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416 Automation works with Humber to create the SeatBOT

by Michelle Bozzetto

 

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For students, it’s an exciting and inspiring opportunity to get out of the classroom and put their skills to work on a project that impacts an industry. Through a collaboration with industry partner 416 Automation Inc., Electromechanical Engineering Technology students Theodor Willert and Joshua Donnelly-Robertson took on an innovative project that let them do just that.

 

Willert and Donnelly-Robertson worked with 416 Automation and Humber faculty members Neal Mohammed and Mohammad Al-Rady to design and build an automated, robotic technology that can test any car seat function and to integrate that technology into end-of-line testers in factories around the world.

 

The unmanned system—called the SeatBOT—can automatically test the functionality of the seat buckle, power seat buttons, manual seat track bar, manual seat levers and other features of seats in automotive vehicles providing a unique solution in North America.

 

Creating quality assurance technology that can be easily integrated into existing automotive manufacturing lines is no small task. “The hardest part was having it work with technologies that weren’t designed by us,” explained Donnelly-Robertson. “We had to tear it down and rebuild it back up to integrate the robot.”

 

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Working on such a new and innovative project had its challenges, but it also provided the students with real-world experience and an impressive project to add to their resumes. “I did a lot more robotics than I did in the classroom,” Willert said. “I programmed a robot for the first time in an industry setting and learned how the math that you learn in the classroom is actually applicable.”

Since working with 416 Automation, Willert has participated and placed gold in the Skills Canada Mechatronics Competition, and Donnelly-Robertson has been hired full-time at 416 Automation. The company has also hired two other Humber graduates since the success of the project.

The developed prototype is a huge success for 416 Automation, who already has clients lined up to purchase the system; customers now want the SeatBOT as a standard on all test equipment. 416 Automation has already sold five SeatBOTs, and two systems are already running in production.

 

“This business for me is about doing things that no one else is doing – it’s about improving,” said Mimmo Carbonara, President of 416 Automation Inc. “When you have a student coming in with a fresh mind and a good attitude, he works really well.” Being a Humber grad himself, Carbonara is very enthusiastic about supporting the faculty and students and maintaining this partnership.

 

Research team:

  • Faculty: Mohammad Al-Rady, Neal Mohammed
  • Students: Theodor Willert, Joshua Donnelly-Robertson
  • Partner: Mimmo Carbonara (President, 416 Automation Inc.)