(UPDATE) Nissan donates manufacturing robots to Alcorn State University

March 20, 2013

Technology

nissan-logoIt’s the gift that keeps on giving… or building.

Nissan North America’s manufacturing facility in Canton has given two high-tech robots to Alcorn State University for use in the college’s advanced technologies program.

The robots stand more than five feet tall, weigh more than 800 pounds each and were used to arc weld Nissan car bodies.

In a formal ceremony Thursday at the auto manufacturer’s facility in Canton, Nissan and Alcorn officials gathered for the official handover.

“With this gift, Nissan is strengthening its partnership with Alcorn,” says Dr. Kwabena Agyepong, chair of the advanced technologies department.

The idea to contribute the robots originated from Nissan Canton employee and current Alcorn student Jason Derryberry, who joined Nissan in 2004 as a maintenance technician and is now a maintenance supervisor. He will finish his degree in applied science at Alcorn and plans to stay involved by helping students install the robots.

“I got tremendous encouragement and support from the Canton management team as we worked with Alcorn on this project,” Derryberry said. “I’m excited because I work with similar technology every day, so I know what these robots will mean for the Alcorn program and my fellow students.”

“Alcorn has a rich history and is leading the way to a brighter future for its students through its Advanced Technologies program,” said Dan Bednarzyk, vice president for Nissan Canton. “These robots will be put to good educational use as the faculty trains the engineers of tomorrow. This contribution is one more way that Nissan is meeting its commitment to diversity, education and serving our community.”

The instructors also learned how to program and operate the robots, which can be programmed and fitted with attachments to perform welding and other tasks in the Alcorn robotics lab.

Nissan Canton is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2013 and has grown since its opening to 5,000 employees and an annual payroll in excess of $200 million.

Assembly of the new Sentra compact sedan will begin later this year and production of the next-generation Nissan Murano is scheduled to move to Canton from Japan in 2014. Canton employees currently build the Altima, Armada and Xterra SUVs, Titan and Frontier pickups and NV cargo and passenger vans.

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Central Elements Arts Collective has posted a 2007 YouTube video of a robotic arm used to manufacture Nissan pickups.

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About Stephen McDill

Stephen McDill joined the Mississippi Business Journal in 2008 after working in radio and television. He is a graduate of Belhaven University and has won awards for his writing and photojournalism from the Associated Press and Mississippi Press Association.

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