Miami University gets grant to boost course offerings in smart manufacturing

Credit: Jeff Sabo

Credit: Jeff Sabo

Miami University officials are touting a recent $308,750 state grant to help students get educated on and familiar with state-of-the-art robotics.

Officials at the university said the gift from the Ohio Department of Higher Education will expand Miami’s role in feeding the employee pipeline with much-needed graduates to get hired in the region’s manufacturing workforce needs.

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“Through the Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) grant, Miami will focus on developing more course offerings in smart manufacturing, an industry concept that combines advanced and additive manufacturing, robotics, and other technologies,” school officials noted in a statement

They said Miami, along with Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and the University of Cincinnati, created the Southwest Ohio RAPIDS grant program proposal targeting three key industries prominent in the regional — healthcare, cybersecurity, and smart manufacturing.

“The RAPIDS program continues to be a successful way to create a pipeline of skilled workers for regional employers while strengthening Ohio’s economy,” said Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner.

“This latest round of funding will help Miami bolster its course offerings in advanced manufacturing and prepare its students for careers in robotics and other manufacturing fields. I’m pleased that Governor DeWine and legislators continue to support this important program,” said Gardner.

Miami will purchase equipment with the grant to accomplish three goals toward enhancing smart manufacturing education on both its main Oxford campus and its regional schools in Hamilton and Middletown.

The $308,750 will augment the new Industrial Automation Laboratory in the Department of Engineering Technology (ENT) at the Miami University Regionals and provide workforce training in industrial automation.

Officials said the equipment included in this project will be used to establish and complement the new smart manufacturing labs currently being developed at Miami University regional campuses.

The funding will also help pay for the transformation of the existing manufacturing program in the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Department (MME) on the Oxford campus. The goal includes incorporating more content related to the operation of a smart factory “so that graduates are well-qualified for Ohio industry needs across multiple sectors including aviation, consumer products, and materials.”

Qihou Zhou, professor and chair of Miami’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said: “The equipment to be purchased through the grant will significantly augment our existing facilities. Two industrial robots will allow students to become certified in robotic systems.”

“The milling machines will be part of the new smart manufacturing and automation labs in the Oxford campus as well as at Miami Regionals. The grant will train students to meet workforce needs in the critical areas of robotics and advanced manufacturing,” said Zhou.

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