GBS Engineering Builds Robotic Arm For Packaging Expo
Members of the Glenbrook South Engineering Club spent some of their summer gaining real-world experience by building a robotic arm for the American manufacturing company Belden.
The project began when Chris Noble reached out to GBS Technology Education Teacher Justin Zummo.
“It was a really awesome chance for us to get to work with some of this equipment again that we would never have access to here. And so, that was really the main aspect of this whole venture was connecting students with industry and materials that they are going to see there, the programming structures they are going to see there. Just try to bridge that gap a little more between education and realm of manufacturing and the packaging industry,” Zummo said.
Noble donated $40,000 worth of pneumatic equipment the previous summer to the program.
In August Zummo reached out to his students about the opportunity to build something for Belden that would be presented at a packaging expo in Las Vegas this fall.
Initially Costa Aralis, Nathan Schab, Ryan McCarthy, Amanda Ley and Furqan Sadal responded to the opportunity to work on this project.
GBS Senior Costa Aralis said, “We weren’t really given a plan and we kind of had to make up our plan on our own. I mean that’s part of the challenge.”
The team came up with the idea to build a robotic arm that would laminate and package business cards.
“That was a unique twist that we threw in to kind of create the storyline for what this project was going to be,” Zummo said.
It took the students about eight weeks to complete the project.
“It was actually a huge learning process because what we figured out was the robot kind of has a mind of its own, so if you tell it to go from point A to point B it’ll find its own way to get there,” Aralis said.
As the school year began Peter Canalia, Alisha Deshpande, Samantha Kleiner, Norbert Zarski and other students in Zummo’s PLTW Digital Electronics class helped with the project.
Zummo said students in the classroom work on educational robotics, while this project consisted of industrial robotics.
“The bigger takeaway is just how to apply our design process cause that’s what we talk about here in the classroom is use the design process to solve problems. Well here is a completely out of left field unique problem that we are being given and how do we use our design process to solve that and going through that process really makes things stick for them,” Zummo said.
Aralis volunteered to present the final product in Las Vegas, an experience he will never forget.
“This experience is something that I never thought would came in high school or even in college. To work with a company for something that’s actually a real world application, something that is used in the world is an amazing opportunity that doesn’t come often,” Aralis said.
The robotic arm will stay at GBS until the company asks for it back. Zummo plans to continue to use it in the classroom, change its process and ultimately do something new with it in the future.