Ohio State receives $251,000 for advanced manufacturing education, research

Posted: December 16, 2022

Manufacturing comprises the largest economic sector in Ohio and the need for highly skilled workers is growing rapidly.

The Ohio State University received $251,000 from the Ohio Department of Higher Education to invest in equipment that will support advanced manufacturing workforce development and innovation.

Mike Groeber and two students working with robotic arm
Associate Professor Michael Groeber talks to two students in the Artificially Intelligent Manufacturing Systems Lab, which will house the new mobile robotic systems funded by a RAPIDS grant.

The department’s Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) program makes strategic equipment investments to support workforce development initiatives that support Ohio’s efforts to retain and expand existing businesses, attract new companies and further entrepreneurship opportunities. This is the third consecutive year that the College of Engineering has participated in the RAPIDS program.

The College of Engineering received $146,000 to purchase mobile robotic systems, an environmental chamber for conditioning samples prior to testing and evaluation, laser cutting and etching equipment, and a private 5G wireless system.

The robotic systems will be housed in the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence’s (CDME) Artificially Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (AIMS) Lab, a test site for industry and university partners to study and develop manufacturing systems that work with and are controlled by artificial intelligence. The equipment will be accessible to students, researchers and industry partners, as well as the Ohio State Robotics Club.

Mobile robots are becoming increasingly common on manufacturing floors and warehouses to autonomously move materials and products. By giving students and researchers access to a mobile robot platform, the next generation of software control tools can be developed and students can gain experience with these systems before entering the workforce.

“A mobile robot learning and research platform offers numerous advantages to familiarize the next generation of engineers with the equipment of today,” said Vimal Buck, senior researcher and director of cybersecurity at CDME.  “Students trained in software development practices and familiar with the hardware integration essential to utilizing mobile robots will be invaluable to any manufacturer.”

The Ohio State University at Lima received $105,000 for their Bio-Engineering Additive Printing Initiative (BEAPI). The funding will be used to purchase a 5J MediJet 3D printer that will allow engineering students to design and manufacture bio-health devices while demonstrating competencies and skills in additive manufacturing and production processes. The additive manufacturing skills students gain related to bio-engineering are easily transferable to other types of manufacturers using additive printing in their manufacturing processes.

Ohio State Lima’s BEAPI aims to address engineering workforce needs related to advanced and additive manufacturing. The partnership between Ohio State Lima’s Bachelor of Science Engineering Technology (BSET) and the St. Rita Health System’s Graduate Medical Education works to strengthen engineering education, while also producing bio-health devices that will aid medical education. Students gain experience in industry-level additive manufacturing and the skills needed to enter the workforce. The BSET degree program prepares students to excel as the advanced manufacturing leaders of tomorrow in roles such as process engineer, manufacturing engineer, operational excellence team member, operations supervisor and process improvement leader.

The RAPIDS grants received by Ohio State are part of a $926,000 project by the Central Ohio RAPIDS Consortium to create a sustainable education pipeline leading to high-demand positions in the advanced manufacturing and healthcare industries. Funded equipment will serve the consortium’s 14-county central Ohio region.

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