Honda Invests in Future at The Ohio State University

Deep in the bowels of the Integrated Systems Engineering building at The Ohio State University, a FANUC robot was hard at work recently, sorting cars.

The robot wasn’t sorting Honda cars, but actually Hot Wheels, serving as an example of what students can learn using a new robot cell that was recently installed, thanks to a $50,000 donation from Honda North America.

The new cell will be utilized by students in the Industrial Automation and Industrial Robotics courses, giving them valuable hands-on experience. Course instructor Josh Hassenzahl visited the Technical Development Center at the Honda Heritage Center in Marysville, Ohio, last year to see how Honda utilizes its robot cells in training associates.

Hassenzahl explained that students can learn to program the robot, which uses a vision system to examine the geometry of items for its processes. In the example demonstrated for Honda leaders, the FANUC robot – the same brand used in many Honda plants – used its vision system to measure the geometry of several Hot Wheels cars, picking them up and placing them on the matching photo of each car.

One Ohio State graduate student in the department has already gotten hands-on with a robot cell like this and said it greatly aids her in her research on humans and robots working together.

Hugo Beltran associate chief engineer and division manager of Engineering Technical Services, Honda Engineering North America, said it will make a difference for students. “This type of strategic partnership with academia is needed to prepare the future engineers to be effective in an automated production environment, where the students can learn and practice with equipment that it is used by industry,” he said.

“The aim of this donation is to better prepare the future workforce by introducing them to technology applications and uses during their education – giving them hands-on experience,” said Kristina Kennedy, staff administrator, Honda-Ohio State Partnership, Honda North America. “Doing so makes them better equipped to truly hit the ground running in the working world. If this benefits Honda even better.”

“There is a large number of graduates of the Ohio State Integrated Systems Engineering Department at Honda of America Manufacturing,” said Shubho Bhattacharya, associate chief engineer and co-director of the Honda-Ohio State Partnership, Honda North America.

The Honda-Ohio State Partnership has been around for 30 years, symbiotically providing Ohio State and its students with funding, experience and knowledge. Honda benefits from the partnership in a variety of ways, from recruiting to sourcing fresh ideas from students on problems seen around the company.

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