Franklin County Technical School unveils new computerized machinery

  • Welding/Metal Fabrication Instructor John Passiglia programs Franklin County Technical School’s new CNC-controlled robotic welding machine for a demonstration Friday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Guests and faculty watch the new CNC-controlled robotic-welding machine in action. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Franklin County Technical School Superintendent Richard Martin, Welding/Metal Fabrication Instructors Lorin Burrows and John Passiglia introduce the new CNC controlled robotic welding machine to dignitaries and guests. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 4/5/2019 5:30:13 PM

MONTAGUE — A robotic welding machine is the latest in Franklin County Technical School’s upgrades to its metal fabrication shop.

The school premiered the new machine Friday. Tech School Superintendent Richard Martin ceremonially cut the ribbon with Greenfield Community College President Yves Salomon-Fernández and state Rep. Natalie Blais, D-Sunderland.

The welding machine is one of several new computer-controlled machines in the metal fabrication shop that were paid for largely with a $495,000 state grant. Other donations and partial matching brought the total funding “far in excess” of the state’s grant, Superintendent Martin said.

On the whole, the project was a renovation of the school’s shop room, and included a new ventilation system and brighter, energy-efficient lighting. To make room for the new welding machine, a neighboring classroom and storage closet were taken over by the shop.

Part of the donation comprised payment-in-kind, Martin said, so some construction and electrical work was done by Tech School students.

The new computer-controlled machinery was what was highlighted Friday though. Along with the welding machine, the new equipment also includes a plasma cutter, a drill press and a bandsaw mill, all installed within the last year, Martin said.

Welding and Metal Fabrication Teacher John Passiglia explained that, because all the new equipment is computer-controlled, it gives students greater precision in their work and allows them to interact with more variables at once. To demonstrate, he used the new welding machine to weld two pieces of metal in a perfect circle.

“It makes you a more intelligent worker once you learn how to use it,” Passiglia said.

Reach Max Marcus at or 413-772-0261 ex 261.

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