ARM funds 11 new robotics projects

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute gets ARM funding

ARM has chosen new robotics education programs, including one at RPI. Source: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

PITTSBURGH — Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing this week announced the selection of 11 new education and workforce development projects awarded to members of its national consortium. Pending final negotiations, the public-private partnership plans to provide more than $2.2 million in funding, for a total investment of approximately $7.8 million across the 11 projects.

Last fall, the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute called for training initiatives to serve transitioning military and underrepresented populations. The call also provided two open topic areas – one for work and learn, and the other for talent attraction. Many of these projects are being developed and tested regionally, said the organization. Once proven, they will be available for implementation by ARM’s members nationwide.

With this latest selection, 43% of ARM’s 193 member organizations are now actively involved with at least one funded project. Once the negotiations are finalized for these 11 projects, ARM said, it will have supported a total of 40 projects since its formation in January 2017.

By calling for and funding such projects, the ARM Institute seeks to help U.S. manufacturing overcome technology and workforce challenges. Selected projects kick off at the regional level with the possibility of scaling to a national scale.

Dr. Byron Clayton, CEO of ARM

Dr. Byron Clayton, CEO of ARM

“Our team is very excited about the potential of these projects to catalyze growth in U.S. manufacturing,” stated Dr. Byron Clayton, CEO of ARM. “The consistent message we hear from manufacturers is that our nation’s workforce isn’t adequately skilled to sustain significant economic growth. We believe our selected projects, combined with previously awarded projects, help to address this issue.”

ARM described the following new projects:

Washington State Robotics Workforce Readiness Program

Principal investigator: Impact Washington

This project plans to use current manufacturing and military partnerships and develop the Center for Advanced Manufacturing Puget Sound (CAMPS)-sponsored Military to Manufacturing (M2M) Career Pathways Program. New aspects of the program will align with ARM’s Work and Learn educational programs for transitioning military personnel, veterans, and spouses to engage individuals in online, classroom, and internship training as a pathway to high-value careers in manufacturing.

Industry 4.0 Academy

Principal investigator: Dallas County Community College District, Texas

While military personnel are on a base still serving, permission can be granted to train for up to six months for civilian occupations. The Industry 4.0 Academy will be a virtual training system using online training tools, which will enable training to occur at any base in the U.S. with a regular computer and Internet access.

Veterans Serving Veterans: ARM Training in Construction

Principal investigator: Texas A&M University

This project will create curriculum and program materials for robotic systems training that will result in two robotic systems certificates for veterans focused in construction, an industry ripe for automation. The first certificate will be focused on design/manufacture, and the second one will focus on deployment, utilization, and repair skills with 3Space Makers veteran workforce.

Automation Manufacturing – Technicians for the Future

Principal investigator: Wichita State University (WSU), Kansas

WSU Tech is receiving ARM funding

WSU will lead this project focused on the creation of short-term, for-credit, modularized certificates. The resulting certificates will be stackable into an associate (AAS) degree, conferred through WSU Tech, and transferrable into bachelor’s degree programs through WSU. This project will blend curriculum across three degreed programs – Robotics Technology, Maintenance and Reliability, and Industrial Automation Machine Maintenance – to offer local employers with options to upskill their employees.

Earn-and-Learn Model for the Innovation Economy

Principal investigator: Lorain County Community College, Ohio

This project will improve robotic training for Ohio residents by establishing a satellite location for ARM, using Lorain County Community College’s state-of-the-art lab dedicated to advanced manufacturing. Engaging industry leaders to develop a viable curriculum, these programs will attract workers from other industries into manufacturing, provide training to teachers at secondary and higher education, and scale these vetted programs throughout the state, with the potential to replicate in other regions.

Apprentice & Career Exploration (ACE)

Principal investigator: Oberg Industries, Pennsylvania

This project builds upon a successful midsized manufacturer’s workforce program to train high school students. The curriculum increases student knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and math courses by relating theory to practical applications. Teachers from involved high schools will have additional training and exposure to current and future manufacturing processes. The ARM project expands upon the existing program by placing an emphasis on robotic applications in manufacturing.

Flexible Spec Manufacturing Competition (FSMC)

Principal investigator: Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, Texas

REC Foundation gets ARM funding

Many prestigious robotics competitions are already in existence, but few focus on robotic applications in manufacturing. This new national manufacturing competition will attract high school and college students into robotics manufacturing careers while providing curriculum, training, and industry-recognized certification. Utilizing existing and attainable equipment, the focus of this competition will directly expose and train students in competencies needed on the production floor.

FunFab Pre-Apprentice Training and Certification

Principal investigator: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York

The proven and effective Fundamentals of Fabrication (FunFab) program pilot is currently operating in four Bronx, N.Y.-area schools. The ARM-funded portion of this project expands on Year 2 of the program to include eight new schools. This project also includes teacher and student teacher assistant training, teacher facilitation of the FunFab curriculum, ARM certification exams following teacher facilitation, and certified candidate introduction to on-the-job-training.

CoBots for Kids

Principal investigator: Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts

This project will develop summer and after-school programs for middle and high school students in Massachusetts. The programs will give students the opportunity to use commercial equipment to manufacture parts that they will be able to assemble into real systems. The curriculum will give the students attending the programs skills that are valuable in the current job market, as well as skills to quickly understand new technologies.

The Unconventional Robot Challenge Camp Project

Principal investigator: Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), Pennsylvania

The Unconventional Robot Challenge Camp Project, a CCAC program, will increase outreach and develop a summer camp with a competition to promote targeted robotics exposure to middle and high school students. All students that participate in the Robotics Summer Camp will receive an ELEGOO UNO Smart Robot Kit to get hands-on experience in programming, electronics assembling, and robotics knowledge. The Unconventional Robot Challenge Camp will be offered for two weeks each, one session for middle school students and another session for high school students. Each of the two camps will culminate with an Unconventional Robot Challenge Competition.

AmSkills Apprenticeship Recruitment Initiative

Principal investigator: AmSkills Apprenticeship Foundation, Florida

This project increases educational and recruitment efforts within local schools, neighborhoods, and the community through use of the Florida-based AmSkills Mobile Innovation Station and AmSkills Neighborhood Training Center. The intention is to help change public perceptions of the manufacturing industry through engaging interactive hands-on workshops, using a mobile advanced manufacturing lab. This concept will bring real hands-on opportunities to residents through partnerships with local parks, library, and recreation departments.

About ARM

Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing, a Manufacturing USA institute, accelerates the advancement of transformative robotic technologies and education to grow U.S. global manufacturing competitiveness. Founded in January 2017 by Carnegie Mellon University, ARM operates as a separate non-profit member collaborative.