By Brian Huse, Director, Marketing & PR, Robotic Industries Association
With all the politically charged commotion in the world today, I hope it still ends up as happy as can be especially for our veterans.
Now, while my hope is hanging in the air, some among us will see a Carrier Classic that honors our veterans. Half a world away in Stuttgart, Germany, our own Jeff Fryman, Aircraft Maintenance Officer and Program Manager in the Air Force (retired), is part of an Association delegation for machine vision standards. We salute all our veterans!
Whether above in the skies of Afghanistan or next door in the halls of a hospital, robots deploy in ways that veterans of the past might possibly have dreamt, but until now, these fancies were merely the work of science fiction movies such as Star Wars.
Robots are exciting . . . still they get way too much credit. Sure, robots are light years ahead of fixed automation in terms of productivity. They are so long-lasting, and return on investment is so fast, that investment amount is secondary in a decision to robotify.
The most disrupting thing about robots is they are capable of leveling the playing field on an international economy which is an amazing fact on its own.
But people who imagine how to automate a process are the real stars of the industry.
People in this industry get to ponder what it takes to reduce a process to its most basic form, and when they are done robotifying it, what we have is a work of art that produces more, or makes better product, or lowers cost or all of the above.
Some of these artists are working veterans in charge of departments and divisions at major companies. Some even program robots. They had apps before Apple was invented. It is fun to work in robotics.
In fact, the Father of Robotics is a veteran: Mr. Joseph F. Engelberger, U.S. Navy, retired. He focused on making the work area safer for citizen soldiers at the factory. In 1961, the first robot, a Unimate, applied itself to material handling work in a foundry environment. From day one, Mr. Engelberger tried to find the dirtiest, most dangerous jobs and robotify them.
Safety has been the number-one priority for RIA since its inception in 1974, and this is a reflection of the people on committees and in the Board of Directors throughout the ages. RIA is fortunate to have good people, including some veterans, for guidance. Some will know the name Don Vincent, a former executive of RIA (retired), who earned the Joseph F. Engelberger Leadership Award – he is a veteran and we keep his family in our hearts and prayers.
All industries have interesting people and among them are veterans for sure, but the robotics industry has people who are legendary, interesting, serious and fun. If you are a member, we hope you take advantage of the chance to meet these people. Some of the best the industry has to offer convene at the Robotics Industry Forum, January 18-20, 2012, in Orlando, Florida.
Until then, here’s hoping it is a happy day for veterans and citizen soldiers everywhere.