(photo courtesy of Purdue University Fort Wayne)

Purdue University Fort Wayne is investing nearly $1 million, including a $500,000 gift from the Don Wood Foundation, to update robotic and manufacturing technology in its school of polytechnic. The university says it’s a “transformational opportunity” that will help increase its graduates who join the fields of robotics, advanced manufacturing, and machining.

PFW says six robots, as well as other equipment, are being replaced with modern units. The technology will be housed in the school’s machine shop lab.

“As a regional academic institution, Purdue University Fort Wayne is focused not just on our students’ academic success, but also the economic health of the region,” said Gary Steffen, associate professor and director of the school of polytechnic. “By educating the future workforce of mechanical, industrial, electrical, and computer engineering technology employees, we help meet the emerging needs of industry in northeast Indiana.”

According to the university, the project includes replacement of two aging lathes and a bandsaw, as well as the addition of a wet saw, hydraulic press, and CNC lathe.

“The new equipment purchased through Don Wood Foundation funding is vital, as it will help to ensure that we both attract manufacturing students to our program with new technology, as well as better prepare our graduates for employment that’s important to the continued growth of the region,” said Steffen.

To support the project, PFW says Fanuc North America is contributing $350,000. The university is allocating $120,000 for staffing, materials, tooling, and supplemental training.