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Students’ Project on International Space Station Made With Intelitek Classroom Products

astronauts.
Astronauts (L-R) Timothy Kopra, Jeff Williams and Timothy Peake share a meal around the galley table designed and manufactured by Cypress-Fairbanks ISD students partially build using the Intelitek Spectralight CNC Machine. (Photo courtesy NASA HUNCH)

On March 22nd this year, the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral, destination the international space station and on board, buried in between 7500 lbs. of supplies was a very unique piece of equipment designed and created by the Cypress Woods and Cypress Springs High Schools in Cypress, Texas.

Under the instruction of industrial technology teacher Mike Bennett and as part of the HUNCH program, that involves students in fabricating real-world products for NASA as they apply their science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills, the students designed a galley table for the space station to serve the astronauts. The HUNCH program — High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware has been running for 12 years already.

NASA contacted Mike in 2013. “They needed a focal point for everyone to meet together in the space station to share a table for a meal or a workspace,” Bennett said. “This was a great teaching opportunity and It makes it even more rewarding to know that we contributed a functional piece of hardware already being used.”

The students, participants in Mike Bennett’s advanced engineering design and engineering design classes, worked with the Johnson Space Center and Lockheed-Martin to create the design, then manufacture and build the prototypes and final version that was sent to space in March. The team used the Intelitek industrial manufacturing classroom tools in Mike’s lab including the spectraLIGHT CNC machine to create some of the parts needed for this project.

The fold-up table was designed with a latch system that allows it to be pulled up and out, doubling its length. One side is set up for a smooth surface with Velcro dots that can be attached to hold objects in zero-gravity. The other side features a seat track with clamps and holders ideal for a work circle.

Cypress Woods students in the precision metal class performed machining on the table parts using the Intelitek CNC machine.Intelitek Benchmill
spectraLIGHT is an earlier predecessor to Intelitek’s latest milling, turning and machining solutions for industrial education classes. Intelitek designs and delivers education programs and teaching hardware that is industrial grade and is integrated with comprehensive curriculum, programming software, and pre-production simulation tools. This enables educators like Mike Bennett to teach beginners and advanced students. The programs take students from the most basic level to the point where they can manufacture NASA parts.

 Intelitek’s mission is to teach career readiness skills – our programs are designed to teach students both in high school and at vocational or college level schools with the skills and knowledge real job providers are looking for. Intelitek Advanced Technology Programs teach relevant job skills using real-world tools focused on desirable industry specialties and in-demand trades.

The learning portfolio teaches methodologies and operations for areas like industrial robotics, manufacturing, materials handling, prototyping, hydraulics, mechatronics, electrical, CIM, process control and industrial maintenance. For more about Intelitek and to find a dealer near you go to www.intelitek.com

NASA Components being made by Intelitek MachineOwen Theeke from Cypress Woods High School is seen here machining aluminum rods.  After cleaning, the rods
were then sent for anodizing. (Photo courtesy NASA HUNCH and Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District)

 

NASA astronauts on international space station

In the middle picture, Leah Hepburn from Oak Ridge High School is inserting the anodized rods as stiffeners
into the Payload Pantry. (Photo courtesy NASA HUNCH and Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District)

 IMG_3804

The two parts of the Payload Pantry with the aluminum rods going the length of the bags.
The stiffeners are what allow the mesh covers to close properly so items don’t float out in zero gravity
(Photo courtesy NASA HUNCH and Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District)

 


Mike Rowe and Mobile Robotics at SkillsUSA!

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SkillsUSA is calling this years National Leadership and Skills Conference the best ever – and we would have to agree!

This year, Intelitek’s Automated Manufacturing Technology contest was made a closer replication of the industrial environment. Teams created virtual parts with our CNCMotion software before moving on to the hands-on production with our ProMill 8000. This modification to the contest received great feedback from the competitors and advisors.

The Robotics and Automation contest also ran smoothly again this year with the Puerto Rico team earning the High School Gold Medal and North Arkansas College earning the Post Secondary Championship.

At the Mobile Robotics field, we received a terrific surprise when Mike Rowe, a perennial supporter of CTE and SkillsUSA (also of the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” fame), visited the Mobile Robotics competition!

Trevor Pope, Intelitek’s Product Manager and Mobile Robotics competition committee member spent over an hour with Mr. Rowe in the Mobile Robotics contest area showing him what we do. Along with help from RECF, we built him a robot and created a mini competition against the Massachusetts team, which uses EasyC. Mike named the robot “Micro / Macro” and autographed the shielding.
2014-07_SkillsUSA_Rowe_2218

Best yet, Intelitek will be featured on Mike Rowe’s new CNN show “Somebody’s Gotta Do It“! The program is expected to air on CNN in October. This will provide extensive publicity to Intelitek’s REC program and EasyC on a national news network!

Working with Mr. Rowe at SkillUSA was great fun, and were glad to be a part of the work he does in creating awareness of the awesome opportunities that exist for students in career and technology education!
See our Facebook page for more pictures!


SkillsNH Students set Sights on National Competition

March 14th kicked off this year’s annual SkillsUSA NH State Skills and Leadership conference, wherein students competed for the title of best-in-state across 30 events related to technical, skilled, and service occupations. We were proud to host the Automated Manufacturing Technology (AMT) competition at our Manchester, NH, headquarters on March 21st. It is always rewarding to see firsthand students fully engaged in their education, involved in a program that truly makes a difference in their lives. Andrew Clark, Alec Lemelin and Jacob Paradis from the Richard W. Creteau Regional Technology Center at Spaulding High School in Rochester, NH, won gold at this years event. On to on Kansas City for the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference!

The Skills competitions convey the value of collaboration and teamwork in a tangible way. Communicating, defining roles, managing time – all these are part of the process in competitive events, and students realize the value in a more concrete manner that through conceptual instruction.

To see these students succeeding, thriving, and setting goals in such an educational environment demonstrates how effective competitive events are in helping students reach their potential by delivering tangible job-ready, college-ready skills.

In the process, we also help to bridge the skills gap in the workforce even in some of the hardest to fill positions! More on that phenomenon in a later post. For now, we simply tip our hat to the great SkillsUSA students competing over the past month, and offer our thanks for the reminder of why all of us at Intelitek are so proud to do what we do in support of education!


Intelitek FMS stands alone at GESS in Dubai

GESS Show 2014 in Dubai World Trade Center

FMS at GESS 2014

Earlier in March we attended GESS (Gulf Educational Supplies and Solutions) show at the Dubai World Trade Centre. We featured our modular Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) for its ability to meet a wide range of academic requirements and budgets. At the show, we displayed our FMS system with SCORBOT-ER9 Pro educational robot and CNC BenchMill 6000 Milling Center machine. The system came with a table, parts feeder and Open FMS software that provide a comprehensive solution for the study and practice of FMS methods and operations.

The successful installation drew many people to the booth. This was the first time our FMS system was exhibited outside the USA and it was the only FMS in the show. For many it was the first time they saw the BenchMill 6000 in action.

From the intense interest we received in this system, we have a renewed appreciation for the global demand for training solutions that can deliver manufacturing skills!


The CTSO Model for STEM Programs

SkillsUSA AMT Competition

The Role of Career and Technical Student Organizations in Providing STEM Skills

Last week the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) released CTE Is Your STEM Strategy, a study of the value of CTE programs as the foundation for an overall STEM strategy.

One specific element the study highlights is Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs). As the report mentions:

“CTSOs, such as SkillsUSA provide skills-based competitions for students…based largely on students’ abilities to work individually or in teams to solve problems and present projects to judges from industry and education. …They clearly support student mastery of the “STEM competencies,” as many problem- or project-based learning experiences do.”

In this way, CTSOs deliver some of the most important elements for successful STEM programs: engaging industry to guide the delivery of relevant skills and offering “true contextualized learning within the context of a specific industry or career pathway”.

As Julie Kantor of STEMConnector wrote recently in the Huffington Post: “The conference is filled also with corporations smart enough to get in the door early and meet the best and brightest of our country. These kids all come out of high school with a TANGIBLE SKILL.”

One example of success came in the 2013 SkillsUSA competition. Girls from Spaulding High School in Rochester, New Hampshire clinched gold at the National SkillsUSA Competition in Missouri, earning the title as the first all-female team to win the competition. The trio competed against high school students from all 49 other U.S. states to take home the medal in Automated Manufacturing Technology contest, which evaluates teams for employment in the integrated manufacturing technology fields of computer aided drafting/design (CAD), computer aided manufacturing (CAM), and computer numerical controlled machining (CNC). Team member Jackie McNally constructed the parts’ geometry in CAD, while Naomie Clark, the CAM operator, generated the tool paths and Ali Trueworthy was responsible for CNC set-up and machining.

The Rochester girls spent two years in STEM classes at the Richard W. Creteau Regional Technology Center under teacher and adviser David Foote. This academic program combined with the experiences in SkillsUSA helped the succeed in this year’s national competition. They insist that the key to their success is not just the technical skills, but collaboration — working together rather than as separate contributors.

All three girls are now pursuing engineering degrees – an excellent outcome that any STEM program would be proud to achieve!

This is just one example among the 5,900 students who competed in the 2013 SkillsUSA nationals! All of these participants no doubt obtained an enhanced educational experience.

Many new STEM initiatives are gaining momentum and funding, but lacking guidance at the implementation stage. Proven and successful CTSOs like SKillsUSA provide an excellent model to follow. Participation bolsters interest in STEM, while delivering relevant technical skills as well as leadership and problem-solving skills so valuable in any career field!


2011 SkillsUSA Recap

This year’s 2011 Skills USA Championship in Kansas City, Missouri, was very
exciting! The students were prepared, they were energized and proved to be
GREAT competitors. This year’s AMT (Automated Manufacturing Technology)
challenge was a five piece game based after the childhood classic Connect-4
game.

SkillsUSA Connect4 project

After drawing the part and generating the CAM (Computer Integrated
Manufacturing) CNC code, they then prepared blank stock and made the parts.
This year’s challenge included the 5 part assembly. Those students who finished
the 5 parts, turned them in and got a change order for the top (the sixth
part).

In talking with one of the teams, I learned they competed last year and were
coming back for medals this year. This team event tests the skills these
students have under pressure while competing with the best in the nation. These
student’s have the right stuff! They are going to work and on for more
schooling to keep America competitive. For those who haven’t been to a National
Skills Leadership Competition (NSLC), seeing is believing. Pictures are good
but do yourself a favor, get there. There are over 18 acres of competitions on
just one of the floors with students competing on skills challenges from
Carpentry, Household Wiring, Masonry, to Cosmetology, Nail Care, Culinary Arts,
Automotive Body Repair, Robotics and Automation and Automated Manufacturing.
These are the skills that keep America moving!

Intelitek was the primary industry sponsor at this year’s Robotics and
Automation competition at the NLSC, providing 11 ER 4u robotic workcells for
students to compete with over a two day period. “This two person team
competition is exciting for us to host”, says David Crowell, Regional Sales
Manager for Intelitek and National Chairman of the Robotics and Automation
Competition. This competition tests the students ability to design, layout,
wire, program and prove the best solution for a workcell project. This year the
teams implemented the use of a pallet system to move parts around the workcell.
Teams were interviewed and had to present to a technical committee their
designs. This was done in a design review process and we were assisted by teams
of engineers from Honeywell who are based in Kansas City.

For more information about SkillsUSA, please visit www.skillsusa.org