New Robots & Vision Show Site Debuts with Strong Google PageRank!

February 23, 2007

We’ve just launched a brand new Web site for the International Robots & Vision Show, and as soon as it went live, it had a solid Google PageRank of five. The site was designed and produced 100% by our Association staff in a few short days thanks largely to part-time Webmaster, Carrie Warolin ( I may be unduly biased, but I think she did a great job – thanks Carrie!

Emphasis on Hands-on Demos at the Show

A lot of emphasis is going into a new strategy to cultivate hands-on demonstrations at exhibits on the Show floor. Here are the criteria for participation in the Show’s Hands-on Highway:

• There is a hands-on, self-guided demo in the booth 
• Four minutes is the time limit for hands-on demos
• Demos must communicate “ease of use” of the technology

Hands-on Highway maps and other collateral will help attendees find these demos. We will create opportunities for visitors to plan ahead so they can incorporate the Hands-on Highway in their Show experience. Thanks to the Hands-on Highway and other interactive arrangements, this is now more than a trade show. It is an interactive experience that answers questions about the technology that no amount of Web surfing can answer. 

We are grateful to the Show Committee for guiding us toward creating this new activity for attendees. Their input, and that of other committees, is what shapes the strategy and tactics for the International Robots & Vision Show and many other Association endeavors.

Let Me Answer Your Questions (Click here for the form)

You may have questions on how to participate in the Hands-on Highway, or on other aspects of the Show and Conference. We feel confident that companies of any size can participate, and I’m happy to help you figure out how. Post comments and questions here, or contact me directly at (734/994-6088).


Valentine Robotics Loves to Train — and More!

February 14, 2007

If you want to show your robot crew a little love, why not do it with training by Valentine Robotics? Today, February 14, I was struck by how appropriate it would be to call up our friends at Valentine Robotics and see how things are for this third-year member, and it turns out everything is terrific.


Amy Valentine was as bubbly as ever as she told me about the many developments for the company. They not only do training for most major robots and controllers, but also offer contract services, robot calibration, and they now offer robot vision integration and non-destructive testing.


She explained they are involved in several feasibility studies, including one that inspects knee and hip joints for proper coating thickness of calcium antibiotic. Ever since I wrecked my knee in a snowmobiling accident three years ago, I really appreciate the contributions our members make to the medical and life sciences fields. In this case, she told me that they are looking for the exact right thickness of the coating so the body doesn’t reject the part.


NDT is just one of the new additions to Valentine Robotics’ toolbox of services. Demand for training is still their biggest business, and they frequently partner with other RIA members such as DELMIA, to offer courses to help your employees “up their skill level.”


Now and always, Happy Valentines Day!

Picking a Hotel for the National Robot Safety Conference

February 6, 2007

Unfortunately, I didn’t do a personal site inspection the last time RIA held its National Robot Safety Conference in the Cincinnati area at the Drawbridge Inn. It looked great on paper. The room rates were right ($79 a night). In fact, the hotel was very good in working with our group, plus it was right next to a great rib joint. But not everyone loved it. According to some attendees, the guest rooms were a bit shabby.


If we were going to come back to Cincinnati, we needed to be sure our attendees were comfortable. The National Robot Safety Conference is a four day event, and most of our group will see the inside of a guest room quite a bit.


So I packed up my bags and hit the road to check out the Holiday Inn Eastgate, near Cincinnati. In fact, this trip is what set the stage for RIA’s first ever blog, since I was able to schedule some stops with RIA members on the way to and from the hotel.


If you go to the Holiday Inn Eastgate, be sure to try the ribs at O’Charley’s (next to the hotel). At the hotel, you’ll find that they have lots of good meeting space and a nice atrium. As far as the guest rooms, they are small and okay, but age is creeping up on them. The wallpaper in my room had a rip at one of the seams, but the amenities were totally fine. However, be warned: there is no place to plug in your laptop for Internet service, but they do have wireless.


The Holiday Inn Eastgate could have held the National Robot Safety Conference, but we also had our eyes on some properties in Indianapolis. Jeff Fryman, RIA’s director of standards development, was there doing a site inspection at the same time I was in Cinci, and as I would learn later, the Marriott really wanted our business.


If you’re wondering where the 2007 National Robot Safety Conference will be, we just booked it at the Indianapolis Marriott East. Jeff should blog about that. He came back with a story about royal treatment and the chocolates to prove it. Anyway, mark your calendar for October 1-4, and check the Robotics Online Web site for details.

Safety First

February 6, 2007

Not long ago, I was hopping in my Dodge Intrepid and leaving RobotWorx in Marion, Ohio for my next stop on a membership road trip for Robotic Industries Association. I soon found myself safely at Fortress Interlocks in Erlanger, Kentucky, where safety is their primary business.

Fortress Interlocks designs and manufactures safety interlock systems for machine guarding applications such as safety gate switches and trapped key interlocks. You may have heard of them and their European counterpart, Castell Interlocks, especially if you’ve attended RIA’s National Robot Safety Conferences.

Bill Glenn, Fortress’ vice president of sales, has been busy expanding the Fortress distributor network. We talked about new products they have, including e-Guard, which allows you to create multiple configurations of safety devices by combining gate switches, trapped key interlocks and more.

I had arrived a bit late, so it was a brief stay, but nice to see Bill and Lida at their office (Lida Jones is in charge of marketing and customer service). My next stop was the Holiday Inn, Cincinnati-Eastgate, where I would do a site inspection for RIA’s next Safety Conference, stay the night, then head back home to Detroit.

Click here to see “Picking a Hotel for the National Robot Safety Conference.”

Cool Robotics Web Sites

February 2, 2007


Here’s a fun, interesting Web site from Autotool, one of RIA’s integrator members. It has animation and sound, interesting pictures of real work cells, and is so inviting that it makes me want to visit their brick and mortar site. Have a look!

Send RIA Your Robot & Automation Pix

February 1, 2007

Do you have pictures of industrial robots and related products RIA can display on Robotics Online and potentially in printed collateral for the International Robots & Vision Show? If so, please send your images in high resolution to 300 DPI is usually the key to print quality.