New equipment, partnerships turn CNC lab into state-of-the-art facility
Students at Delta College saw a major upgrade to the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) lab this fall.
Thanks to a $1.5 million state grant focusing on skilled trades and more than $600,000 in funds from the College, Delta was able to purchase and install new equipment, as well as renovate the space in the CNC/machine tool program lab. The chemical process lab also received new equipment as part of the grant.
The result is a state-of-the-art CNC lab with 36 machines. Prior to the grant, the College had purchased three machines in the past six years. Also, other equipment was nearing the end of their life cycles.
“We’ve been continually upgrading the lab with new equipment, but not to this level that we’ve been able to with the grant,” said Terry Morse, CNC Coordinator and Associate Professor. “It really motivates students when you have newer, modern equipment.
“We can’t be teaching what they’re already doing. We have to be teaching what they’re doing and what they plan to do.”
Because of the commitment to the program, there has been another benefit where companies are entrusting equipment to the College, according to Mike Finelli, Division Chair of Technical Trades and Manufacturing at Delta.
“Part of the reason we got the grant is because we had that connection with industry and they saw that the commitment was coming,” Finelli said. “But also, I think the reason that our partners came from the outside and supported us so much is because Terry has been willing to say, ‘What do you folks need.’ ”
Two major companies – Haas and Rollomatic – each entrusted a machine to Delta and they were built into the revision plans for the lab.
“We have two pieces of equipment from companies that we would normally not have been able to afford due to the specificity of the equipment and the cost,” Morse said. “We’re talking upwards of three quarters of a million dollars between the two pieces. And, if you add that to the two we already own, we’re over a million dollars of equipment that our students now have access to.”
The benefit for the companies, Morse said, is that they can use Delta’s CNC lab as somewhat of a showroom. Delta’s benefit is that when an entrusted machine is sold, a brand new machine will take its place in the lab.
The Great Lakes Bay Area Manufacturers Association estimates that in the next few years, 500 CNC machine tool positions will be needed in the area.
“The reality is, anything you come in contact with, from the pencil in your hand to the clothes you’re wearing, to the food you eat has gone through a manufacturing process,” Morse said. “If you enjoy working with equipment and making something from a solid block of material or, if you like to work with your hands, with you mind and with computers and software, this would be a good fit for you.”
In addition to day and evening classes, Delta offers an 11-week accelerated program. Students earn a certificate of achievement when they complete the program requirements and completed courses count toward the CNC Advanced Certificate.
For more information about Delta’s CNC program, contact coordinator Terry Morse at 989-686-9153 or at email@example.com.