Omron gifts $830,00 to upgrade Chico State’s Mechatronics Laboratory


Julian Mendoza

A sign that reads “OMRON COLAB: This classroom & Laboratory made possible through the generous support of Omron Corporation. Dedicated February 10, 2020 California State University, Chico.”

Chico State’s administration and members from Omron Automation Americas gathered at Plumas Hall to cut the ribbon for the grand opening of Omron CoLab on Feb. 10. 

The CoLab is a brand new collaborative laboratory for the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Management and the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering and Sustainable Manufacturing.

Omron Automation Americas is a company that specializes in creating solutions for social issues such as industrial automation, health care and various amounts of robotics and artificial intelligence.

The 2,505-square-foot laboratory features an extended classroom space, updated and advanced technology, and hands on projects for students to receive a closer connection to their education.

Chico State is the one of the very first universities to partner with Omron to create a new educational area designed for engineering students. 

“In this leading edge facility, our students will now study with the latest equipment in sensing and control technology,” President Gayle Hutchinson said during the introduction. “We share with Omron the vision of how important research, development and investment into the next generation of researchers and problem solvers are.”

Vice President of Omron Automation Americas Matt Trowbridge explained during the ceremony how proud the company was to partner with Chico State on the production of the Omron CoLab because of the achievements the campus has completed so far.

“I read about the launch of Chico State’s new strategic plan and I applaud the campus community for the work you’ve done,” Trowbridge said. “The strategic priorities you’ve identified on equity, diversity, and inclusion, civic and global engagement, and resilient and sustainable systems all resonate what Omron is.”

“The lab’s goal is to focus on Omron’s innovative automation products based upon our core technology of sensing and controlling,” Chief Executive Officer of Omron Automation Americas Robb Black said.

Black further explained that Omron creates technology to ensure that the work done is integrated, interactive and intelligent.

“The students that come through this lab will be learning on the most advanced automation equipment we have today,” Black said. “Through the use of this lab, students will learn how Omron’s software provides machine developers complete control from one single environment.”

Omron granted senior Danny Cervantes, who will earn a degree in mechatronic engineering this spring, a job opportunity after graduation in their headquarters in Chicago.

“It is amazing that Chico State offers a degree in mechatronic engineering because most CSU’s do not offer these types of programs,” Cervantes said. “I am actually excited to say that I have accepted the job offer from Omron in an engineering training program in Chicago, Illinois. I will be gaining experience in automation robotics and sales engineering.”

Hutchinson and Black then came together after Cervantes’ speech to have one of the provided robots by Omron cut the ribbon to finalize the CoLab’s grand opening. 

“We are honored to be able to help the next generation of engineering talent gain the skills necessary to innovate and thrive in the future,” Trowbridge said.

  • A group picture of Omron and Chico State representatives.
  • The lab features multiple robots and computers for students to use.

Angelina Mendez can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter @theorion_angie