Wednesday, January 31, 2018

CVTC Event Showcases Manufacturing

Robotics competition returns to annual Manufacturing Show

Article Photo - CVTC Event Showcases Manufacturing

Ladysmith High School student Henry West tries his hand at a miniature billiards game while fellow Ladysmith student Paul Kroening, left, and CVTC Automation Engineering Technology student Casey Schellhorn look on at the 2017 CVTC Manufacturing Show.

A competition between four area high school robotics clubs will be one of the highlights of this year’s Manufacturing Show at Chippewa Valley Technical College, to be held from 3-7 p.m. Thursday, March 1. Students from Menomonie, Durand, Greenwood and Owen-Withee will take part in the Vex IQ Challenge, in which robots they build will complete a series of tasks on a pre-set field.

The contest will be just one of many features of the Manufacturing Show, which is free and open to the public and held at the CVTC Manufacturing Education Center, 2320 Alpine Road, Eau Claire. Attendees will also be able to see student-built robotic machines, such as an entirely automated rock band; watch a 5-axis unit that can cut a metal part at various angles without having to reset the part; or see an object designed on a computer become reality through a 3D printer.

The Manufacturing Show ( introduces the public to the world of modern manufacturing, which has gone far beyond the outdated images of low-skilled workers doing simple repetitive work. The show serves as a showcase of what’s happening in Chippewa Valley manufacturing. Many local manufacturing companies will take part in the show.

“We have a great diversity of manufacturing companies in the Chippewa Valley, many of them using cutting-edge technology,” said CVTC President Bruce Barker. “Attendees can learn more about these companies and how CVTC prepares workers for lucrative careers in manufacturing.”

Also on display at the Manufacturing Show will be a simulated manufacturing center with robotic equipment manufacturing USB flash drives inside the adjacent Applied Technology Center. Being able to design, build, program, troubleshoot and maintain such equipment are among the hot jobs in manufacturing today. Attendees will be able to try their hand at welding in the CVTC welding lab, try out a flight simulator, and see equipment like a water jet that uses streams of water to cut metal in precise detail.

Area high school students will be involved in the Manufacturing Show. Students will take part in the annual Junkyard Battle welding competition, in which teams create sculptures on a pre-selected theme out of scrap parts. Prior to coming to the show, many area students will tour local manufacturing plants.

“Our goal is to provide kids with exposure to area manufacturers,” said Jeff Sullivan, CVTC dean of skilled trades and engineering. “Last year, we had 15 manufacturers offering tours.

The Vex IQ Challenge represents a new way that high school students will be involved. “The students will create the robots from scratch, program them and operate them during the game,” Sullivan said.

People will be able to talk with faculty and students from CVTC’s manufacturing programs: Automation Engineering Technology, Industrial Mechanic, Industrial Mechanical Technician, Machine Tooling Technics, Welding and Welding Fabrication. CVTC’s science and engineering departments will also be involved.

A new program on display this year will be Mechanical Design. “Students will be showcasing some computer-assisted design projects they’ve been working on,” Sullivan said. “We’ve already had employers calling asking for graduates of the program, but it just started in August.”

People attending will be provided with “passports” to visit each area of the show and by having their passports stamped from the various areas they will be eligible for a drawing for an Apple watch.

Register in advance and receive a free gift when you arrive!

With over 90 programs and both online and on-campus classes, Chippewa Valley Technical College delivers superior, progressive technical education which improves the lives of students, meets the workforce needs of the region, and strengthens the community. CVTC programs are designed with input of business and industry to prepare graduates for today’s jobs, with 94 percent employed within six months of graduation and associate degree graduates earning an average annual salary of $43,000.

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