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Fanshawe Instructor First in Canada to Be Certifiedby FANUC Robotics
Fanshawe College is the first Canadian post-secondary institution with an instructor certified by FANUC Robotics America, Inc.
Michael Zhang, an instructor in the Electronics Engineering Technician - Robotics and Automation and Electronics Engineering Technician - Industrial Controls programs at Fanshawe, earned the FANUC Certified Education Robot Training (CERT) designation in December.
John Makaran, Chair of the School of Manufacturing Sciences at Fanshawe, said the certification will benefit students.
"It means that our students who go through training with the FANUC robots will be certified FANUC operators and that's big because FANUC Robotics is a major player in robotics."
Tanya Proietti, a senior marketing analyst with FANUC Robotics, said certification is important because it gives their company confidence in the school's ability to teach robotics based on their products.
"There are other schools out there that are using robots," Proietti said, "but those institutions haven't gone through our training process and reached certification."
Zhang, who has been teaching robotics at Fanshawe for two years, said he earned his certification through on-line and hands-on instruction at FANUC Robotics' headquarters in Michigan. The College has three FANUC robots now, two training units in addition to a FANUC robot in the welding lab donated by Formet in May 2007. "They are especially designed for the training process," Zhang said. Although the robots are set up specifically for training students, they are fully functional industrial robots and operate using the same features utilized in industry.
As a result, students will not only be able to learn about programming a FANUC robot, they will also be able to participate in industry projects or participate in applied research projects involving the use of FANUC robots. This will make their education all the more relevant.
Zhang said his students learn to program the robots for various applications and then test the applications before they are put into production. "Also, this robot has a vision function, a camera. My next step is to use the camera to develop applications for students to learn." He believes that in the future, the College can work with industry partners to help develop visual applications.
Zhang, a native of China who has lived in Canada for nine years, has two Bachelor's Degrees, one in electronics earned in China and another in computer science from the University of Windsor. He has a Master's in electrical and computer engineering from Wayne State University in Michigan. Zhang also worked for several years with robots in industry before coming to Fanshawe.
FANUC Robotics America, Inc. designs, engineers and manufactures industrial robots and robotic systems for a wide range of applications including arc and spot welding, material handling, material removal, assembly, paint finishing and dispensing. The company also provides application-specific software, controls, vision products and complete support services. After 25 years of success and more than 200,000 robots installed worldwide, FANUC Robotics maintains its position as the leading robotics company in the Americas.