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New Robots and Automation certificate available this fall at RLC

A new, hands-on option for aspiring technicians has made its way to Rend Lake College, just in time for the Fall 2016 semester. The Robots and Automation occupational certificate includes 18 credit hours, or two semesters, of courses designed to give students experience in creating and repairing automated machines.

The program will train students to install, maintain, and troubleshoot automated equipment as technicians with knowledge of basic DC, AC, and digital circuit principles combined with new skills in wiring, programming, and troubleshooting Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). Robotics skills will include set-up, flow-charting, programming points, programming sequence instructions, and conditional commands.

Chris Nielsen, Dean of Applied Science, said this certificate could offer new opportunities for students to work with controlled or automated processes, or open doors to continued education in the maintenance field.

“The Robotics courses will teach students how to program a robot to a variety of tasks ranging from simple to complex,” explained Nielsen. “This is combined with a course in PLCs, which virtually all modern manufacturing equipment is controlled by. PLCs are so versatile, they can turn on and off elaborate equipment processes when buttons or sensors are activated and, at the same time, communicate via the internet to an application on a smart phone the detailed status of the equipment.”

Specifically, students will learn to program the robot to move, pause, change speeds, wait for an input, or turn on an output – all building in ever-increasing complexity. This hands-on instruction will cover both electric and digital circuits.

Those interested in the Robots and Automation certificate should also look into a number of degrees and certificates in RLC’s Industrial Electronics program. The Associate in Applied Science degree, Basic Machining certificate, Industrial Maintenance Technician certificate, and Programmable Logic Controllers certificate offer additional opportunities to develop further skills in electronics and maintenance fundamentals.

To learn more about the Robots and Automation certificate, contact RLC’s Applied Science and Technology Division at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1261 or 1292.