In 2011, China’s Guangzhou Light Industry Vocational School launched a robotics major, requiring a complete robotics teaching system, including the introduction of robotics equipment, textbooks, and academic staff to teach the course.
ABB Robotics has provided the school with a complete set of teaching aids and teacher training, plus a range of ABB robots and support, enabling students to unlock their potential and learn and develop the skills needed for careers in robotics-related industries.
Founded in 1958，Guangzhou Light Industry Vocational School is the region’s only public secondary vocational school that focuses on the major of intelligent manufacturing. In 2011, as part of China’s drive to develop the skills and technology needed for a robotic manufacturing future, Guangzhou Light Industry Vocational School launched a robotics major, with around 300 students recruited annually.
After thorough research, the school introduced its first ABB industrial robot in 2012. Today, it now has a total of 29 sets of ABB industrial robots jointly designed and developed in partnership with ABB. As well as providing the robots, ABB is also actively involved in helping to conduct the courses related to the majors of Application of Electromechanical Technology and Application of Industrial Robot Technology, which prepare students with the skills they will need for careers in an automated workplace.
High-quality teaching aids supports hands-on courses
To enable it to teach students a full range of the skills needed to use, maintain, and apply robots, Guangzhou Light Industry Vocational School has built the Industrial Robot Application-Oriented Talent Training Center. Spanning over 1,000 sqm, the center features dedicated areas for hands-on practice and simulation. Every year, ABB Robotics provides teachers with targeted technical training, and the school with teaching and learning materials, including textbooks, courseware, and online courses to help students achieve a solid grasp of conceptual knowledge through systematic learning.
In the hands-on practice area, the school uses a combination of ABB’s IRB 120, IRB 1410, and IRB 360 robots to equip students with the core skills needed for industrial robot operation, on-site programming, offline programming and simulation, and maintenance. The robots are also used to show students how to apply and integrate robots in different applications including palletizing, chip decomposition, welding, painting, and deburring. To help them fully understand the roles they are likely to perform in employment, students are also encouraged to roleplay real-world positions such as industrial robot assistants, debuggers, production line maintainers and project managers. Higher-level tasks allow students to adapt in advance to the transitioning from student, to apprentice, and gradually, to employee.
Thanks to the durability and safety of ABB robots, students can use ABB robots for hands-on practice without any concerns.
The simulation area, ABB’s RobotStudio offline programming software tool is used to help students learn the skills needed to code instructions and accurately simulate and calculate robot movements in an offline environment. In class, teachers encourage students to code instructions creatively from a professional perspective and maximize the performance of the robot.
Luo Peidong, a student from Class 1 of Robotics Major at Guangzhou Light Industry Vocational School, said: "ABB's RobotStudio is a professional software for us to learn robot-related knowledge. It helps to avoid a lot of the heavy work involved in manual on-site debugging and substantially improves our learning efficiency while reducing the difficulty of the robotics courses.”
Competition platform unlocks students' potential
Another bonus for the school has been the opportunity to compete in the ABB Cup Innovation Contest. Held annually in China, the competition has added a robot group, which helps students majoring in robotics verify their learning outcomes and inspires students to explore innovative application scenarios and the benefits of robots in manufacturing and human life.
Last year, two students from Guangzhou Light Industry Vocational School won first prize in the contest for their project, which involved designing a GoFa robotic waste sorting system together with the graphical instructions to go with it using ABB’s RobotStudio offline programming software tool.
Opening opportunities for rewarding careers
Many students who have taken the courses since they were introduced in 2011 have found their interests and identified their future development direction through the study of their major courses. Of the 700 robotics graduates who have passed through Guangzhou Light Industry Vocational School since the course started in 2011, 70 percent have pursued higher education, with many then taking up careers in industrial robot production, integration, and application enterprises in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
In one example, an outstanding graduate of the Guangzhou Light Industry Vocational School who had taken a job with a local manufacturer used his knowledge to develop a robotic flexible polishing system for belt buckles, which was later used by the company to serve world-renowned luxury brands Gucci and Ferragamo.
Cai Jifeng, Director of the Department of Intelligent Control of Guangzhou Light Industry Vocational School highlights the importance of ABB’s technology and support in helping students to shape their future careers:
"After completing the three-year secondary vocational education, most of our students choose to enter higher vocational schools for further studies in the field, and then start a career in areas like industrial robot body manufacturing, system integration and applications engineering. By giving students a real understanding of robotic automation, our courses are really helping students to open new opportunities for their future careers and development.”
"In doing so, we are nurturing talents for industries such as artificial intelligence, automobile, electronics and construction every year. With industry facing a shortage of skilled workers, we are injecting new blood and helping to find ways to use automation technology to assist people in carrying out tasks.”
A valuable partnership
Cai Jifeng regards the partnership with ABB as a key part of the school’s success in teaching its students to such a high standard.
“Our ability to provide high-quality education is inseparable from the complete set of teacher training, teaching materials, teaching aids and student development platform provided by ABB Robotics. We will continue to maintain a long-term close cooperative relationship with ABB which will enable us to go further and explore the possibilities around the latest robotic technologies and their potential application in intelligent factories, intelligent production lines and intelligent control professional groups, enabling us to provide professional, rigorous and lively education in robotics to our students."