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High School Industrial Robotics


Dec 23, 2007
Southeastern US
So I have mentioned before that we (several local industries in partnership with one of the local county high schools) developed and got approved through the state the first industrial robotics class ever in Tennessee. The course curriculum was developed by the Engineers working with this program with a focus on practical application in industry for robotics. This is a 1 semester class, 1.5 hrs / day and is taught by the Engineers with the High School Technology Instructor acting as facilitator. We go in and teach in 2-3 week blocks and are sponsored by our employers (basically they count our teaching time as on the job time).

We started this 5 years ago. It took a year of workshops one to three times a week in the evenings to develop the curriculum and all the red tape paperwork associated with dealing with the county and state educational system. This past spring was the 4th class to go through this course.

The ABB robots were purchase with a donation from a local non-profit. The big Fanuc and the Kawasaki glimpsed in the video were donations from industry, as were most all of the other things you see associated with the video I am posting. Grippers were donated by Schunk, the sensors and cables were NOS / Demo / trade show left-overs / Obsolete items from Machine Automation in Knoxville, TN, and possibly some stuff donated by a member of this forum who sent a large box of items in the spring (THANK YOU!).

The gripper fingers were 3D designed and 3D printed at the school by the CAD class next door.
The pipes were donated (Knurled 1" EMT) as well as the little cones they sit on. The tubes and stuff the pipes slide down on were made in house by the students. The sensor brackets in the enclosure were designed and printed by the CAD class.

It's taken 3 years to gather enough stuff to actually get to the point we could teach them how to get the robots working together to simulate an automated production cell. We could teach them, but didn't have enough physical stuff to make it a reality for them until this, the 4th class.

Take note that these kids had never even seen a 6-axis industrial robot when they started this class. They did all of the programming for this after having done several 'precursor' programs that build up to being able to do this. This was the "final" project, get 3 of the robots working together in a work cell 'processing' parts through. Note that this was accomplished in less than 4 months of 1.5 hr classes (the first 6 weeks is dedicated to the topics of "Safety, Terminology, and History of robotics".

I'm very, very proud of these kids. They were excellent students and some of them are extremely bright (One earned a full-ride scholarship at Princeton University.)

This is the type of thing we need to push for in our schools.

There are some warts in this, and it could use a lot of optimization and some more debugging, but they ran out of school days. I think they did just FINE for what time they had available.

LInk to video:
Cherokee STEM Lab finally gets all ABB robot to work together! - YouTube
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Apr 2, 2017
AWESOME! Where was this when I was in high school? Scratch that, where is this in my college education?

Sounds like you have a pretty good thing going there.
Aug 17, 2017
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Nice job! My company supports STEM programming, too. There's a robotics club and class at the local high school in Euclid, Ohio, that we sponsor. We also work with AWT RoboBots on their annual robotics competition.