The two Haas Automation Inc. machines – a Super VF-2 Vertical Machine Center and an SL-20 Lathe – use computerized controls to cut and polish metal. The machines will provide students with experience using industry-standard equipment in the field of precision machining.
“This will definitely impact our lab in a positive way,” said Phillip White, department chairman of the Manufacturing Technical Systems program. “This equipment is newer and greater and does so much more. It’s new technology versus old technology. There’s just no comparison in what we can do.”
The Super VF-2, for example, can operate at 12,000 RPM, more than twice the speed of current equipment in Hudson Valley’s Manufacturing Technical Services lab. The machine features an optical scanner to precisely locate metal and can cut to one-ten-thousandth of an inch.
The college’s Manufacturing Technical Systems program prepares students to work in the field of precision machining, producing the tools and components used in the manufacturing of everything from electronics to aerospace equipment. This fall, 63 full- and part-time students were enrolled in the program.
Through an entrustment agreement with Haas Automation, Hudson Valley students will use the machines for two years before returning them and receiving new replacements. Jim Hamilton, an instructor in the Manufacturing Technical Systems program, contacted officials at Haas after learning how the company helped other colleges with similar programs. Haas is the largest machine tool builder in the United States.
Haas Automation provides machine tools to colleges across the country as part of an active program to help train machinists and engineers for a manufacturing industry currently experiencing a shortage of skilled labor.
John Roth, director of customer service at Haas Automation, said the idea of providing students with state-of-the-art machine tools – the very ones they likely will use in the workplace – is a “self-fulfilling prophecy” for Haas Automation and the industry itself.
“By providing training for students today, we are guaranteeing a labor pool for the future, and continued growth for the manufacturing industry,” Roth said.
The only stipulation in the agreement is that Haas Automation dealers are allowed to visit the college campus to show the machines to potential clients. “That’s great for us since they’ll be bringing manufacturing companies to our campus,” said White, adding that those companies are potential employers for students in the program.
Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 60 degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and workforce and academic preparation programs offered through the Educational Opportunity Center. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 12,000 students, and it is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining. Hudson Valley has more than 60,000 alumni.