April 30, 2020
April 30, 2020
October 10, 2020
The application of robotics and automation in industry continues to be an increasing area of growth. Subsequently, this requires an increased demand for design engineering students as well as knowledgeable users trained for equipment maintenance. However, this can become problematic to adequately provide a realistic environment for both teaching design of robotics systems as well as the maintenance. In recent years, with the coordination between Cal Poly Pomona and Boys Republic, we have developed Project Ponderosa. Project Ponderosa provides Cal Poly Pomona engineering students the opportunity to design various robotics, mechatronics, and automation systems that are and will be operated and maintained by Boys Republic students for Christmas Wreath Production at their facility. Prior to Project Ponderosa, the Boys Republic Christmas wreaths were predominately produced using various manual techniques including lacquer application and cutting operations. The robotics and automation systems have been designed to implement these and other tasks in the Christmas Wreath product at Boys Republic. This production is used as a seasonal annual fund raiser which ships approximately 40,000 units during the span of three weeks of production. Due to the period of operation and cost profiles, it is unrealistic to fund an outside engineering company to develop an automation solution. Using the partnership between the two schools provides Cal Poly Pomona engineering students the opportunity to learn and practice the engineering design process including capturing customer requirements for the task, preliminary design, simulation, detailed design, and test and integration while documenting the design throughout each phase. As the projects are completed, the students at Boys Republic gain the vocational experience for operation and maintaining the systems providing the experience for future opportunities upon completing their program at Boys Republic. To date, many engineering students have received engineering career opportunities as a direct result of their work on Ponderosa.
Boskovich, S. M., & Burns, C. (2020, April), Full Paper: Project Ponderosa - Bridging Engineering Education to Vocational Training Paper presented at Proceedings of the 2020 ASEE PSW Section Conference, canceled, Davis, California. https://strategy.asee.org/36031
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