It was a distinct pleasure to spend some time with Dr. Byron Clayton, CEO of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute. The institute, located in Pittsburg Pennsylvania, is the result of a public/private partnership that was formed by the federal government. With a five year, $80 million grant, along with funds from academia and industry, they are tasked with a wonderful challenge: To advance robotics and robotics education.
Yes: that caught our attention, too!
It's no secret that certain manufacturing jobs are disappearing with an older workforce as machining is quickly becoming a lost art in this country. We've encountered this first hand through our close relationship with the Foundation for Community Driven Innovation (FCDI) here in Florida, as they forge new relationships in the community to help create safe spaces for the FIRST students to create and build, as well as try to find a platform for internships and apprenticeships. Also, it is currently too expensive for small and midsize manufacturers to compete effectively and therefore maintain a stable and growing workplace. But it is extremely important that we not lose this integral cog in the manufacturing wheel.
Through technology, ARM aims to lower costs. The result enables them to make robots safer and more versatile so they can effectively work with and around people. To accomplish this, they are conducting project calls, or Requests for Proposals (RFPs), designed to advance technology and lower the barriers to adoption. This, in turn, will give manufacturers the ability to buy, adopt and use robotics throughout the manufacturing process. When this happens, they not only become more productive locally but can also begin to compete with overseas companies.
The exciting result is that they will be creating new pathways. As these companies better position themselves through technology, they will increase their workload and thus create more jobs. During the process, they are working with high school and college students to come up with innovative solutions that will eventually create these pathways and fill the newly created jobs.
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