Did you know that at the heart of virtually all advanced manufacturing industries are automated systems? Professionals with knowledge of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), hydraulics, pneumatics, electronics and robotics are needed to build and operate these automated systems. Additionally, professionals may launch careers in technical sales and service as well as integration (with automation houses).

At Centennial College's Electro Mechanical Engineering Technician - Automation and Robotics offering, students obtain the know-how they need to launch their careers after two years of study. This program combines a thorough understanding of theory, along with practical, hands-on laboratory experience.

Students' studies consist of a heavy hands-on focus that sees them spend much of their time in labs particularly designed for the curriculum of the program. Housed at Progress Campus, these labs are part of one of the largest trades training centres in the province. Here is a closer look at some of the courses in this offering - which is accredited by Canadian Technology Accreditation Board (CTAB) - that demonstrate how beneficial it is for attendees.

Electric Circuits: Students split their time between theoretical lectures and labs in which they apply what they have learned about the fundamental principles and theorems of D.C. and A.C. series and parallel resistive circuits. The labs allow students to work with D.C. power supplies, digital multimeters (DMM), oscilloscopes, function generators and use of electronics-circuit simulation design software.

Robotic Devices: In a lab setting, students gain programming skills and apply them to the industrial robots. Among specific topics are: programming the ABB robots, challenges of the integrated systems, robot safety guidelines, terminology and classification of robots, definition of robotics in CIM systems, and end of arm tooling.

Mechanics and Materials: This automation robotics engineering course examines concepts of Forces (tension, compression, shear, bearing, bending), stresses and strains due to applied loads and temperature changes. Students also learn about the shear force diagram, bending moment diagram, centre of mass/centre of gravity/centroid and properties of metals. Students become comfortable with selecting the size and proper metal material to be used in building their robot components.       

Hydraulic Systems 1, 2, 3: Presented in three advancing classes, this course deals with concepts and laws of hydraulics. In the first course, students gain hands-on practice with the circuit assembly, operation and testing of components. The second course, meanwhile, examines advanced pressure and flow controls components and their industrial applications. Students are required to design more advanced systems based on specific industrial uses. The third Automation robotics engineering course wraps up the examination of hydraulics with a look at hydraulic motor applications in open and closed loop circuits. Cartridge and proportional valves are introduced and students are required to perform practical lab operations with these valves, demonstrating their use in modern hydraulic circuits.