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    Mechatronics Machining System Topic of New Video


    Michigan Tech Professor Alex Sergeyev and Chinmay Kondekar, ’21 (M.S. in ECE/Mechatronics) discuss the Mechatronics degree programs and Kondekar’s final system design project, in a new video produced by the Applied Computing department. Watch the video below.

    The system machines patterns on blocks of foam using various robotic attachments, a tricky manufacturing process to program and one of the more challenging applications for an industrial robot.

    The interconnected system is flexible, reconfigurable, and controlled from a central control interface to emulate a production process. Correct dimensions are assured using machine vision, and by transporting the workpiece between different stations.

    A number of industrial applications are employed by the system, and most industrial robotic work cells have similar control and communication layouts. Manufacturing system layouts like this one are commonly found in the automotive, pharmaceutical, and food industries. Other potential applications include use in data acquisition and analytics, cybersecurity, and future projects requiring interconnected systems.

    Read a blog article about Kondekar’s final master’s program project.

    Watch the video.

    Mechatronics: Dr. Alex Sergeyev and Chinmay Kondekar ’21: Demo of an Integrated Machining System

    Mechatronics at Michigan Tech

    Learn more about Mechatronics.


    Mechatronics Master of Science, Class of ‘21


    The Michigan Tech Master of Science in Mechatronics, launched in 2019, has congratulated its first graduates this spring: Chinmay Kondekar (EE), Chukwuemeka George Ochieze, and Ahmat Oumar. Read their stories below.


    Ahmat Oumar


    Ahmat Oumar was very interested in finding an engineering discipline combining the new engineering principles of the age of automation.

    “I was looking for a discipline that will combine principles in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and computer science,” he explains. “And the College of Computing Mechatronics program has been the right answer.”

    “Michigan Tech Mechatronics has been a great learning experience for me,” Oumar says. “The frequent lab practices to apply the principles learned in class especially enhanced my learning. This will make it easier to make a smooth transition into industry.”

    Oumar also credits his professors as instrumental in his success. “They make themselves available to students, not only in teaching and guiding, but also through mentoring.”


    Chukwuemeka George Ochieze


    Chukwuemeka George Ochieze—now enrolled in a Ph.D. program at Michigan Tech—checked out the College of Computing Mechatronics master of science program a few years ago.

    He was intrigued by the equipment available to students and the many research projects that could be accomplished within the program. Both aligned perfectly with his interests. And he regards the location of Michigan Tech and the region’s weather conditions as a good atmosphere for study.

    “Mechatronics is important in this century because every system consists of different subsystems that require a particular mechatronics application,” says Ochieze. “For example, people who work on fluid power systems should understand automation and controls.”

    Ochieze says that working with faculty and researchers in the various fields of mechatronics helped him to think differently with respect to the subject of application.

    “I pursued so many projects while here on campus,” he adds. “My work with wearable devices shaped my interests and allowed me to apply what I’ve learned so far in the Mechatronics program. His current focus is on the robotics field, which Ochieze says stems from his exposure to robotics and programming in the Mechatronics M.S. program.

    Ochieze was a mechatronics instructor in the 2020-21 academic year for the Career Technical Education (CTE) program in Mechatronics, recently launched by Michigan Tech and the Copper Country Intermediate School District (CCISD). The 12-month Career CTE program is for high school juniors or seniors. Read the story.

    And Ochieze tried many indoor and outdoor events that includes, “skiing, indoor and outdoor soccer, skating, tubing, winter carnivals, career fairs, late nights in the library trying to figure out projects, passport to the world, to mention but a few.”

    “Personally, I think the best memories I have was the career fairs events, having the opportunity to exchange information with people who have similar interests and also sharing your thoughts to people who have worked for a long time in the industry,” Ochieze says.

    Chinmay Kondekar


    Read Chinmay Kondekar’s story.

    Graduate student Chinmay Kondekar heard about Michigan Tech during his undergraduate studies. Sometime later he read a social media post about work opportunities in the robotic and automation labs, and Michigan Tech again came to his attention.

    “At that time, I was working as a controls engineer in India,” he says. “Robotics and automation interest me, and when I saw who had written the post (a former graduate student of Sergeyev’s), I knew I had found the perfect degree program.”

    Kondekar’s final design project was to create an interconnected system that is flexible, reconfigurable, and controlled from a central control interface to emulate a production process. The system is used to machine different patterns on a block of foam.

    “I enjoy solving problems and coming up with a solution to make things work,” he shares. “When starting the [final] project, I had a lot of unknown variables but I knew how to approach them and, eventually, I came up with solutions and made the system work. It’s highly rewarding to watch the finished system come together, and then to see it work automatically after pressing just three buttons.”

    Kondekar’s project would not have been possible without generous support from Mr. Mark Gauthier and his team at Donald Engineering. “Mark has helped the department acquire the best industry-grade hardware, and his expertise in pneumatics helped the project concept become reality,” Kondekar says.

    Kondekar says he has enjoyed his learning and life experiences at Michigan Tech. Plus, he loves the outdoors. “I am an outdoors guy and I love the UP, especially the summers. It’s full of good people and great beer!”


    Mechatronics Degrees Building World-Class Workforce


    “Everything starts with a dream, a vision, and a passion,” says Michigan Tech alumnus Mr. Mark Gauthier, president of Donald Engineering, Grand Rapids, Mich. “In life, we have very few opportunities to be able to put our hand into something and achieve an earth moving event.”


    Mr. Gauthier’s dream is to build a vital, well-trained Mechatronics workforce, and to grow industry in southwestern Michigan. The College of Computing wishes to do the same for that region and the entire state of Michigan.

    And the dream is becoming a reality. The digital revolution is well underway in the College of Computing. Throughout the last few years, dozens of individuals, companies, and organizations have channeled their passion, expertise, and resources into building and equipping world-class Mechatronics degree programs at Michigan Tech.



    Mechatronics: The Key to Digital Transformation

    Key to the digital transformation of our regional and national economy, Mechatronics combines mechanical systems, electrical systems, computing, and control in one holistic discipline.

    It is central to smart manufacturing and other high-tech industries, employing technologies ranging from industrial robots and autonomous vehicles to process control and utility power systems. Most mechatronics-related entry-level positions require a bachelor’s degree.

    A common degree in Europe, China, Japan, Russia, and India, advanced study in Mechatronics is an underdeveloped academic discipline in the United States, even though the industrial demand for these professionals is enormous, and continues to grow.

    Learn more. What is Mechatronics?


    Mechatronics is an industry buzzword synonymous with robotics, controls, automation, and electromechanical engineering.

    Dr. Aleksandr Sergeyev


    Passion, Support, Expertise

    Mr. Gauthier is always certain to warmly recognize the support, involvement, and expertise of Donald Engineering employees and the company’s key vendors. He says that without them, this dream would never have become a reality. The DE vendors include Continental Hydraulics, Schunk, Milwaukee Cylinder, Clippard, Oilgear, and Ross Controls.

    “Equipping industry with 21st century talent and technologies is central to the success of the University and critical for the economic success of the state of Michigan.” says Dr. Dennis Livesay, dean of the College of Computing.

    “I am impressed and grateful to all of you. The Mechatronics programs at Tech have become world class in a few short years,” says Dr. Livesay. “The creative thinking and proactive actions of Mark Gauthier, Donald Engineering and its key vendors, and the dedicated support of College Of Computing faculty, staff, and students made this happen.”


    The MS in Mechatronics Class of 2021

    The Michigan Tech Master of Science in Mechatronics, launched in 2019, has congratulated its first graduates this spring: Chinmay Kondekar, Chukwuemeka George Ochieze, and Ahmat Oumar. Read their stories here.


    Promising Fall ’21 Enrollment Numbers

    Preliminary fall ’21 enrollment numbers for Mechatronics programs indicate a very high interest in the program.


    T=Student in the Mechatronics Playground

    Special Appreciation

    “I am very proud of the degree we launched at Tech and would like to express special appreciation to Adrienne Minerick, who not only believed in me when I proposed this degree, but actually helped to propel it at Michigan Tech,” says Dr. Aleksandr Sergeyev, professor in Applied Computing. Dr. Minerick was dean of the College of Computing from summer 2019 until February of this year.

    Mr. Gauthier adds, “Both Adrienne’s and Aleks’s embrace of this vision, and their efforts to implement programs that prepare Michigan Tech students for careers as mechatronics professionals has been amazing.”

    “I am so impressed by people like Alex, Adrienne, and Mark, who have a vision for what can be, and put in the hard work to turn that vision into reality,” says Dr. Dan Fuhrmann, chair of the Applied Computing department. “The early enrollment numbers are a testament to that hard work, and that is only the beginning. I will do what I can to to help keep this train rolling?”



    Developing Creative Minds

    “Michigan Tech is much more than a University to me. I believe in the University and the drive to develop creative minds,” Mr. Gauthier says. “It is also one of my passions. I call the Houghton city limits the ‘front door to my home.'”

    “The effort and vision of the College and University have been amazing, ” Mr. Gauthier adds. “To be able to work with you ALL is a dream come true, for me.”

    Mr. Gauthier adds that Michigan Tech did so much for him in a time of deep sadness, as well as helping direct and educate him to become a leader.

    “It [my Michigan Tech education] made me work through some tough times and thickened my skin in the meantime,” he says. “I may not be able to pass a calculus class anymore, but I can certainly remember what it did. My entire experience taught me how to learn, how to educate myself, and become independent and accountable to myself. These are key factors that need to be emphasized.”


    “Passion moves mountains. Let’s keep this moving. We owe it to our future.”

    Mr. Mark Gauthier

    A student in the Mechatronics Playground

    B.S. in Mechatronics

    The College of Computing added a Bachelor of Science in Mechatronics to its degree programs, beginning in Fall 2020.

    Learn about the B.S. in Mechatronics.


    M.S. in Mechatronics

    The College of Computing added a Master of Science in Mechatronics to its degree programs, beginning in Fall 2019.

    Learn about the M.S. in Mechatronics.


    Chinmay Kondekar, ’21

    ECE graduate student Chinmay Kondekar, advised by Professor Sergeyev, designed and produced an interconnected system that is flexible, reconfigurable, and controlled from a central control interface to emulate a production process. The system is used to machine different patterns on a block of foam.

    Read the story.



    Mechatronics Playground

    Donald Engineering, (DE), an engineering and distribution company headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI, and several of the company’s key vendors, have generously designed, built, and funded significant improvements to the Mechatronics Engineering Lab.

    In spring 2020, students were using the all-new custom industry-grade equipment, and learning stations. The lab has been dubbed, “The Mechatronics Playground.”

    Read the story.


    Paul-222: A Smart Disinfector Robot

    Funded by Institute of Computing and Cybersystems seed grant from Michigan Tech alumnus Paul Williams, Assistant Professor Nathir Rawashdeh, Applied Computing, has developed a mobile robot disinfector with the help of a seed grant from Michigan Tech alumnus and donor Paul Williams ’61 EE.

    “Building a multidisciplinary robot like this, one that contains mechanical, electrical, and computational components, is an example of applied mechatronics at work.,” Rawashdeh says.

    Read the story.
    See the robot in action.


    Donald Engineering, Mechatronics in Chamber Publication

    A February 2021 issue of the “Manufacturing Matters” newsletter, published by the Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg (Michigan), includes a feature article about Michigan Tech’s Mechatronics degree programs and learning lab, and the work that alumnus Mark Gauthier is doing to support and promote Mechatronics careers in southwestern Michigan.


    Mechatronics, EET Topics of Copper Country Today Radio Program

    In a segment on the weekly Copper Country Today radio program, Professor Aleksandr Sergeyev, Applied Computing, and four EET undergraduate students were interviewed about the Mechatronics BS program and an Electrical Engineering Technology Senior Design project benefiting a mobility-impaired girl in Alabama.

    Listen to the radio program.
    Read two stories about this challenging student project.


    EET Project on TV6 Marquette

    The Senior Design project completed this academic year by four graduating Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) students was the topic of a news story aired on WLUC-TV6 (Marquette) on April 23, 2021. The students designed and produced a motorized swing set that will help a disabled child enjoy herself and sleep comfortably.

    Tackling the project top to bottom, the students designed the electrical system, control and drive systems, and portions of the mechanical design. The students, all graduating EET students, are Joe Barbercheck, Seth Cherry, Heather Harris, and Cole Kubick.


    CTE High School Mechatronics Program

    Michigan Tech recently launched a year-long Career and Technical Education (CTE) program in Mechatronics for high school juniors or seniors. The new program is offered through a partnership between Michigan Tech and the Copper Country Intermediate School District (CCISD). 

    Faculty in the Applied Computing disciplines, and faculty in the Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (MMET) department in the College of Engineering are administering the program. The course is instructed by two Mechatronics/ECE master’s degree students (now graduates), George Ochieze and Chinmay Kondekar.

    “Teaching for local schools is an opportunity for me to give back to people in the community who welcomed me as an international student,” says Kondekar. “I hope to create a strong interest in robotics and automation in my students. People with these skills will be the future of manufacturing and will have plenty of opportunities.”

    Read the story.

    Leidos Equips EET, MET Lab

    In 2018 a generous gift from Leidos expanded and refurbished the EET and MET lab spaces on the 4th floor of the Electrical Energy Resources Center (EERC) and the electrical was upgraded.

    With a second Leidos gift in 2019, lab refurbishment was completed and six new state-of-the art learning stations installed in time for the fall 2019 section of Electrical Machinery (EET 2233). Eagle Mine and the College of Computing each also funded a learning station.

    “Selecting and controlling electrical machines are prime examples of the electrical, mechanical and computing aspects of hardware equipment,” said Professor Nathir Rawashdeh, Applied Computing. “Tnd the new learning units and exercises provide all the tools students need to thoroughly understand these subjects.”

    Read the story.


    Chinmay Kondekar, MS in Electrical Engineering Graduate, 2021

    By Karen S. Johnson, Communications Director, College of Computing

    Graduate student Chinmay Kondekar heard about Michigan Tech during his undergraduate studies. Sometime later he read a social media post about work opportunities in the robotic and automation labs, and Michigan Tech again came to his attention.

    “At that time, I was working as a controls engineer in India,” he says. “Robotics and automation interest me, and when I saw who had written the post (a former graduate student of Sergeyev’s), I knew I had found the perfect degree program.”

    Kondekar’s final design project was to create an interconnected system that is flexible, reconfigurable, and controlled from a central control interface to emulate a production process.

    “We decided on machining as the process because it is tricky to program and one of the more challenging applications for an industrial robot,” he says.

    The system has a number of industrial applications. “Most of the robotic work cells in the industry have similar control and communication layout,” Kondekar confirms.

    “The data generated from the project has helped me to create lab manuals on interconnected systems,” Kondekar adds. “The system has potential applications in data acquisition and analytics, cybersecurity, and future projects requiring interconnected systems.”

    The system is a result of combining multiple components that are controlled from a central interface by a method called systems integration. Similar manufacturing system layouts can be commonly found in the automotive, pharma, and food industry.

    The system is used to machine different patterns on a block of foam using various robotic attachments. Correct dimensions are assured using machine vision, and by transporting the workpiece between different stations.

    What sparked Kondekar’s interest in creating the system was the challenge presented by the hardware and software interfacing required, which is accomplished through hands-on work and software programming, which he enjoys immensely.

    “I enjoy solving problems and coming up with a solution to make things work,” he shares. “When starting the project, I had a lot of unknown variables but I knew how to approach them and, eventually, I came up with solutions and made the system work. It’s highly rewarding to watch the finished system come together, and then to see it work automatically after pressing just three buttons.”

    Kondekar had some background knowledge going into the project, gained during his employment as a controls engineer. In that position, he worked on boiler, turbine, pharma, and automotive automation verticals, making “the PLC part of the project easy.”

    His background in electrical engineering also made the controls and wiring easy. “But I had to learn robotics and electro-pneumatics from scratch, as I had never worked on either of them,” he says.

    Kondekar’s project would not have been possible without generous support from Mark Gauthier and his team at Donald Engineering. “Mark has helped the department acquire the best industry-grade hardware, and his expertise in pneumatics helped the project concept become reality,” Kondekar says.

    Kondekar has worked as a teaching assistant, an instructor for high school students and engineering undergrads, and a student researcher for Professor Aleks Sergeyev, Applied Computing.

    “Aleks has been a wonderful mentor and a great advisor,” Kondekar says. “I love his vision and his approach towards automation and robotics. I will definitely miss working with him, and I look forward to opportunities to work with him again.”

    “Chinmay is a very knowledgeable student with a great work ethic,” says Sergeyev. “Through his study and research, he acquired all the needed skills to become a very successful contributor to the industry. I certainly enjoyed working with him”

    For the next few years, Kondekar sees himself working in the automation and controls industry for systems integrator companies. He’ll soon start a controls engineer position with Patti Engineering, Auburn Hills, Mich. Research work has been interesting for him, and he says he would consider a PhD opportunity in the future.

    Professor David Labyak (MMET) helped Kondekar with the machining aspect of his project. “He is one of the best teachers I have ever had,” he says. “I would look forward to working with him in the future, as well.”

    During his high school teaching experiences—for a local mechatronics program—he worked with Professor John Irwin (MMET), whom he also identifies as a mentor. “I like his approach towards mechanical and mechatronics education, and would like to work with him in the future,” Kondekar says of Irwin.

    Kondekar graduates this spring with his master of science in electrical engineering. He completed a bachelor’s in engineering in electrical engineering at University of Pune, India, in 2017. In 2019, he completed a Michigan Tech certificate in FANUC handling tool operations and material handling.

    He says he has enjoyed his learning and life experiences at Michigan Tech. Plus, he loves the outdoors. “I am an outdoors guy and I love the UP, especially the summers. It’s full of good people and great beer!”



    EET Senior Design Project on TV 6


    The Senior Design project completed this semester by four senior-level Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) is the topic of a news story that was aired on WLUC-TV6 (Marquette) on Friday, April 23, 2021. The project was to design and produce a motorized swing set that will help a disabled child enjoy herself and sleep comfortably.

    Read an article about the EET students’ project here.

    View the TV6 news story here.

    The students are Joe Barbercheck, Seth Cherry, Heather Harris, and Cole Kubick.

    Tackling the project top to bottom, the students designed the electrical system, control and drive systems, and portions of the mechanical design. Their top priority was making sure the systems and mechanical structure are safe.

    Specifications for the swing include that it be lightweight, reliable, and portable. The unit is battery-operated with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The swing will both rock the child to sleep and serve as a play toy for three to four years, although the actual lifetime of the swing will be much longer.

    Professor Alex Sergeyev and Lecturer Paniz Hazaveh are co-advisors to the team. “The students are very excited about the project,” Sergeyev says. “It’s very meaningful to them.”

    “The skills that we are teaching in the EET and Mechatronics undergraduate programs makes students able to just jump on these kinds of projects,” Sergeyev says. “It’s great to see that their learning can be applied to a project as complex as this one.”



    1010 with … Dr. Alex Sergeyev, Applied Computing


    Are you a high school student, current undergraduate student, or a recent BS graduate? Are you are interested in robotics, automation, and controls?

    “If you’d like to learn more about the Mechatronics and the BS and MS programs at Michigan Tech, please join this 1010 conversation,” Professor Alex Sergeyev urges.

    You are invited to spend one-zero-one-zero—that is, ten—minutes with Dr. Aleksandr Sergeyev on Thursday, April 15, from 4:30 to 4:40 p.m. EST.


    Dr. Sergeyev is a professor in the Applied Computing department and director of the Mechatronics graduate program. He also directs the FANUC Certified Industrial Robotics Training Center at Michigan Tech.

    Dr. Sergeyev will discuss his research, the Applied Computing department, and the Mechatronics BS and MS programs. He will answer questions following his presentation.

    Michigan Tech is a pioneer in Mechatronics education, having introduced a graduate degree program in 20xx, and a bachelor’s program in Fall 2019.

    “Mechatronics is an industry buzzword synonymous with robotics, controls, automation, and electromechanical engineering,” Sergeyev says.

    In his presentation, he will discuss Mechatronics in general, explain what the degree has to offer, job opportunities in Mechatronics, and some of the research he is conducting in this field.

    In Spring 2021, a Mechatronics Playground was opened on campus. The hands-on learning lab and industry-grade equipment was funded by alumnus Mark Gauthier of Donald Engineering, Grand Rapids, MI, and other major companies.

    A common degree in Europe, China, Japan, Russia, and India, advanced study in Mechatronics is an underdeveloped academic discipline in the United States, even though the industrial demand for these professionals is enormous, and continues to grow.

    Sergeyev’s areas of expertise are in electrical and computer engineering, physics, and adaptive optics, and his professional interests include robotics. He is principal investigator for research grants totaling more that $1 million. He received both his MS and PhD degrees at Michigan Tech, in physics and electrical and computer engineering, respectively.

    We look forward to spending 1010 minutes with you!


    Nathir Rawashdeh Presents, Publishes Research at Mechatronics Conference

    A conference paper published in IEEE Xplore entitled, “Interfacing Computing Platforms for Dynamic Control and Identification of an Industrial KUKA Robot Arm” has been published by Assistant Professor Nathir Rawashdeh, Applied Computing.

    In this work, a KUKA robotic arm controller was interfaced with a PC using open source Java tools to record the robot axis movements and implement a 2D printing/drawing feature.

    The paper was presented at the 2020 21st International Conference on Research and Education in Mechatronics (REM). Details available at the IEEE Xplore database.