May 30, 2024

The robotics and automation industry has undoubtedly been one of the fastest-growing sectors in recent years. 

With constant advancements changing the way we live and work, and the improvements in automated manufacturing. This, combined with the ongoing evolution of artificial intelligence, further emphasises the significance of the robotics and automation industry.

As the largest robotics and automation cluster in Canada, according to the Waterloo EDC, Waterloo is home to numerous innovative robotic companies, including Deep Trekker, Avidbots, and Eclipse Automation, to name a few.

It is no surprise that right in the midst of this cluster lies Conestoga College’s Robotics and Automation program.  

Students enrolled in this course are equipped with the skills necessary to design, program, and maintain robots and automatic systems. They get hands-on experience using industry-standard equipment and machinery.

Students are required to complete a capstone project in their final year in which they have to come up with an original idea, design, and construct a fully functioning industrial automated system.

One notable project from last year saw students construct an assembly line designed to convert high-density polyethylene plastic into drink coasters. The system melts pre-shredded HDPE plastic to then be shaped, and packaged. 

Sherry Dai, who worked on that project and has since graduated said, “we wanted to do something sustainable because it’s such a big thing right now, and it’s super important.” 

This year’s best in program was awarded to the creation of an automated pill sorting, packaging and labelling system. It’s designed to assist pharmacists with organizing patient pill requirements into a seven-blister pack. The pack has individual pull tabs to open daily and labels patient information.  

John Tielemans, the Robotics and Automation Program Coordinator says, “As far as I know there is no other school that does anything of this type of project. I have been told by local employers that when they hire Conestoga students from the Robotics and Automation program, they put them straight to work.” 

“You come out knowing a lot more than other graduates, especially within the KW area because it’s the Silicon Valley of Canada,” Dai stated. 

You can check out student projects at the annual Open House event every August or click here to watch previous projects.

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