Women a Growing Demographic in Manufacturing

September 10, 2012

Despite great advances made in the workplace for equal pay and equal opportunities despite gender, there are still places where breaking into the boys’ club can be difficult. You don’t typically find women on the factory floor — but perhaps that’s about to change. CNN recently published an article about how developing automation technology and the growing manufacturing education system combine to make a career in manufacturing more accessible to women.

Manufacturing: Not just a man’s job
By Parija Kavilanz

Tom and Diana Peters — the husband-wife team that runs Symbol Job Training — are on a mission of their own. They want to enroll more women students in their school.

“The stereotype is that factory jobs require a lot of heavy lifting,” said Diana. “It’s the complete opposite. So much of manufacturing today is high-tech and computerized. Women can do these jobs and be very successful.”

The Peters’ trade school was formerly a family-run tool-and-die shop before Diana, a company executive, bought it and transformed it into a manufacturing trade school in 2005.

“We saw the need to establish a vocational school because of a skilled labor shortage in the area,” she said.

Enrollment at Symbol, which specializes in teaching computer-aided machining, known as CNC, has since quadrupled to 140 students a year. The school recently moved to a larger facility.

Symbol currently has about a dozen female students, a level that Tom calls a “spike” from years past when the school had none.

Read the full article at CNNmoney. What sort of challenges have you seen for women in manufacturing and automation? How have you seen them being addressed?


Robotics in Michigan – Recharging Our Future!

April 5, 2012

Robotics Luminaries from Around the State Converge on U of M to Promote Michigan as a Global Leader in Robotics and Autonomous Vehicles

ANN ARBOR, MI – March 28, 2012. The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), in partnership with the University of Michigan, will host the Second Annual Michigan Robotics Day on Monday, April 9, 2012.

This event is open to anyone who wants to learn about the incredible advances made by Michigan’s robotics technology sector with a strong emphasis on companies who would like to do business in Michigan. The event also highlights Michigan’s vibrant science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) community and its outstanding research universities. Robotics industry experts will meet with University researchers and students to promote the State as a global force in robotics and autonomous vehicles.

“Michigan is positioned to lead the world in robotics innovation,” said NCMS President & CEO Rick Jarman. “Consider the massive talent and infrastructure that already exists here in the state. Design and deployment of robotics technology will ultimately depend on advanced manufacturing – exactly the kind of capability in which Michigan companies excel.”

The daylong event will highlight the promise of robotics in Michigan, and confirm the field as an economic development engine for the State. The highlight of the event will be a keynote by Professor Lawrence Burns, a noted expert on next generation vehicle technology, including autonomous vehicles, transportation energy, and connected vehicles. Professor Burns is working with Google’s autonomous vehicle project and formerly served as Vice President of R&D for General Motors.

The day will include demonstrations of autonomous vehicles from leading automakers, robots from many state research institutions, and FIRST high school robotics teams demonstrating the next generation’s commitment to the technology. Student teams will have the chance to meet leaders in the robotics world, garner feedback for their work, and begin networking within the industry.

“Robotics represents a cradle-to-career opportunity for Michigan students,” said Phil Callihan, an Executive Director at NCMS. “They can start in high school, competing with FIRST robotics teams, do cutting edge research at our universities, and then work at Michigan companies who are global leaders in their field. This is an opportunity for long-term job growth, innovation, and success.”

The event takes place on April 9, 2012, starting at 9:00 a.m. Attendance is free and the public is welcome, with lunch provided for those who register by April 2. Registration, agenda and speaker bios for this event are available at: http://www.mirobotics.org/

Read the original press release here.

Jobs and Robots – Free RIA Webinars during National Robotics Week

March 30, 2012

National Robotics Week

Jobs and robotics are webinar topics addressed by Robotic Industries Association during National Robotics Week, April 7-15, 2012. Career Opportunities in Robotics is on April 10 and Fundamentals of Robotics is April 12 – both are free and start at Noon Eastern Daylight Savings Time. Registration details can be found at www.robotics.org/NationalRoboticsWeek.

Webinar panelists are RIA members with practical experience in the robotics industry. Speakers for the careers webinar are Diane Haig from Applied Manufacturing Technologies, Roberta Zald from IPR Robotics and Jim Devaprasad from Lake Superior State University. Adil Shafi, President of Advenovation, is the presenter for robotics fundamentals.

“National Robotics Week began in 2010 and is a great example of the renewed focus on manufacturing in North America,” said Jeff Burnstein, President, Robotic Industries Association. “RIA members are looking for qualified workers so this is a great opportunity to hear about the exciting and fulfilling work in robotics and advanced manufacturing.”

Findings from a 2011 report on how robots create jobs indicate, “One million industrial robots currently in operation have been directly responsible for the creation of close to three million jobs… A growth in robot use over the next five years will result in the creation of one million high quality jobs around the world.” (Source: International Federation of Robotics.

Career Opportunities in RoboticsCareer Opportunities in Robotics (April 10) is a one-hour webinar that examines career options in cutting-edge applications in industry and beyond. Engineers, faculty and others interested in engineering career development will discover exciting robotic opportunities in education and research, industry, simulation and emerging applications presented during this webinar.

Fundamentals of Industrial Robotics: Factory SolutionsFundamentals of Robotics – Factory Solutions (April 12) is an hour-long webinar that explains different kinds of robots, their design and component makeup, basic safety considerations and integration methodologies.

Attendees are invited to join the webinars online during National Robotics Week. The Great Plains Robotics Alliance along with the Wichita Area Technical College has incorporated the Fundamentals of Robotics webinar into an event they are hosting at their facility (National Center for Aviation Training) and will show the webinar live in their presentation auditorium.

About Robotic Industries Association

Founded in 1974, RIA’s member organizations include leading robot manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, community colleges & universities, research groups, and consulting firms. RIA is best-known for developing the ANSI/RIA National Robot Safety Standard, collecting quarterly statistics on the North American robotics market, sponsoring the biennial Automate show and conference, hosting the annual Robotics Industry Forum, and producing Robotics Online, the world’s leading resource for robotics information.

RIA is part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), formerly known as the Automation Technologies Council. Other associations under the A3 umbrella are AIA, an association for vision & imaging companies, and the Motion Control Association (MCA).

For more information on RIA, visit Robotics Online or contact RIA Headquarters at 734/994-6088.

About National Robotics Week

National Robotics Week recognizes robotics technology as a pillar of 21st century American innovation, highlights its growing importance in a wide variety of application areas, and emphasizes its ability to inspire technology education. Robotics is positioned to fuel a broad array of next-generation products and applications in fields as diverse as manufacturing, health-care, national defense and security, agriculture and transportation. At the same time, robotics is proving to be uniquely adept at enabling students of all ages to learn important science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts and at inspiring them to pursue careers in STEM-related fields. During National Robotics Week, a week-long series of events and activities is aimed at increasing public awareness of the growing importance of “robo-technology” and the tremendous social and cultural impact that it will have on the future of the United States.

National Robotics Week is a product of a 2009 effort by leading universities and companies to create a “national road-map” for robotics technology, which was initially unveiled at a May 2009 briefing by academic and industry leaders to the Congressional Caucus on Robotics. On March 9, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed resolution H.Res. 1055, officially designating the second full week in April as National Robotics Week. This resolution was submitted by U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14), co-chair of the Caucus, and other members.

Initiated in 2010, the inaugural National Robotics Week included 50 affiliated events around the country. National Robotics Week 2011 built on that success to include more than 100 events in 22 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. We expect National Robotics Week 2012 to be even bigger with even more events.

Read the original press release on Robotics Online.

“Help Wanted – Must be Robot Friendly”

March 16, 2012
Robotics is a growing industry. It starts up companies, expands business, and creates jobs. However, the robotics business is facing a challenge that all developing industries face — a lack of a skilled workforce.
Need for robotic skills outpacing work force

“Robot suppliers and integrators told us they were running full-out to meet customer demand and one of the limiting factors was a shortage of qualified application engineers and other technical people needed to develop and integrate new applications,” said RIA President Jeff Burnstein.

During January, recruiters posted more than 2,100 online job ads for robotics skills, an increase of 44 percent compared to January 2011 and more than double the volume of online job ads in January 2010, according to Wanted Analytics, a recruiting data firm.

The majority of job listings were for engineering and technology positions, but there also is growing demand for systems integration, operations and maintenance workers.

The advanced manufacturing industry is having trouble finding college graduates with even basic robotics skills, said Raul Ordonez, a University of Dayton associate professor and director of the school’s Motoman Robotics Laboratory.

“The students who have these skills would be highly sought after,” he said.

If you are looking to take advantage of the success of the robotics industry, there are many ways to become educated and develop your skill set, from full college programs in engineer to shorter certificate programs in robotics. Check out the Webinars & Education section of Robotics Online — we have a webinar about career opportunities in robotics coming up on April 10, as well as many other webinars archived for immediate viewing. We’re proud of RIA members Yaskawa Motoman Robotics and SAS Automation that have taken responsibility in the future of their industry.

To read the full article, head over to the Dayton Daily News.

Robotics Education on the Rise

March 2, 2012

Forward-thinking students who are interested in the promising career of robotics get to pick from a growing number of educational choices. Yaskawa America and its Motoman Robotics division, an RIA member, has teamed up with a community college in Pennsylvania to provide new opportunities for robotics education.

Tom Lepp, HACC’s mechatronics instructor for Franklin County, will lead a new partnership with robotics manufacturer Yaskawa America, Inc. Yaskawa is based in Miamisburg, Ohio. Its Motoman Robotics Division has created a Merit Training Program that the company hopes to pair with colleges and university in every state.

The partnership also allows for workforce training and provides industry certification.

“So many industries are heavily into robotics these days,” Lepp said. “Even the medical industry is — at Chambersburg Hospital they have a GE da Vinci system. The need for technicians, programmers and maintenance folk is increasing daily,” Lepp said. “It’s an excellent skill set to provide for the robotics program.”

We’re proud of our members who partner with academic institutions for an investment that will benefit everyone in the future.

To read the full article by Brian Hall on Public Opinion, click here.

RIA Honors Educator Sponsors

February 17, 2012

The Robotic Industries Association, the industry’s trade group, announced today that it is honoring fourteen member companies for their sponsorship of 23 institutions with an Educator/Researcher membership in RIA. Ten companies (ABB Inc.; Applied Manufacturing Technologies; ATI Industrial Automation; FANUC Robotics America Corporation; KUKA Robotics Corporation; Motoman Robotics division of Yaskawa America, Inc.; PaR Systems, Inc.; SAS Automation, LLC; SCHUNK Inc. and Stäubli Robotics) were recently joined by Dane Systems, LLC.; IPR Robotics, LLC; JR Automation Technologies LLC and KEBA Corporation to complete the listing.

RIA President, Jeff Burnstein, said, “We have reached a new high-water mark for company sponsor participation. We want to acknowledge the outstanding leadership that these RIA member companies have demonstrated.  Not only are they assisting in the development of some of our nation’s finest future automation engineers, technicians and personnel, but they are strengthening the institutions themselves through their participation.”

Catherine Morris, Senior Account Manager at ATI Industrial Automation, Apex, North Carolina and Chair of Robotic Industries Association, whose company is one of the educator sponsors agreed, “Participating companies have the opportunity to make inroads into the classrooms of the institutions they sponsor through presentations made directly to students and joint research projects, while the schools enjoy a pipeline to industry experts and support.”

Morris pointed to other benefits, “The sponsoring companies also obtain the advantage of having connections for job recruiting and for building brand awareness with the students.  It’s really a wonderful ‘win-win’ relationship for both sponsoring RIA member companies and for the educational institutions being sponsored.”

Burstein indicated, “The current sponsors are recognized on the association’s Robotics Online website through a special page designated for schools and their corporate sponsors.  And now, throughout the website’s pages, we are highlighting each company sponsor with a new RIA Educator Member Sponsor button ad. As additional member companies become sponsors, they will be inserted into the ad as well.

A complete list of all the sponsored institutions, benefits of membership sponsorship to both company and institution and additional details can be found on the association’s “Schools & Corporate Sponsors” website page on Robotics Online.

About RIA

Founded in 1974, RIA’s 265 member organizations include leading robot manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, community colleges & universities, research groups, and consulting firms.  RIA is best-known for developing the ANSI/RIA National Robot Safety Standard, collecting quarterly statistics on the North American robotics market, sponsoring the biennial Automate show and conference, hosting the annual Robotics Industry Forum, and producing Robotics Online, the world’s leading resource for robotics information.

RIA is part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), formerly known as the Automation Technologies Council.  Other associations under the A3 umbrella are AIA, an association for vision & imaging companies, and the Motion Control Association (MCA).

For more information on RIA, visit Robotics Online or contact RIA Headquarters at 734/994-6088.

Students Take Environmentalist Robot to White House Science Fair

February 9, 2012

It’s not your average science fair — 40 teams, invitation-only by the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy, and hosted by the White House. But that’s where Carlie Schulter and Matt Tompkins of Kell High School, Georgia, debuted their high school team’s environmentally-friendly robot, ORCA.

Students Exhibit Robot at White House by Lindsay Field

The two students were selected to display their team’s project, a remotely operated oil removal watercraft designed and built with funds from a $10,000 grant the school received in 2010.

Barker said the team, which consists of about 20 Kell students, has been working on the project for the last year.

Schulter, who joined the team while still an eighth-grader at Palmer Middle, said the robot is an amphibious, remotely operated vehicle that collects oil in shallow waters and estuaries. Most of the technologies for cleaning up oil in the open ocean are too big to be used in those hard-to-reach places, but their team’s robot is smaller, she said.

It’s an exciting moment in our industry when young students are not only interested in robotics but also in how to find socially conscientious applications that will help us take care of the resources we have.

Read the full article at The Marietta Daily Journal.