Thursday, February 15, 2018

Vol State Students Hands-On with Robots in Advanced Manufacturing


I’m sure you’ve all seen an assembly line in a factory, but have you ever taken a moment to think about how these massive structures are developed, operated, or maintained? Well, there’s a field that will teach you about all of the different technologies that go into creating such a system.

“Mechatronics, it’s a hybrid of classical engineering and manufacturing, the recombination of really any engineering field. Using computer control to power things,” says Taylor Matson, a Mechatronics major at Vol State. Mechatronics professionals, or mechatrons, as Matson calls them, are working in one of the fastest growing industries today. These experts repair, maintain, and design state-of-the-art robotics and computer-aided equipment.

“It’s amazing how many manufacturing jobs are in Tennessee. Take Gap, they have a huge mechatronics line where they have all of their clothes automated coming from assembly lines, being sorted by computers, and shipped properly. It’s only one of dozens of companies using mechatronics.”

So, what about the cool stuff, like building robots? “If you’re interested in robotics and working with machines that move, this is the most cost effective way to learn, especially since classes here are so cheap, relative to universities. One of my primary initial reasons for learning mechatronics is that I want to learn to make robots. If you want to be involved in the future of robotics, you have to do mechatronics. Any massive industrial system, like a spaceship, would need a ton of mechatronics officers just to be maintained.”

SkillsUSA is an organization that provides educational events, competitions, and programs that support technical and career education across America. Matson recently gave a speech for SkillsUSA on Vol State’s behalf, honored as the Outstanding Technical Student of the Year. “I told them that Vol State is the place for mechatronics, period. This opportunity is rare and it’s affordable. It’s very hands on and requires large, expensive equipment. Just existing, this program is a huge advancement for Gallatin.” This degree program is still relatively new for Gallatin, born in fall 2017. Since its inception, seats have filled up quickly.

Matson has previously obtained an A.A.S. in Music Production, is a DJ and Audio Engineer, has a drone production company Avita Industries, LLC, and plans to continue his studies in mechatronics after he is released from the U.S. Army. For more information about Mechatronics at Vol State visit
www.volstate.edu/mechatronics

-By Rachel Keyes

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