Owensboro Community & Technical College will host an open house to unveil the first of three Innovation Labs on Wednesday, January 23 from 3-5 p.m. The event will be held at OCTC’s Downtown Campus located at 1501 Frederica Street, Owensboro and the formal program will begin at 4 p.m.
The multi-part project was funded in 2017 by a $2.85 million-dollar grant through Kentucky’s Work Ready Skills Initiative (KWRSI) project.
“Through this project OCTC will be one of the premier training centers for advanced manufacturing in Kentucky and the epicenter for advanced training in western Kentucky,” Mike Rodgers, OCTC Vice President of Resource Development and Chief Institutional Officer. “Some of the equipment in these labs will not be found anywhere else in the Commonwealth.”
At the centerpiece of the Innovation Lab project is a Festo Cyber-Physical (CP) Smart Factory simulator. This $750,000 smart factory simulator includes integrated logistics, communication, mechatronics, robotic assembly, and troubleshooting capabilities. It is fully networked and virtually integrated with HMI (human-machine interface), PLCs, Data Acquisition, Collection and Analysis (SCADA), and wireless connection networking.
“This is the first Festo CP Smart Factory floor simulator in the state. Students and incumbent workers will have access to training simulation that could only be found in an operational factory setting; thus preparing them with skills needed for today’s workforce,” said OCTC President, Dr. Scott Williams. “We are very excited about this new partnership and honored to have Thomas Lichtenberger, President and CEO, Festo Didactic USA, here to celebrate the opening of this Innovation Lab.”
In addition to the Smart Factory Floor, the Innovation Lab will utilize material handling robots with infrared vision capability for robotic training that will augment already existing material handling robots and robotic welders.
In addition, software and hardware will be included to train workers on automated systems related to building environment operations such as heating, air conditioning, and lighting systems. No other facility in the region will have the capability to train in these emerging skill areas.
The two additional innovation labs are progressing with a spring 2019 completion plan.