By Anthony Capkun
February 12, 2016 – Seneca College and Siemens Canada say they are helping Canadian manufacturing take a positive step in addressing the technical skills gap with the opening of Ontario’s first Mechatronics Simulation & Demonstration Centre (MSDC), which was officially launched today.
“Together, we are helping provide Ontario with the highly skilled graduates we need to continue to thrive in the complex and sophisticated world of advanced manufacturing,” said Seneca College president David Agnew.
Mechatronics is the combination of mechanical, electrical and computer technologies—as well as control and systems theory—into a single system used in production and manufacturing, explains Siemens.
“We have an amazing partner in Seneca and together we are delighted to open the [MSDC] as a showcase, offering students an applied learning environment and, ultimately, an engineering certification that will help prepare them for success in Canada’s top industries,” said Robert Hardt, president & CEO, Siemens Canada.
In practical terms, Siemens says Mechatronics “raises the bar for Industry 4.0” by offering a “holistic, hands-on approach to automation that can improve efficiency, productivity and quality and, ultimately, decrease time to market”.
As part of the 2015 Budget, Ontario invested $651,000 to support the purchase of equipment for the MSDC, which will be used to simulate manufacturing scenarios so students can practice and improve real industry processes. The new equipment includes:
• Mechatronic manufacturing training system (the MPS)
• 20 simulation computers
• 10 specialized computers
• 10 industrial controllers
• 10 pneumatic robots
• 24 industrial motors
“Today’s manufacturing systems are becoming ever more complex and digitalized, and there is a growing need for qualified individuals with the knowledge required to design, operate and maintain them,” said Hardt.
The college transformed an existing lab facility to serve as the training ground for students to pursue the Siemens Mechatronics Systems certification program. Designed to be integrated into the existing curriculum, Mechatronics certification courses will be offered to Seneca students in two levels, as of this semester. Each level is based on a job profile: a description of the tasks that the certified individual should be able to perform.
* Updated February 16, 2016, with video