Tri-Rivers RAMTEC Leads the Way in Engineering Education in Ohio


February is Career Technology Education Monthand at the heart of professional technical education at Marion is the Tri-Rivers Career Center’s RAMTEC Ohio robotics training facility.

The hands-on learning opportunities the center provides to the community are cutting-edge and collaborative in nature.

Vocational technical education is a central part of the Marion community, with the Tri-Rivers Career Center, Marion Technical College, and Ohio State University in Marion working to prepare students for successful futures working for big companies like Intel, Honda and more.

Equipped with industrial-grade robots and programming tools, RAMTEC is a unique place where learners of all ages can pursue an engineering education, from high school students enrolled in the career center to adults already working in industry.

Bringing a ripple effect of hands-on engineering experience to high school students, Marion’s RAMTEC Ohio has brought over 20 replicated training sites across the state of Ohio. The location of the Tri-Rivers Career Center is not only the first of its kind, but also deeply rooted in Marion’s manufacturing history.

As they walk through the doors of the Tri-Rivers Career Center facility, guests are greeted by an exhibit: photo walls depicting the years of manufacturing that made Marion famous, from Marion Power Shovel to today’s manufacturing companies, called “Legacy Room”.

A project of Communications Director Ellen Messenger, the school wanted to ensure that staff and students would remember the past as they headed into the future: robotics.

“We never wanted to forget this wonderful story as we move into robotics. We worked with all the county historians in the area. They sat down and picked the things they wanted here,” Messenger said. .

Certified Robotics Instructor Mark Edington spent his career working as an automation engineer before retiring and returning to Marion, where he was recruited by Tri-Rivers Superintendent Charles Speelman to come help run RAMTEC.

Edington explained that all robots used by RAMTEC are the real deal, not just models used for education.

This is what makes the education offered by the institution truly unique.

“Everything you’ll see here is industry standard equipment. It’s not education. It’s not a DIY toy. It’s standard robots you use today,” did he declare.

From the Legacy Room, the doors open to reveal a large space filled with real-world robotic equipment.

Providing user and programming training for three of the world’s leading robotics companies, FANUC, Yaskawa Motoman and Universal Robots, students leave the program with the certification needed to work in real-world industry.

Going through the machines available to RAMTEC, Edington pointed to a robot considered the fastest in the world.

By demonstrating the robot, a mechanism that uses vision abilities to sort small objects like pills or candy, Edington was able to explain the joy he gets from sharing these complex devices with his students in a fun way.

“The first time I had high school students here, they looked at him and said, ‘Mr Edington, that looks like a spider. So it was always known as the spider bot now,” he said.

In their first year alone of the two-year RAMTEC program, students earn 13 points for industry credentials – they only need 12 points to earn the credentials.

A Level 1 student, Blayne Christ, designed, 3D printed, and engineered with his classmates a method of moving square cubes on a sheet of paper to land in a formation spelling “NRC”, for the National Robotics Challenge.

“What we did is we created, it’s pretty simple, we just created a void inside and we made it to where the cube fits in here, so every time it goes down, it’s the exact size of the outer square, so every time the cube calls, even if it moves, it will still be in the square,” the high school student said.

Standing proudly before their work, Christ and his classmates were excited about what they were learning and accomplishing in real time with real meaning.

Hands-on learning is a key part of Tri-Rivers’ overall education, and Edington said he has seen it be effective in preparing his students for successful careers in the industry and beyond.

“That’s what sets us apart from any other training center. For a teacher to stand in front of a room and teach a lesson, the ’80-20 rule’ kicks in. Maybe 20% stays,” Edington said.

“But we as humans if we do something with our hands, learn from the experiences, whether it’s good, bad, not what we want, now we’re learning and that’s what we’re proud of here at RAMTEC.”

Story by: Sophia Veneziano (740) 564 – 5243 | [email protected]


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