NEWS

CMU's SET robotics lab offers cutting-edge opportunities and professional success

| Author: Robert Wang | Media Contact: wang1rw@cmich.edu

In the exciting world of robotics education, Central Michigan University's School of Engineering and Technology Robotics Lab has been a trailblazer, forming strong ties with industry leaders like FANUC America Corporation. This is because Dr. Shaopeng (Frank) Cheng, CMU Engineering faculty member and coordinator of SET Robotics Lab, has dedicated his higher education career to promoting, establishing, and maintaining this collaboration since 1995, which has opened up unique learning opportunities for engineering and technology students and immerse them in the cutting-edge field of advanced manufacturing, using top-notch products like FANUC robots.

Let's take a quick journey through the SET Robotics Lab's milestones

1988: The lab was founded with support from Michigan State, obtaining five first-gen GM-FANUC robots.

2001: CMU acquired the first new-gen FANUC M6i robot under the established CMU-FANUC partnership, fostering research and teaching on robotics.

2010: An enhanced CMU-FANUC partnership kicked off with the addition of three FANUC LR Mate 200iC robots and Dr. Shaopeng (Frank) Cheng became a FANUC Certified Instructor, which has made SET Robotics Lab a FANUC Certified Training Site for FANUC Robot Education in CMU Robotics courses EGR 371 and IET 375.

2013: The lab expanded with another FANUC LR Mate robot to accommodate growing enrollment in robotics courses.

Present: The lab currently houses five active FANUC robots, including one M6i and four 200iC models, used for EGR 371 and IET 375 student hands-on lab exercises on FANUC robot programming with FANUC HandlingTool Software and Teach Pendant (TP) Programming Language.

The impact on education

EGR 371 Robotics and Automation, capped at 26 students due to FANUC robot availability, is a highly sought-after elective at CMU, where robotics theory is taught through demonstrations of FANUC robot solutions in design, computation, and programming.

Spring 2024 sees a full enrollment of 26 students in EGR 371.

FANUC Robot Education Certificates are awarded to students completing EGR 371 or IET 375.

Over the last five years, around 170 students have earned these certificates, proving valuable in job searches.

Graduates' professional advantages

Alumni testimonials affirm that FANUC robotics knowledge and certificates from CMU give them a competitive edge in their careers.

Success stories include Collin, who thanks Dr. Frank Cheng’s teaching of FANUC robotics for preparing him to work on a FANUC M20 robot project at Summit Polymers, and Devin, a GM tech support engineer, expressing gratitude for real-world preparation through learning, now working on sealing robots for new Chevy, Buick, and GMC models.

These success stories highlight the vital role of partnerships between educational institutions like CMU and industry giants like FANUC, shaping the future of robotics education and launching graduates into promising careers in advanced manufacturing.