Leaders Converge at Automate 2011


Original dateline: March 1, 2011, Robotics Online by Bennett Brumson

The Automate 2011 Show and Conference promises to be an event where robot suppliers, integrators and potential end-users of robotics can gather to share solutions to manufacturing challenges. Slated for March 21-24 in Chicago’s McCormick Place, Automate 2011 will bring together leaders in robotics, machine vision, and motion control to exhibit the latest and greatest in flexible industrial technology, showcasing their capabilities and products to potential end-users.

Automate is a newly updated, expanded and rebranded version of the Robotic Industries Association’s (RIA, Ann Arbor, Michigan) flagship trade show (formerly the International Robots, Vision & Motion Control Show). Even the venue (McCormick Place) is new.

And for the first time, integrators are strategically located at the show’s entrance, accentuated in Automate 2011’s Integrated Solutions Center, a pavilion showing real world answers to real world manufacturing challenges facing end-users. The Integrated Solutions Center is the place that attendees can visit to see how technologies on display can provide them with solutions, no matter what industry they work in or what their application needs are.

Automate 2011 will be held simultaneously with ProMat, the most comprehensive material handling trade show in North America, and with the International Symposium on Robotics (ISR). Service robots will have a more prominent place in Automate 2011 than at previous shows with several cutting-edge personal robots and related technology on display in the Emerging Robotics Pavilion.

Manufacturers in the laboratory, medical device fabrication, alternative energy, food and beverage, consumer goods, pharmaceutical, aerospace and electronics industries, among others, can solve manufacturing problems by attending Automate 2011.

Automate attendees can witness the bestowing of the prestigious Joseph F. Engelberger Robotics Awards to industry innovators Åke Lindqvist of ABB Robotics (Auburn Hills, Michigan) and Dr. Henrik Christensen, Professor of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (Atlanta, Georgia). Lindqvist will receive the award for leadership while Christensen will get the education award during the Tuesday evening (March 22) Gala Dinner Awards Ceremony.

In one of the most comprehensive conference agendas, engineers and others in the robotics field will have the opportunity to attend dozens of diverse tutorials and other sessions to enhance existing skills or learn new ones. Leaders in the robotics, machine vision, and motion control industries will present these tutorials and sessions. Attendees can prepare for exams to become a Certified Vision Professional (CVP) through the Automated Imaging Association (AIA).

Other highlights include a keynote speech on the Development of Robonaut 2 (Tuesday morning, March 22), a joint project of General Motors (GM, Warren, Michigan) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Johnson Space Center (NASA-JSC, Houston, Texas). GM and NASA share a vision of robots and humans working together in the same workspace. Dr. Myron Diftler, Robonaut Project Manager at NASA-JSC and Marty Linn, Principal Engineer of Robotics with GM, will talk about the development of Robonaut 2 and design strategies used to enable closer human-robot cooperation.

On earth, Robonaut 2 is designed to operate in an industrial setting, performing bin-picking chores. Robonaut 2 is integrated with more than 350 sensors.

Also delivering a keynote is Thomas Ridge, former Secretary of Homeland Security, giving a speech titled “Fortune Favors the Brave: The Net Gain of Supply Chain Security in a Risk-Based World.”  Secretary Ridge’s keynote address will be presented on Monday morning, March 21.

Another expanded feature of Automate 2011 is the New Product Presentation Theatre, where exhibiting companies can show off recently introduced products in 20-minute presentations right on the show floor.

In addition to the Engelberger awards ceremony, those attending Automate 2011 will have a chance to relax at Buddy Guy’s Legends. The fabled Chicago blues club is the perfect venue for informal networking and a fine meal. The event takes place Wednesday night.

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