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Industry 4.0 is Driving Growth in Robotics – Education 4.0 Needs to Keep Pace

The world robotics market continues to boom and while the old adage that robots will replace humans has long since been debunked, the truth is that robotics changes the face of manufacturing and so schools teaching manufacturing at all levels need to adapt.

Mechatronics programs, industrial maintenance programs, manufacturing programs and many other more specialized education paths that focus on preparing students for work in industry need to turn out more robotics savvy technicians, specialists and integrators.

While the robotics market in China was down 1% in 2018, the US market grew to a new peak with 22% growth. There is still huge potential for growth as the USA is still only number eight in the robotic use worldwide (density of 217 robots per 10,000 employees) . Robotics is also expanding into more areas – for the first time, shipments to non-automotive industry grew faster than automotive – 41% growth .

The concept of the smart factory, or Industry 4.0, is a major driver of this change in the US market. Smart manufacturing enables efficient, cost effective manufacturing and on-demand supply that can compete with low income countries that have captured much of the manufacturing in the last few decades. US manufacturing is growing, and jobs are returning, however, these are different jobs.

ARM (Advanced Manufacturing in Robotics) is one industry groups that has recently created a blueprint of skills or competencies companies are looking for in employees in this new manufacturing realm. From the level of technician in support, installation and maintenance roles, through the level of specialist in operation and programming roles, to the level of integrator in the design and optimization of manufacturing systems, the emphasis is on multi-disciplinary knowledge, communications and integration. Training needs to focus not only on individual skills and competencies, but also on the breadth of knowledge, the employability skills needed in a modern environment, and the integration or automation of multi-functional environments.

This blueprint is the framework for industry certifications. Credentials employers can validate when evaluating potential candidates.

Intelitek has developed a new Industry 4.0 Certification that integrates this concept and offers schools at the secondary and post-secondary level options to take their traditional programs to the next level. The comprehensive iCert4.0 is flexible and can be easily integrated into existing programs (Read more here). The industry support for this initiative ensures colleges can build their capabilities with the support of local companies.

Industry 4.0 ARM

Industry 4.0 is not a new technology like earlier industrial revolutions, Industry 4.0 is about using the most modern versions of technologies and integrating them to work better together. Networking, communications, IIoT, autonomous and collaborative robots, and big data are the technology glue that create a more efficient manufacturing environment and CTE/Manufacturing programs need to ensure they are preparing their students to fit in to this new world.


Intelitek and Yaskawa Partner to deliver Robotics to the Education Market and Industry 4.0 Certifications

The new partnership will support and advance a best-in-class industry 4.0 workforce through advanced robotic training and technology solutions for the education market

DERRY, N.H. – (Dec. 2, 2019) – Through a new partnership with Yaskawa America Inc., Motoman Robotics Division (Yaskawa), Intelitek is now the official and exclusive distribution channel for Yaskawa’s robotic workforce training solutions for the STEM education market. Through this strategic partnership, Intelitek and Yaskawa will promote and grow the use of industrial robotics for career and technology education in secondary and postsecondary institutions.

“Intelitek and Yaskawa will collaborate not only on delivering robotic equipment to the education market, but also to introduce training, curriculum, train-the-trainer programs and certifications for students in engineering and manufacturing programs across the country,” said Ido Yerushalmi, CEO of Intelitek.

Both companies will exhibit together at ACTE CareerTech Vision 2019 in Anaheim on December 5 and 6 where they will emphasize the partnership and the strong dealer network they have across the United States and Canada.

Intelitek, a leader in CTE education worldwide, was a pioneer in industrial robotic training and education. For over 25 years, Intelitek has produced and delivered educational robots and simulation software that is used together with their curriculum in classrooms across the globe. For some years, Intelitek has partnered with Yaskawa, using Yaskawa industrial robots to complement their education robot solutions.

This partnership allows Intelitek to offer several Yaskawa educational solutions, including select Motoman® robots for educational training workcells, the EduCart robotic training platform, MotoSim Touch and MotoSim EG-VRC for Education. MotoSim Touch is a PC-based offline programming environment that allows students to toggle between a virtual pendant and a physical robot teach pendant. MotoSim EG-VRC allows students to learn programming and modeling of industrial robots in a safe, simulated 3D environment.

About Intelitek

Intelitek has been transforming education and bringing robotics into classrooms across the globe through comprehensive technology learning solutions for more than 30 years. The Company’s innovative tools and technologies empower instructors and inspire students to improve the world around them. Intelitek’s sustainable support and professional development ensure the continued success of educational programs. By helping deliver the competencies needed for in-demand careers, Intelitek is producing results for students, teachers, nations, and economies. For more information go to: www.intelitek.com.

About Yaskawa

Founded in 1989, the Motoman Robotics Division of Yaskawa America, Inc. is a leading robotics company in the Americas. With over 450,000 Motoman® robots installed globally, Yaskawa provides automation products and solutions for virtually every industry and robotic application; including arc welding, assembly, coating, dispensing, material handling, material cutting, material removal, packaging, palletizing and spot welding. For more information please visit our website at www.motoman.com or call 937.847.6200.

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Industry 4.0 Intelitek Yaskawa

Micro Credentialing for a Stronger Workforce

From the Yaskawa Blog
The shocking truth for many business leaders today is that for robotic automation to reach its full potential it requires a skilled, human component. While a host of convergent technologies and more capable yet affordable robots are now efficiently accomplishing dull, dirty and dangerous tasks with greater ease, efficiency and safety, harnessing the perceived productivity gains of the future will only come to fruition if people have the necessary skill sets to work alongside robots and advanced machinery.
 
Thanks to Industry 4.0 and the rapid pace of technological change, job responsibilities are evolving, and the primary capabilities needed to fulfill industrial tasks are shifting as a result. Moreover, as advancements in automation and digitization permeate the industrial landscape, there will continue to be a dichotomy between existing worker skill sets and the knowledge needed to operate robotic systems and other advanced technologies. So much so, that 62 percent of executives from diverse industries confirm that retraining employees to work with robots is a top priority over the next three years. As a result, many businesses are budgeting for upskilling their current employees, while creating corporate roadmaps to prepare today’s students for the workforce of the future.
 
Upskilling and Micro Credentialing
The majority of manufacturers understand that insufficient training – where robotic integration is concerned – can paralyze operations, hindering productivity. To push forward into Manufacturing 5.0, where the human touch and robotic technology work in harmony to function at peak performance, there must be a dedicated effort on multiple fronts to enhance current career pathways and to provide adequate industrial education that enables the next-generation workforce.
 
Despite a greater focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and workforce development over the last few years, a greater adoption for the “we need to be ready now” mentality still needs happen. Instead of manufacturers having to play “catch-up” once a robot is installed on the factory floor, a concentrated effort to create a talent pipeline more in-line with unique production initiatives must be made. This will take dedicated involvement from industry leaders  to define and promote the skills required for future success, and it will also require a strong commitment from educational institutions to create educational roadmaps for students and provide the necessary training tools to learn the relevant skills.
 
While high-level certification training methods, like hands-on robot classes at Yaskawa Academy, are still very much needed to upskill workers for robotic integration and operation, a growing focus is being placed on the concept of micro credentialing. A deviation from traditional robot training, this “plug and play” approach to education combines Industry 4.0 technologies and processes with usable soft skills, breaking normal skill sets into smaller more usable pieces. Often less time-consuming, this form of blended learning offers an eclectic mix of hands-on, online and classroom instruction, where upon completion, students earn “digital badges” for each subset of knowledge learned.  

Micro-credentials-(1).png
Image: Education Week
 
A New Manufacturing Ecosystem
In essence, this combination of technology and training is creating a new manufacturing ecosystem, where the best possible educational experience for students can take place. Moreover, leading automation companies are changing how manufacturing needs are being met, creating strategic partnerships and encouraging other businesses to follow suit.
 
For example, instead of a reactive approach to training, Yaskawa Motoman experts are collaborating with other leading automation and technology companies (i.e., Cognex, Festo, Miller®, etc.) to create new educational distribution models, specific skill-based training blueprints and more. These valuable resources aid schools and prompt educational leaders to answer tough questions like, “Do you have all of the right tools and technology on site?” and “Do you have a roadmap on how to blend skills to train students?”
 
These collaborative partnerships not only help schools create learning roadmaps, but also, they foster an atmosphere for innovation, supporting new product growth for workforce-based Industry 4.0 systems. Yaskawa’s recent partnership and Industry 4.0 collaboration with Intelitek® – a world-leading STEM and education manufacturing developer, producer and supplier of workforce training solutions – has expanded our combined educational robotics products to over 19 configurations featuring Yaskawa robots for material handling welding and collaborative applications. Hundreds of curriculum models and training certifications have also come to fruition, bolstering micro credentialing efforts.
 
Driving Change Across the Board
While across the board change that permeates the entire manufacturing sector will be hard, there is a general acceptance that it is vital to reach future industry goals and projected productivity gains. A key catalyst for driving this change is for manufacturers to actively collaborate with the education community and workforce development partners at the local and state level, ensuring that there is a cohesive effort to align education and industry. Ultimately, as this movement takes root, emergent customer demands will be met head-on with greater ease and efficiency.
 
Events like the upcoming ACTE CareerTech Vision Expo in Anaheim, California (December 4-6, 2019) continue to fuel optimism for the future of the robotics industry and workforce development. Stop by booth #807 to learn more about Yaskawa’s partnership with Intelitek and the educational tools and resources available to best prepare students for the manufacturing careers of the future.Bob Graff is a Senior Sales Manager, Education at Yaskawa America Inc. – Motoman Robotics Division


5 Must Haves when Implementing an Industry 4.0 Training Program

There are quite a few considerations to take into account when adopting and implementing an Industry 4.0 training program. Over the past several months, Intelitek has been working together with state and federal organizations, such as ARM (Advanced Robotics in Manufacturing) and the OMA (Ohio Manufacturers Association), that are bringing together industrial companies, colleges, workforce development boards and others to agree on the needs of Industry 4.0 training.

Below are five points that were widely viewed as of the highest importance.

Before we jump in, a preliminary comment: Many vendors use ‘Industry 4.0’ as a marketing gimmick. Adding the words ‘industry 4.0’ to the name of a product or curriculum, does not make it relevant per se. We recommend you make sure that the program you adopt is more than a buzzword and is backed by a widely recognized body such as ARM or OMA.

Here are the must haves:

  1. Industry Grade: if you are going to learn and be certified, you might as well do it on the real thing. This does not mean you cannot use educational tools and simulations when you start learning. However, as you reach the level when you are looking to become proficient and get certified, you need to have experience on the equipment you will see in industry. At Intelitek, in the robotics field, we offer a fundamentals level with the ER4U (a low-cost educational robot). We then advance to a Yaskawa simulation and curriculum package. Finally, we work with the Yaskawa certification cart, where students will need to demonstrate they can operate and program an actual industrial robot from Yaskawa.
  2. Sustainability: for a program to be successful in the medium and long term it must be sustainable. Many programs are started by a teacher that comes from industry and has a great sense of how to teach and what needs to be taught. What happens when that teacher retires or goes back to industry? There are two main elements that support the sustainability of a long-term program. The first is a curriculum. Every teacher needs to have a curriculum that covers the entire program. Some will not use it at all, others will rely on it heavily and some will have the students work through it on their own. In all these cases, the curriculum is there as a backbone, to sustain the program. The second element is to have a train the trainer program. Your curriculum and certification vendor should be able to help sustain the program so if you have a new teacher and need to get them trained to certify students – you are able to simply make a call and schedule a date. Anything else – means you are in trouble.
  3. Flexibility: we are in a challenging era. New technologies are being adopted at a much faster pace. Baby boomers are retiring and Industry needs employees today. Incumbent employees need to retrain on newer technologies in order to stay relevant or advance. This means that your program needs to address all tiers of experience and different time frames that students have to study. Allowing a student to gain certain credits on fundamental skills, go to work and continue their studies as part of an apprenticeship program – will allow the student to continue progressing and allow your program to remain relevant.
  4. Interoperability: Industry 4.0 is based on the interoperability of different systems. If your program does not address problem solving that combines different disciplines such as electrical, mechatronics, robotics, vision, automation, networking and cloud computing – you are not teaching Industry 4.0 comprehensively. The big jump in Industry 4.0 is in the understanding that every component of the manufacturing line is now connected. We can have these components communicate with each other and generate data that will enable us to look at making the production more efficient and competitive. So multi-discipline training, interoperability and integration of technology is key!
  5. Hands On: No training program can prepare a student for a job in industry unless the students experience significant hands on activity. If a student is certified without any lab activity – how will that help the employer. With integration becoming a more important requirement, the hands-on activities need to be cross-discipline. Students need to be able to deal with Industry 4.0 technologies, but also be trained on existing technologies and how they interact.

At Intelitek, we have developed a Smart Factory and Industry 4.0 trainer that requires students to work through the different disciplines and then integrate electrical, mechanical, pneumatics, robots, plc automation, machine vision, IP networking, and more. This is a factory that uses real industrial equipment that the students build from scratch, integrate, program, troubleshoot and maintain. A powerful learning experience that fully trains them on industry 4.0.

Resources:

JobMaster Industry 4.0 Manufacturing Cell

JobMaster FMS – Flexible Manufacturing System

Contact us for more information on our Industry 4.0 programs.

 

 

 


Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 in Ohio. An Interview with Ritch Ramey of RAMTEC

Interview with RAMTEC Ohio Coordinator, Ritch Ramey, about manufacturing in Ohio, the skills gap, RAMTEC and Industry 4.0
We are excited to have Ritch Ramey as a guest on our Industry 4.0 Blog. Ritch is the state coordinator for RAMTEC Ohio. He is responsible for the advancement of the 22 statewide RAMTEC Ohio Robotics, Machining and Automation centers. Ritch has been instructing students in the CTE space for over 30 years.

How important is manufacturing for Ohio?
According to the National Manufacturer’s association manufacturers in Ohio account for 16.63% of the total output in the state, employing 12.56% of the workforce. Total output from manufacturing was $107.95 billion in 2017. In addition, there were an average of 699.06 thousand manufacturing employees in Ohio in 2018, with an average annual compensation of $74,679.97 in 2017.
The Ohio leadership, led by Lieutenant Governor Husted, is placing significant emphasis on maintaining Ohio’s position as a front runner in manufacturing across the US, as well as in adoption and implementation of new technologies in manufacturing and investment in workforce development.

How acute is the skills gap?
Different reports that I have read show that in 2018 approximately 700,000 jobs openings in manufacturing across the US were not filled due to lack of skilled applicants. Speaking with employers in Ohio, talent acquisition is one of their biggest challenges. They are faced with a competitive labor market, baby boomers that are retiring and a younger generation that has a perception issue about jobs in manufacturing. We must help solve the skills gap to enable our industries to grow.

How does the RAMTEC model address training and the skills gap?
RAMTEC was formed as a one-stop-shop to enable secondary, post-secondary and incumbent employees to get trained and certified on the most up to date technologies used in industry. Partnering with high schools, colleges and industry, the RAMTEC centers get a constant flow of trainees. As the RAMTEC training aligns with industry needs, the students that graduate our programs are in high demand.
RAMTEC has 22 centers across the state and uses industry grade equipment for its training. We work with industry partners such as Yaskawa, Parker, Lincoln, Mitsubishi, Universal, Miller, Haas, Mazak, Fanuc and Allen Bradley. Robotics and automation have become a key area in which industry lacked skilled employees. Together with our industry partners we developed programs that lead to certification which is recognized at the state level as credit for graduation.

How does Industry 4.0 affect the skills gap?
Industry 4.0 poses new challenges in training. We have been working with different organizations such as ARM (Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing) and the Ohio Manufacturers Association to map the skills for Industry 4.0. and define roles in the organization. As manufacturers will have to deal with many different systems such as electrical, mechanical, robots, vision, IIOT sensors, networks and data – the key requirement becomes interoperability and problem solving.
Industry is adjusting quickly to Industry 4.0 in order to stay competitive, and we will need to provide the training solutions that will suit both the fast movers, as well as organizations that will slowly shift to Industry 4.0.

Seeing how robotics and automation is becoming so dominant in industry, how does that change education, if at all?
My role is to promote, support and advocate for the advancement of K to Gray robotics, automation, and Industry 4.0 career pathways for all the citizens of Ohio. There is more that can be done in our education system to introduce technology to students at a younger age. Robotics, automation, and computational thinking are all a form of literacy that more of our graduates will need to master in order to become employable. Technology programs such as Vex, First, Cyber Robotics Coding Competition, Best, BattleBots, thenrc.org and Lego are mostly part of after school programs or of a CTE program.
We have recently partnered with companies such as Honda, Yaskawa and First Energy through grants to add after school Vex IQ elementary, competitions and library programs. We are also are working with the REC Foundation, Vex and ARM to develop a stronger Robotics and Automation pathway as well as micro-credentialing for K to 12 students. RAMTEC Ohio in collaboration with ARM, Ohio Manufacturing Association and Ohio TechNet is working on building an Industry 4.0 pathway and micro-credentialing program. Many other states and organizations as well as great educational and industry support companies like Intelitek are helping America better equip and enable students of all ages to become better prepared for the exciting and great paying careers that will be available to them though our world’s transformation into Industry 4.0. We are excited to also be working with major robotic and automation companies to build state of the art training and delivery systems for students, instructors and industry. These new training programs will better engage the trainer and the trainee as well as delivery JIT training.
We look forward to what RAMTEC Ohio and the nation is developing to build a transformative training program.


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