Rensselaer Co-Hosts Manufacturing Education Conference

This week, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will co-host the 2012 Haas Technical Education Center (HTEC) Manufacturing Conference. Now in its sixth year, the event is attended by K-12 and university instructors from North America and aims to strengthen manufacturing education.

“Today’s students at Rensselaer go on to become tomorrow’s technological leaders and pioneers. Taking courses on manufacturing and training on leading-edge manufacturing machinery affords them the opportunity to see how things are made and, in turn, makes them better engineers and leaders,” said Sam Chiappone, manager of fabrication and prototyping in the School of Engineering at Rensselaer, and a member of the 2012 Americas Haas Technical Education Council. “We’re happy to be able to co-host the 2012 HTEC Manufacturing Conference.”

The conference will take place July 16-19 at Hudson Valley Community College and Rensselaer. As part of the technical sessions, Chiappone and Rensselaer Senior Systems Engineer Larry Ruff will talk about undergraduate engineering education in the presentation “Teaching Manufacturing to Future Engineers—Capstone Classes with a CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) Component.” Rensselaer will host a ceremony and reception on Wednesday evening at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, featuring keynote speaker Stacey Wagner, manager of workforce systems development at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

Rensselaer hosted the inaugural HTEC Manufacturing Conference in 2006. HTEC is a partnership between leading machine tool maker Haas Automation Inc. and nearly 1,000 high schools and colleges in the United States and Canada. For 12 years, Hass has been an industrial sponsor of the Manufacturing Innovation Learning Lab (MILL) and its predecessor, the Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory (AML), at Rensselaer.

The MILL is positioned to be an important foundation for infusing micromanufacturing, nanomanufactuing, and other advanced manufacturing technologies into the Rensselaer undergraduate engineering curriculum and graduate student experience. Additionally, MILL will enable new course work and advanced study on robotics systems development, manufacturing systems simulation, and emerging machining technologies. The Rensselaer School of Engineering expects to establish new undergraduate and graduate courses focused on these areas.

MILL’s predecessor, the AML, was established in 1980. For the past few years, several student teams using the AML and taking the related course, Advanced Manufacturing Lab, have won or placed high in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Student Design and Manufacturing Competition held at the ASME annual conference. Rensselaer students won top prize at the competition in 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009.

MILL is an important cornerstone of the overall advanced manufacturing enterprise at Rensselaer. Leading the university’s advanced manufacturing research program is the Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS). CATS is a New York state designated Center for Advanced Technology and receives annual funding of nearly $1 million from the Empire State Development (ESD) Division for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR). Since 1988, CATS has worked with partner companies to leverage the knowledge and expertise of Rensselaer faculty and students toward solving real-world
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