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Industrial Automation  

5 Credits
Entry Level - No Prerequisites

Industrial Automation is our latest course on Mechatronics and Robotics. This course combines the topics of our other automation courses, "Introduction to Robotic Automation" and "Mechanical Automation Systems Engineering" with the goal of mechanizing actually shop processes. This often includes high voltage, heavy duty equipment. While this does combine topics from other classes, we've designed each of our Automation/Robotics courses to be entry level yet have overlap from each. This way students can start their journey from any starting point.

Where we differ from most is by teaching each element of a robotic system, such as drive mechanisms, sensors, and programming from the simplest of components rather than installation of proprietary machinery such as FANUC, KUKA, or even modular systems like Festo and SMC. Damian Cianci and his team have been involved in technology for many years and specifically Mechatronics since 2008. What we've learned over the years is that with an education in the industry and knowledge of your vendors, you can build an equal or superior, non-proprietary open source system for a fraction of the cost. Upon completion of this course, students will not only understand the purpose of each subsystem and component, but how to configure it, where to buy it and how much it costs.

As the course progresses, students leave the classroom, so to speak, and begin working on automating real tasks in our fabrication shop. These tasks will frequently require the manufacturing of parts themselves. For example, an aluminum plate to hold rollers for a conveyor belt, or a plastic spacer, or composite casing. These will all be designed to student specification in CATIA and fabricated using the appropriate method (CNC, 3D printing and/or composite layup). Students that have gained these skills from our other courses or past experience will be able to do this on their own and those without will work closely with the instructor to learn the fabrication process.

We've coined a phrase "snap-on automation" where the goal is to build automation into existing equipment but leave it in a way that it could easily be removed or still used manually. This ability create a modularity that translates into agility for the company and reducing "time to market". While we focus strongly on aerospace application, this design works perfectly for the small business that can't afford or have the space for larger dedicated solutions. For example, imagine a table saw that you can "snap on" a robotic table that allows the company to cut out hundreds of pieces of wood without human intervention or a path following a cart of materials that's delivered to the work station when needed.

Topics Overview:
  • Wireless control systems (Bluetooth, WiFi and others)
  • Basic electromechanical actions - Rotate, push/pull
  • Compound actions - Simulated ball socket, motion translation, claws and grabbers, drives, belt, cable, chain, screw
  • Simple mechanisms - Conveyor, elevator
  • Sensor application - Triggers, path following

Lab Topics:
* These will change from time to time
  • Tool and Kit Delivery System
  • Repetitive Cutting Systems
  • Cleaning Bots (Industrial Roomba)
  • Process Monitoring Systems (OpenHAB and others)

Helpful Skills:
* These will be taught in class if you are not familiar
  • Arduino / Microcontroller Interfacing
  • Basic understanding of C/C++ coding language
  • Understanding of all basic electronic passive components
  • Understanding of various motors and their requirements
  • Knowledge of various sensors
  • Ability to use all general shop tools and equipment
  • Basic understanding of fastener sizes and general nomenclature
  • Generally "Mechanically Inclined"
  • Strong skill in Internet searching

Mailing List Signup - Get notified of upcoming classes!

To Register:
  • Click "add to cart
  • Create an account
  • Make payment online (Boeing people say PO or Check and write in "Boeing"
  • Complete a credit registration form. E-mail form to or fax 425-267-5749

  • Call The BTC (425-640-1840) and give them the number of the class you wish to register for

Contact Damian Cianci at if you have any questions.

The Business Training Center of Edmonds Community College has been "off-campus" in the heart of the community providing practical industry focused education for over 17 years.


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