Recently, Northwest Mississippi Community College’s Career, Technical and Workforce Education division acquired a FAS-200 (Flexible Assembly System) that will enhance their programs through hands-on applications of automation systems; will attract and recruit new students and will provide additional training for current career-technical and workforce students. The FAS-200 was purchased with a Mississippi Manufacturing Enhancement Grant, made possible through the Toyota Blue Springs facility and the state of Mississippi. Also, one-time equipment funds from the Workforce Enhancement Training Fund were used for the purchase.
The FAS-200 is produced by SMC, a leader in producing and supplying automation and pneumatic components with over 50 years of experience. SMC is a global corporation in over 75 countries. The system was purchased through Training Consultants, Inc. in Grenada.
The system is comprised of 14 independent stations with integrated control, which means that more users will be able to train/learn at the same time. In addition, the configuration can be easily enhanced by adding additional workstations. The different process stations assemble a turning mechanism and provide greater flexibility by adapting to a wide variety of assemblies, introducing variations in the materials, colors and part sizes. The combination of all the options means that a total of 24 different assemblies can be produced.
“We have the flexibility to modify the system in order to meet the wide array of technological demands our industry partners require. Also the system uses industry standard components that are utilized by manufacturing companies throughout Northwest’s district,” said Douglas Freeze, assistant director of workforce development.
“This will go hand in hand with our Advanced Manufacturing Partners (A.M.P.) internship program,” Freeze added. The A.M.P. internship program is a new endeavor to help meet the incredible demand for highly-skilled industrial maintenance technicians. These industries will employ Northwest students enrolled in the Industrial Electronics Engineering Technology (I.E.E.T.) Program, paying a minimum of $14 an hour while they are seeking their Associate of Applied Science. Reimbursement to companies is administered through Northwest’s Workforce Investment Act (WIA) division and funded through the Mississippi Partnership/Three Rivers Planning and Development District, Inc. and Delta Workforce Investment Area/South Delta Planning and Development District, Inc.
According to Freeze, the system will be used to enhance both the career-technical and workforce industrial programs through hands-on applications of robotics, control and communication systems, hydraulics and pneumatics. It will also allow Northwest to add additional training on troubleshooting and diagnostics, automation and controls and robotics. The system will also help attract and recruit new students into Northwest’s Industrial Electronics Engineering Technology program, provide additional training for current career-technical and workforce programs and provide opportunities for the develop of new programs in both areas.
“This is the most elaborate SMC produced automation training system in the state of Mississippi. It is a highly anticipated tool for local economic developers to use to attract and retain advanced manufacturers to Northwest’s 11-county district- employers who can provide high skill, high demand and high wage jobs for our communities,” Freeze said.