Haas Machines

Junior Asa Dahl loads a work piece onto the HAAS Lathe

Photographer: Rebecca Miller

Haas Machines

Senior Dylan Petrone accesses the controller module on the HAAS Mill

Photographer: Rebecca Miller

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Engineering and Technology Management adds two programmable machines to its teaching toolkit

Engineering and Technology Management (ETM) students at Ohio University's Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology are getting hands-on experience programming manufacturing equipment thanks to two new computer numerical control (CNC) cutting machines.

The department has purchased a CNC mill and CNC lathe from Haas Automation Inc., the largest CNC machine tool builder in the Western World. The machines hold many cutting tools at one time, making them useful for producing items such as molds, automotive engine parts and even iPhone cases.

Zaki Kuruppalil, an assistant professor in ETM, said learning to use the CNC machines prepares students to become good manufacturing, process and quality engineers in a real business environment by giving them a more complete picture of how the machines are used by operators during processing.

Students program the cutting tools using engineer-created coding systems that determine how the material is cut, including change commands for automatic and continuous operation. Therefore, students get a chance to learn CNC coding language and the process it generates.

"We use software called Mastercam, which generates codes," said Zaki Kuruppalil, assistant professor in ETM. "We then load the codes onto the machine and set it up to actually cut.

ETM senior Chris Pierce said the new machines are a great addition to the machining lab, to help students learn on new cutting edge technology that's used in the real world.

"The CNC Lathe offers a great opportunity for me to learn how to program the CNC Lathe manually through the HAAS controller and the setup of the machine," said Pierce, an ETM senior.

Lathe tools generally cut cylindrical pieces and mills are used for rectangular or irregularly shaped pieces.

Kuruppallil said the students have a duty to learn how to build the programs and gain a comprehensive understanding of how they function for the machine operators with whom they'll work.

"Our graduates might hardly ever run the machines, but knowing the capabilities will give them an edge," Kuruppallil said.