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SIUE School of Engineering receives robotic arm donation from Amsted Rail 

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s School of Engineering students are the foremost beneficiaries of a new state-of-the-art robotic arm that will amplify their applied learning experiences, thanks to the generosity of Amsted Rail.

“The recent donation of an industrial robot arm from Amsted Rail is a testament to their dedication in supporting our program and providing the best possible quality of education to our students,” said Nima Lotfi, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. “Amsted Rail has shown special interest in our mechatronics and robotics engineering program and has provided valuable feedback on potential ways we can further improve our academic offerings.”

The robotic arm is an exact model that is used in industry and is made by one of the leading robot manufacturing companies in the world, ABB Robotics.

“We have been teaching our students how to control robots using theoretical models and small-scale educational robots,” said Jagath Gunasekera, Ph.D., lab manager and instructor in the Department of Industrial and Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. “The generous donation from Amsted Rail will help our students be more prepared for industrial jobs and highly sought after by companies after graduating.”

Amsted Rail’s Tyler Thorpe and John Weidner, both SIUE alumni, are excited to contribute to the learning experiences of SIUE students as they understand the value of hands-on skills training in preparing students for future endeavors in automation.

“I used this robot as a co-op with Amsted Rail while finishing my mechatronics and robotics degree at SIUE,” said Thorpe. “Combining learning in the classrooms at SIUE with the hands-on experience of working with this robot prepared me for the challenges I face with automation in my career.”

“I hope the addition of the new robot at SIUE will continue to spark growth in the engineering programs,” added John Weidner, MBA, of Amsted Rail. “Robotics is a rapidly growing field, so students having the ability to enhance their real-world career skills is invaluable. As an alumnus, it is exciting to see the changes taking place at SIUE, and I am glad to be a part of it.”

The School of Engineering offers one of the most comprehensive and affordable engineering programs in the St. Louis region with eight undergraduate degrees, five master’s degrees and two cooperative doctoral programs, all housed in a state-of-the-art facility. Students learn from expert faculty, perform cutting-edge research and participate in intercollegiate design competitions. Companies in the metropolitan St. Louis area provide students challenging internships and co-op opportunities, which often turn into permanent employment. All undergraduate programs are accredited by their respective accreditation agencies.

In photo, from left, Jagath Gunsekera, Ph.D., lab manager and instructor in the Department of Industrial and Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, Cem Karacal, Ph.D., dean of the School of Engineering, Tyler Thorpe and John Weidner with Amsted Rail.

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