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Goa College of Engineering (GEC) gets ‘practical’ with 1 crore giant robotic arm

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The Times of India |

FARMAGUDI: At a time when a chunk of India’s engineering graduates are said to be unemployable, the state-run Goa College of Engineering (GEC) will soon see its graduates being picked up like hot cakes, thanks to its ‘giant’ acquisition. A robotic arm, costing nearly 1 crore, and presently used in assembly lines of at least six major industrial sectors—mainly automobile—has been installed at GEC to train students. This has made the college only the third educational institute in the country—after Ajay Kumar Garg College of Engineering in UP and Chennai Institute of Technology in Tamil Nadu—to have the industrial robotic arm on its campus for students’ benefit.

“The KUKA KR-16 Industrial Robot is the one presently used in industry. So students are ready to work in industry the minute they step out of college. Before we acquired the robot, students could only watch videos to see how programming of such a robotic arm is done,” said GEC principal V N Shet. After the robot was installed in January this year, the institute has begun by training its graduate and postgraduate students in the electronics and telecommunication engineering stream. Students of mechanical, electrical and computer engineering will be subsequently trained in programming the robot, as it is used across various industries. “Goa has a thriving pharma industry which also makes use of this robot and robots are increasingly taking over automation jobs, so we thought it was the right time to train our students in programming such a robot,” said Milind Fernandes, assistant professor and in charge of the industrial robotics laboratory at GEC.

Students are taught to program the robot which enables it to accurately perform varied tasks like welding, gluing and picking and placing things in an assembly line, among others. The training contents and course material being used by the students have been designed by KUKA in Augsburg, Germany. And GEC faculty members from across departments were first trained in the use of the robot by the company as part of the institute’s purchase agreement with the firm, before the faculty could begin teaching students how to program the industrial robot. GEC, being a state government institute, the cost of the robot was entirely covered by the state and it took the institute nearly a year to complete the acquisition process of the industrial robot, said electronics and telecommunications engineering department head, Hassan Ali Virani. – Courtesy


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