ABB Robotics, a leading supplier of industrial robots, and Vincennes University (VU) have formed a partnership that will greatly enhance the Indiana college’s vocational and technical robotic training, and provide ABB with an authorized training facility in the central Midwest. The partnership includes the installation of 29 ABB robots and related work cells, software and controllers into VU’s new $9 million industrial training facility, the Indiana Center for Applied Technology (ICAT), which opened in March 2009. VU offers a two-year associate degree in Computer Integrated Manufacturing & Robotics, and a series of robotic training courses in its Workforce Development program. The ICAT will be ABB’s third authorized training center in the U.S., joining the headquarters location in Auburn Hills, Michigan and an auxiliary facility in Birmingham, AL.
“VU has been at the forefront of advanced manufacturing education and training for many years and was one of the first schools to offer a degree in robotic technology back in 1983,” said VU President Dick Helton. “We couldn’t be more excited about our new relationship with ABB; they understand our educational goals and have been a great partner in helping shape the vision for enhancing our programs and making the ICAT one of the finest facilities of its kind in the nation.”
The ICAT will be equipped with a full range of industrial robots and related peripherals, including eight FlexArc Welding Cells, four IRB 260 Palletizers, three IRB 4600s, twelve IRB 140s and two used IRB 140s for service and maintenance training. In addition to the software and controllers necessary to program and operate each robot, eight of the IRB 140s are equipped with TrueView, ABB’s advanced vision system. This will allow students to gain training in applications that include robotic welding and plasma cutting; picking, packing and palletizing; machine tending, material handling and product assembly; and advanced vision related programming.
“Not only will we be able to train our students on state-of-the-art, cutting edge robotic technology, we will be able to expose them to a widest possible range of industrial applications,” said David Tucker, VU vice president, Workforce Development/Community Services. “Those that want more focused training in a specific area, like robotic welding, will also have that opportunity.”
The partnership is a significant step in the strategic plan for ABB to establish regional certified training campuses throughout North America, where robotic technicians will have easier access to comprehensive training and certification.
“Partnering with Vincennes is ideal for ABB on a number of different levels”, said Kirk Goins, senior vice president, ABB Robotics Division, North America. “Most importantly it allows us to be a part of one of the top industrial education institutions in the country, and it gives us the perfect model moving forward for establishing similar relationships in other regions.”
Though the full reach of the relationship between VU and ABB is still evolving, ABB will provide unlimited training for VU staff at the flagship training facility in Auburn Hills; full design and electrical engineering support of the robotic installations at the ICAT; and the potential for field training of VU students in conjunction with ABB’s participation in industry trade shows, new industrial system installations and other industry related activities.
VU has had a similar relationship for five years with Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America. “Our goal is to cultivate the relationship with ABB much as we have with Haas,” said Tucker. “The opportunity to train students on the best robotic equipment available will continue the increase the visibility and preference of ABB and Vincennes University to industries in the Midwest and beyond.”
About Vincennes University - Indiana’s First College
VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper and additional sites such as the Indianapolis International Airport. VU also offers instruction at military sites throughout the nation. In addition to offering 200 associate degree and certificate programs, VU also offers bachelor’s degree programs in technology, homeland security, nursing, and secondary education programs in mathematics, science, and special education. VU enrolls students from throughout Indiana, 26 other states, and 37 foreign countries. Tuition and fees are the lowest among Indiana campuses with residence halls. VU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Founded in 1801, VU is Indiana’s first college and is the only college in the nation founded by an individual who would later become President of the United States. William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S. President, founded VU while serving as governor of the Indiana Territory. More information is available at http://www.vinu.edu.
About ABB, Inc.
ABB (http://www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in approximately 100 countries and employs about 120,000 people.
About ABB Robotics
ABB Robotics (http://www.abb.com/robotics) is a leading supplier of industrial robots – also providing robot software, peripheral equipment, modular manufacturing cells and service for tasks such as welding, handling, assembly, painting and finishing, picking, packing, palletizing and machine tending. Key markets include automotive, plastics, metal fabrication, foundry, electronics, pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries. A strong customer focus helps manufacturers improve productivity, product quality and worker safety. ABB has installed more than 160,000 robots worldwide.