DROs used in SIU’s College of Engineering


Lathe 4Did you know that ACU-RITE DROs are used daily within Southern Illinois University’s (SIU) College of Engineering in Carbondale, IL? 

Found in the SIU Teaching Machine Shop as well as the general college machine shop, these ACU-RITE DROs are helping students prepare manufacturing and design projects and ready them for in-field work. And to support those ongoing efforts, last year ACU-RITE of the HEIDENHAIN Group donated two new DRO 200S and supporting scales to SIU, as well as supporting brackets and parts to repair some existing equipment.

The 2019 equipment donation was in appreciation of the many years that SIU has partnered with ACU-RITE, as well as part of a corporate effort to support schools in manufacturing. ACU-RITE also offers a deep discount program available to all schools.

“All the digital readouts here are ACU-RITE because they are well-known and a staple in this industry,” explained Nick Sjoberg, SIU graduate assistant completing his masters in Workforce Education. “Besides schooling, I have interned and worked at a variety of jobs in manufacturing and the ACU-RITE DROs are the industry mainstay.”

The two new DROs have been put on a lathe in the SIU Teaching Machine Shop to support student courses such as IMAE 209 (Industrial Management & Applied Engineering) and on a Bridgeport knee mill in the college-wide general machine shop where engineering design teams use it daily.

“The new ACU-RITE DRO on the mill in our general shop was put on one of our least-used pieces of equipment, which has now turned it into one of our most used!” said Sjoberg. “We are very thankful to have this.”

Mill 5-webSjoberg added that the Teaching Shop with the new ACU-RITE DRO on a lathe consists of many pieces of equipment from other manual lathes, large knee mills, CNC lathes and a CNC plasma table to smaller drill presses and welding equipment to name a few.  The students using the Teaching Shop and attending the IMAE course and similar are tasked with taking drawings and learning to make parts to see how the manufacturing process works. In the end, their goal is to become better prepared for in-field manufacturing jobs by understanding how to make things as well as design parts from the start.

Common machining activities with the new ACU-RITE DROs at SIU currently include using the Bolt-Hole Function to reliably creating bolt-hole circles and other repetitive patterns without the need to complete complicated steps, re-dimensioning a part in under a second or using the Linear-Hole Pattern which is an array function to easily mill a pocket into a part using endpoints provided quickly and accurately on the screen.

Baja 2-web“These DROs have proven to be of high quality and very reliable,” said Sjoberg. “And even though we have ACU-RITE DROs in the shop that are older than me, they work just as well as the new ones (minus all the fancy new features).”

Sjoberg explains that the college-wide machine shop has over 100 consistent users. The Teaching Shop has about 60 students currently using it, though many years it’s higher. He adds that the reliability of the equipment there is important for not only teaching, but also for the SIU robotics and the SAE Saluki BAJA teams. Their BAJA team builds buggy cars to compete in competitions with other schools where engineering students are tasked to design safe and efficient off-road vehicles. “And we do a great job!” said Sjoberg. “Just like the school does preparing our engineering students in general. Thanks again to ACU-RITE for its support.”

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