features an industrial selective compliance articulated robot arm with overhead machine vision for guidance and part inspection. The educational mechatronics laboratory (ME 417L/ 617L) has been developed within the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Clemson University [13]. conveyor transport. 1). Student teams apply electronics and microcontrollers in the design of mobile robots. motor control with torque measurements. implemented. robotic arms. and process control (refer to Fig. One strategy to construct such a conveyor system is with individuallymotorized rollers such as MicroRollers. hydraulic cylinder/motor control. Students with rudimentary programming skills and presumably no-practical experience with mechatronic systems can quickly learn how to incorporate control architectures. (ii) need for product buffering. These systems include a basic ‘‘industrial light stack’’ experiment. which contain integrated dc motors and drivers that easily lend themselves to PLC control. The mechatronics course at Bucknell University emphasizes interdisciplinary student teams and active learning strategies [10]. tutorials. course that prepares engineers for global workplaces through international collaborations. a single motor drives a sheave. Increasingly.

five are controlled by Allen–Bradley PLCs (MicroLogixTM 3 1000 and 1500). The widespread use of PLCs in industrial processes justifies the allocation of lecture and laboratory time to explore PLC hardware architecture and programming. or at fault. As shown in Fig. allows engineering students to control part motion using integrated actuators.. which provides a graphical user interface (GUI) for creation of the ladder logic ‘‘rungs’’. operated by . The reader is referred to [17] for the wiring schematic. the students configure the PLCs to sequence the light towers as follows. Programmable logic controller with light stack: (a) exterior view. function block diagram. sequential function chart. Section 4 presents educational and industrial robotic arms for part placement operations. Finally. Bassily et al. the creation of a smart material handling system by two design teams. 2. 3. Section 2 presents an introduction to programmable logic controllers and the light stack experiment. though. and green 24VDC lamps with an audible alarm. structured text.. The learning objectives of the traffic light experiment are to: (i) understand PLC architecture. and external light stack interface. / Mechatronics 17 (2007) 480–488 Fig. [18]). and (b) electrical layout. 3. A case study is offered in Section 5 to highlight a representative student design project. Traditional conveyor experiment A custom scaled conveyor belt system. controller internal wiring. Section 3 discusses experiments with traditional and smart conveyor systems. For this initial ‘‘on/off’’ experiment. the lamps are programmed for a traffic light sequence. Step 3: Tower 1 switches to amber while tower 2 remains red. Step 1: Tower 2 switches to amber while tower 1 remains red. Conveyor systems for material handling The automated transportation of materials between two manufacturing cells is a common process on the factory floor (e.g. shown in Fig. The first is a common two-strand drag-chain conveyor system that provides uniform motion along the length of the connected rubber belts on the outer edge. 2. and instruction list) have been standardized per IEC 1131-3 [16] in addition to ladder logic.5A 24VDC power supply. Milwaukee. and PLC control. this laboratory focuses on the latter. two different conveyor systems are studied. busy. This paper is organized as follows.1. 3. The sequence then repeats until interrupted by the user. in this instance. the electrical cabinet contains the MicroLogix 1000 PLC. 2. The first PLC programming experiment is control of an Allen–Bradley industrial light stack (855E). which features red.g. Using basic ladder logic. The PLCs are programmed via Windows-based personal computers using the software package RSLogix 500. conveyor system materials can be individually controlled in cooperation with sensors located adjacent to the platform. WI. and various user-selectable panel switches and lamps. In the mechatronics laboratory. 3 RSLogix and MicroLogix are registered trademarks of Allen–Bradley. Step 0: Program begins with a red lamp on tower 1 and green lamp on tower 2. (ii) demonstrate fundamental PLC I/O operations. students learn to program PLCs [15] and then apply the equipment in electromechanical and pneumatic systems. Section 6 contains the summary. The second is a distributed motorized roller conveyor system which offers flexible package motion based on the availability of multiple bi-directional MicroRollers. and (iii) design a control algorithm to generate a ‘‘traffic light’’ sequence with appropriate timing. amber. These devices can be used for many purposes in a manufacturing process such as signaling whether the system is ready. sensors. a Sola 2. Programmable logic controller experiments In the mechatronics laboratory. The industrial two strand drag-chain conveyor system. The laboratory features a variety of student-fabricated experiments. Step 2: Tower 1 switches to green as tower 2 switches to red. Although other PLC programming languages (e.482 H. In other words.

A pneumatic distribution manifold. Each MicroRoller has a controller card with inputs for on/off commands. A vertically mounted SMC pneumatic actuator (NCDMW-075-0605) exists for part retrieval. and (iv) create test scenarios to validate controller functionality. shown in Fig. with a 50 mm range. The motors are operated by electrical relays switched by the PLC. A 24VDC optical proximity sensor (Square D PE8TANSS). actuator. this is one of the first encounters with a practical industrial system. The Allen–Bradley light stack and alarm.8 cm diameter. is a smart unit that operates on a different principle than the traditional drag chain conveyor.6 cm length) interspersed with 13 non-motorized common idler rollers. detects the position of an aluminum pallet on the belt.H. The basic functionality of the conveyor system is to position a small pallet on the line for subsequent pickup and removal by a pneumatic actuator for sorting purposes. 3. 208VAC single-phase motors with the belts in series. containing a series of PLC-controlled 24VDC SMC solenoid valves (VQ2101-5). (ii) explore sensor. used in the traffic light experiment. This conveyor element contains three MicroRollers (24VDC brushless motor. (iii) design ladder diagrams to control pallet motion. 4. An inductive proximity switch (Square D PJD312N) with a 3 mm range provides information for pneumatic activation. / Mechatronics 17 (2007) 480–488 483 Micro Logix 1000 PLC O/1 O/2 O/3 Relay 1 Motor 1 Conveyor Belt Relay 2 Motor 2 Cylinder Pneumatic Solenoid O/4 O/5 O/6 O/7 O/8 I/1 I/2 I/3 I/4 I/5 I/6 Manifold Proximity Sensor/ Switch Air Supply 24 VDC Red Yellow Green 110 VAC Power Supply PC (PLC Host) S1 Buttons 1 3 5 2 4 6 Light/Siren Stack Siren Fig. Bassily et al. The MicroLogix 1000 PLC is programmed to move the belt until the pallet is positioned and the pneumatic actuator can retrieve the part from the conveyor. 35. 3. Smart conveyor system The second conveyor system. For instance. the cylinder is attached to a ‘‘sky hook’’ which lifts the part off the belt. each motorized and adjacent non-motorized roller can be linked by a rubber belt to create individually-controlled zones along the conveyor’s length. 4. The roller speed is adjust- . carries small pallets under computer control. regulates the air supply for the actuator. provides visual and audible feedback. A variety of operating configurations are possible. In the undergraduate curriculum. direction commands. and PLC integration issues. The learning objectives for this laboratory experiment are to: (i) understand the operation and application of proximity and optical sensors. and (b) signal schematic. The flexible conveyor system design allows the student teams to integrate different sensors to track the pallet motion and explore different control strategies. Drag belt conveyor system with pneumatic actuator: (a) layout. and the 24VDC power supply.2.

but the driver cards are not currently configured for electronic control. and an array of multi-purpose control panel push buttons that may be programmed as needed by the students. and (iv) control and coordination of multiple conveyor systems for various operations. Next. Unlike the MicroLogix 1000. Currently. (iii) integration of the conveyor system with robotic arms for material handling. the MicroLogix 1500 accepts add-on hardware cards to accommodate a large number of both digital and analog devices. a 24VDC sinking output module provides the interface between the PLC and the MicroRoller cards.484 H. Bassily et al. (ii) programming of the MicroLogix 1500 PLC (and comparison to the MicroLogix 1000 PLC) to sequentially move parts on the conveyor system. moveable optical proximity sensors attached along the conveyor edges. multiple 121.9 cm long uniform conveyor systems allow a reconfigurable material handling approach. / Mechatronics 17 (2007) 480–488 Cylinders Air Supply Proximity Sensors Micro Logix / 1500 PLC I/1 I/2 I/3 I/4 I/5 I/6 I/7 I/8 O/1 O/2 O/3 O/4 O/5 O/6 O/7 O/8 O/9 O/10 O/11 O/12 Pneumatic Solenoids 8 7 6 Manifold PC#1 (PLC Host) 5 5 8 Smart Controller Cards 7 Rollers 6 4 Controller Cards 3 3 4 Light/Siren Stack Siren Red Buttons 1 3 5 2 4 6 Air Cylinder I/15 I/16 I/17 I/18 I/19 I/20 2 Yellow Green Power Supply 24VDC 2 O/13 O/14 O/15 Robot Controller 1 110 VAC Smart Rollers Proximity Sensors 1 Fig. able. Note that the conveyor system is controlled by a single MicroLogix 1500. For example. Robotic arms – programming and system integration Industrial robotic systems are used in manufacturing environments in three general manners: (i) part pick/place . The conveyor is controlled by a MicroLogix 1500 PLC. the student teams are required to program the PLC to optically detect the placement of a part on the conveyor by a robotic arm. 4. and (b) signal schematic. The experimental system also includes an Allen– Bradley light stack with audible alarm (similar to Section 2). In this laboratory. the PLC can supervise the unloading of the conveyor system. Smart conveyor system with PLC and light tower: (a) layout. The learning objectives for this experiment include: (i) use of proximity sensors to control the motion of objects on conveyor systems. Using a building block approach. the PLC can be programmed to take advantage of the independent zone control concept to sequentially move each newlyarrived part to the furthest-available zone until all the conveyor zones are loaded. 4.

0e-03s communication frame. Bassily et al. the actual time amount depends on the action. vertical. ¨ .2. The conveyor transports the objects through a series of sensor zones to a terminal stage for further processing. The robotic arm contains two pneumatic solenoid valves linked to external couplers in the base to activate optional peripherals. Communication occurs between the robotic arm and the host computer using an intelligent peripherals communications protocol (IPC) and RS-232 serial connection. These key positions include the ‘‘wait’’ (e. and (iv) apply problem solving (software and hardware) skills to realize proper robotic system operation. Communication with the Adept controller can be established by three means: (i) a pendant console attached to the cabinet which features predefined arm functions. the joint speeds vary from 185°/s for the shoulder joint to 580°/s for the end effector. (ii) a computer terminal using V+ language commands or a Windowsbased GUI to communicate with the controller..g.. 4. Robotic arms for programming and material handling: (a) UMI RT100. the robotic arm positions (or poses) have been pre-determined and supplied to the students. pitch. motor controller commands are contained in RT100 library functions that are embedded in a PASCAL or C++ script. which serves as a mechanical ‘‘fuse’’ to foster a safe environment for students to investigate manipulators. hover over a part) and ‘‘pick’’ (e. and (iii) contact tasks including component assembly [19]. positions may be defined for conveyor unloading. The control cabinet includes an Adept CS7 controller and power amplifiers to drive the motors. The remainder of this communication frame is designated for two IPCs which control the joint motions. Motion is transferred from the motor to the designated joint through a belt drive. Fig.. The learning objectives of this experiment can be summarized as: (i) understand the basic operation and terminology of robotic arms including library commands and communication principles. and roll) with an additional DOF for the end gripper. shoulder. Staubli RX130 robotic arm ¨ The Staubli RX130 robot is an industrial six DOF arm ¨ with accompanying control cabinet and computer console. 4. 5). The IPC protocol constitutes a communication level that can be directly accessed through specific commands. the industrial grade RX130 robotic arm can be programmed to transport components between storage bins and the conveyor sections to realize an integrated material handling system. The student teams are tasked to program the robotic arm to pick up objects from a pre-staged parts platform and deposit them onto the smart conveyor. Data and command transfers are executed within an 8. welding). On the host.g.g. Similarly. and (iii) network connections with a remote computer terminal.. position gripper around a part) poses for each part to be placed on the conveyor. and (b) Staubli RX130. The Mechatronics Laboratory features two robotic arms. elbow. a UMI RT100 and a Staubli RX130 which ¨ students can program and interface with the conveyor systems (refer to Fig. The desired robot end gripper coordinates are entered in the form of encoder counts from the home position corresponding to specific angles of rotation for each motor. yaw. UMI RT100 robotic arm The UMI RT100 selective compliant assembly robot arm (SCARA) is a six degree-of-freedom (DOF) robot (e. A stepper motor is associated with each joint movement.g. (ii) non-contact trajectory based tasks (e. / Mechatronics 17 (2007) 480–488 485 operations. 5. To facilitate the programming activities.H. Each robotic arm joint is activated by a brushless induction motor through a gear drive. The desired arm speed is entered as a percentage of maximum speed. Next.1. The RT100 robotic arm provides an excellent platform for a general introduction and initial set of programming assignments. (ii) develop algorithms which command the robotic arm to pick/place objects. (iii) investigate the limitations of open loop operation for material placement.

(iv) create V+ algorithms to perform object pick/place operations. a pneumatic piston raises the table to allow the square shape to rotate the prescribed 90 degrees. The collaborative activities and communications between the two teams was continually addressed by the students and instructor. (v) understand the differences between openloop and closed-loop operations. 5. demonstrate. Robotic arm and gripper project One of the initial tasks was the review of safety procedures and installation of safety equipment for the robotic arm. Teams of approximately 6–8 mechanical and electrical engineering undergraduate/graduate students design. (iv) program the robot to pick/place objects off conveyor. (ii) understand typical robotic applications in the workplace. strength of materials. (iii) learn the V+ language. two design teams collaborated to create a material handling system with modular conveyor elements (Section 3. 5b. (iv) coordination of robot and conveyor elements for pick/place operations. fabricated from aluminum. 4a.2) and designed an innovative 90° turntable with similar elements to transport parts between the two conveyors. (ii) install additional safety equipment. the table is lowered to a level position with the adjacent conveyor sections. and (v) create laboratory manual. a metal enclosure limited access to the robot. and (iv) create a laboratory manual with exercises. the student members promptly selected a chief engineer and developed a project timeline. Once project approval was received. implemented. / Mechatronics 17 (2007) 480–488 The complexity of the robotic system provides a variety of educational challenges. and continue moving to the end staging area for robotic arm repositioning. Case study – smart material handling system An important aspect of this technical elective course is the completion of ‘‘hands on’’ design projects which focus on the creation of educational laboratory experiments with accompanying user’s manual and series of assignments. Finally. As shown in Fig. project reviews were held between the students and instructor. For instance. 6b and c). Second. a smaller pneumatic cylinder rotates the turntable. The team tasks include: (i) fabrication of a 121. Next. Second. creation of system diagrams to communicate key information. fabricated. Some of the initial team activities included brainstorming on project concepts. a pneumatic end gripper was designed. For this case study. the teams analyzed. At this point.2) and robotic arm (Section 4. (iii) design a pneumatic gripper for robot arm to grasp objects. bill of materials. fabricate. the conveyor transports them. procured. Robotic Arm Programming (Team #2): An industrial grade Stabuli robotic arm has been installed in a safety enclosure located in Cook Hall. analyze.2. development of requirement documents. A door limit switch disabled robot electrical power when open and warning lights signaled the robot arm status. the second conveyor. encounter the turntable. the PLC was programmed to coordinate the cargo transfer from the robotic arm to the first conveyor system. three sequential assignments will be discussed. Third. uses a single pneumatic cylinder that receives compressed air supplied from the robotic arm. the turntable. students review the safety guidelines and multi-faceted functionality of this industrial robot. Finally. and a laboratory manual chapter [20]. The turntable’s operation is pneumatically executed in a three step sequence. Finally. Conveyor system project The students successfully duplicated a 121. (ii) design and fabrication of a 90° pneumatic ‘‘turn table’’ to move objects between the conveyors. the projects were demonstrated on the last class day. student teams integrate the robotic arm into a material handling system which features the single section conveyor shown in Fig. students learn the V+ interface language and program the robot to achieve basic motion.2) for part pick/place/transport operations. fabricated. The mechatronic teams were assigned.1. and the robotic arm subsequently retrieves the parts. The reception and the delivery of the pallets to each conveyor were performed by two integrated MicroRoller elements. and identification of possible vendors. aluminum pallets travel on the conveyor. re-designed. 6a. First. As shown in Fig. Each team wrote a comprehensive technical report will full documentation. the reversed operation should also be demonstrated. The students also developed a fully documented tag/lockout procedure for work in the robot’s vicinity. First. To complete the mechanical build. and finally. and (vi) integrate the robotic arm and smart conveyor system. and tested on the robot which allowed students to synthesize concepts from machine design.486 H. This cost effective gripper. and document a safe mechatronics system using concepts learned in this and other engineering classes. The robotic arm places parts from a storage platform onto the conveyor system. and tested their designs. The learning objectives for the Staubli robotic arm experiment include: (i) appreciate the safety procedures for industrial robots. procure. (iii) PLC programming to control package movement.9 cm conveyor section (refer to Section 3.9 cm long conveyor section with MicroRollers to accompany an existing section. 5. the robotic arm and gripper were interfaced with the con- . The robotic arm should be able to retrieve parts from a staging platform and place them on a stationary conveyor. Conveyor System (Team #1): A material handling system will be created and applied to demonstrate manufacturing part transport and interaction with an industrial robotic arm. 5. The gripper can grab a 17 cm by 17 cm square widget with a 50 kg mass. Bassily et al. and manufacturing processes (refer to Fig. The team tasks include: (i) develop safety protocols for operating the robot. each team had access to the well equipped student machine shop in Cook Hall.

In: Proceedings of the ASEE annual conference. Overall. and production into engineering curriculum. the students appreciated the two complex design projects which presented significant demands but offered great opportunities for innovation. and the Sparks Belting Corporation of Fort Mill. and put theory into practice by designing the mechatronic material handling system. Multi-disciplinary teams explore hands-on laboratory experiments to familiarize themselves with instrumentation. Jamieson L. Bamieh B. Hanson M. OR. students. The pallets trav¨ eled the length of the conveyor with turntable action. TN. [8] Surgenor B. [5] Grimheden M. In: Proceedings of the 5th international workshop on research and education in mechatronics. A new course for integrating design. Summary The educational mechatronics laboratory in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Clemson University has been created through the continuing efforts of faculty. emulated a typical workplace scenario. [2] Slivovsky L. Albuquerque. October 2004. Acknowledgements The authors acknowledge the equipment contributions by the Rockwell Automation Corporation of Greenville. In: Proceedings of the international workshop on education in mechatronics. and frequent student-team-instructor communications empowered the students to take ownership of the laboratory learning process. NM. Lehtihet A. 6. Medeiros D. Firth K. / Mechatronics 17 (2007) 480–488 487 Fig. selection of chief engineers. 5.15(6):639–50. Evolving industry expectations for engineers – impact of global manufacturing. as evident by the troubleshooting of and eventual hosting of a factory technician to repair a robot electrical problem. actuators. September 2001. veyor system previously described for harmonious operation. The smart material handling system featured a series of aluminum pallets placed on. In: Proceedings of the ASEE annual conference. June 1999. Wysk R. Smart material handling system: (a) servo-motor conveyor and turntable. the conveyor by the Staubli robotic arm. Evaluating multidisciplinary design teams. manufacturing. June 2005. can inspire students in their academic careers. Joshi S. Portland. International collaboration in mechatronics education. Sensors. staff. Note that sensor integration represents an important on-going task for the robotic arm. Delft. June 2001. Lessons learned from a mobile robot based mechatronics course. June 2003. An interesting observation was that the students’ perseverance in resolving problems. Nashville. [7] Grimheden M. and real time controllers. and transportation systems. In: Proceedings of the ASEE annual conference. Mechatronics 2005. The Netherlands. as well as the outstanding support from the Mechanical Engineering Technical Staff at Clemson University. the design. motivated from common material handling. Wild P.3. the students had an opportunity to work with industrial equipment. allocation of student work assignments. Kiel. SC. References [1] Wagner J. Kielce. the mechatronic teams demonstrated their design projects during an open-house session. manufacturing. (b) industrial robotic arm with pneumatic gripper. Oakes W. What is mechatronics? Proposing a didactical approach to mechatronics.H. and computer interfacing laboratory course at the University of California at Santa Barbara. integration. SC. In: Proceedings of the ASEE annual conference. Further. develop teaming and communication skills. sensors. actuators. offer insight into career opportunities. Bassily et al. Poland. fabrication. In: Proceedings of the international engineering and design education conference. Germany. NC. Design project accomplishments and observations At the end of the semester. Parmenter V. and control of experimental systems. [4] Steiner M. Using real world multidisciplinary design experiences to prepare young engineers to enter today’s workforce. and (c) gripper design for 50 kg mass and 17 cm · 17 cm size. and removed from. 6. The formation of design teams. September 2004. and industrial sponsors. Further. [3] Simpson T. and prepare them to compete in a global job market that is increasingly less focused on the traditional boundaries of the engineering disciplines. Charlotte. [6] Ranaweera A. .

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