CVTC Opens Year with New Programs, Technology
Most classes for 2017-18 academic terms began Monday, August 28, 2017
The best way to learn how products are manufactured with automated equipment is to manufacture products with automated equipment. That’s the philosophy behind a new multi-disciplinary simulated manufacturing center that students will be using during the new academic year that opened Monday, Aug. 28 at Chippewa Valley Technical College.
The new equipment housed at CVTC’s Applied Technology Center is just one of the additions at CVTC for the 2017-18 year. CVTC also has several new programs for students and is preparing for some major physical changes at its Eau Claire and River Falls campuses.
“This will provide real world experience for students,” said Tim Tewalt, Industrial Mechanic program director in describing the simulated manufacturing center. “This is going to allow us to have the same state-of-the-art technology that is powering our manufacturing plants today.”
Made possible by a federal TechHire grant announced last year, the simulated manufacturing center includes a high-speed (24,000 rpm) robo-drill and robots that feed and unload the machine, assemble the product, perform a quality check, and pick up and deliver the product – all through automation. The set-up includes a laser fencing system that slows down, then stops the system when a person draws near.
“Students will be learning to troubleshoot a manufacturing line,” Tewalt said. “If a fault occurs, they have to use diagnostics and determine what more needs to be done to resume operations. We can insert 80 to 100 faults in the manufacturing center that can cause problems for the students to react to.”
The system is currently set up to manufacture USB flash drives from raw material to finished product, but Tewalt says a number of different products can be made with the equipment.
CVTC students have been using the type of equipment included in the manufacturing center for years, but the new line, which includes Fanuc brand equipment, takes the educational opportunities to the next level. “This puts all the equipment together into one system,” Tewalt said. “We’re using all the programs and equipment together, interacting with one another.”
Also new at CVTC this academic year are new programs in Mechanical Design, Agronomy Management, Animal Science Management and Library and Information Services.
With components of CVTC’s Machine Tooling Technics and Manufacturing Engineering Technology programs, Mechanical Design focuses on the design of parts used in production in a mechanical setting, according to Jeff Sullivan, dean of skilled trades engineering and manufacturing.
“The agriculture additions essentially divide CVTC’s previous Agriscience Technician program, which includes components in agronomy and animal sciences, into two associate degree programs in Agronomy Management and Animal Science Management,” said Julie Furst-Bowe, vice president of instruction at CVTC.
The creation of a Library and Information Services associate degree program at CVTC fills a void in higher education in Wisconsin, as there are currently no undergraduate programs in library science in the state, Furst-Bowe said. The program, delivered entirely online, will prepare people to work in public, academic, school, and corporate libraries for government, non-profits and private businesses.
At CVTC’s River Falls campus, the Residential Construction program will include both students from River Falls High School and CVTC students. Furst-Bowe said this academic year CVTC will have an increase in the number of high school students receiving CVTC credit through dual credit and high school academy programs.
Also this academic year, CVTC will undertake two major construction projects. Work will begin in the spring on a $1.5 million, 7,200 sq. ft. addition to the River Falls campus and work will begin soon on a $1.5 million remodeling at the Business Education Center in Eau Claire to create room for the new Culinary Management program to begin in August 2018.