What's New in Automation: AI, Digital Twins, Cobots and More!
Mike Cicco, President & CEO of FANUC America
FANUC is the global leader in robotics and CNC controls technology - and we sat down with FANUC America's President & CEO Mike Cicco at IMTS 2022 to dive into the latest trends in automation.
There is so much innovation happening in the industry. From new types of robots that make automation more accessible for small-to-midsize manufacturers, to AI software that makes programming easier and more accurate, to developments in education and training to help the workforce keep up with all this innovation. And FANUC is leading the charge in all of these areas.
Fun fact: This episode was recorded at the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS (one of the largest industrial technology shows in the world). Thousands of students of all ages attended the Summit, got hands-on experiences with cutting-edge technologies from companies like FANUC, and found joy and opportunity in the world of advanced manufacturing. This is our mission at The TechEd Podcast - to bring industry and education together - and thanks to AMT for making it possible.
3 Big Takeaways from this episode:
1. AI and Digital Twins will have a huge impact on automation in the next few years: Like many industrial OEMs, FANUC is turning to software innovation to enhance its world-leading hardware offerings. Right now, R&D is focused on artificial intelligence and digital twins. AI enables companies to take technically challenging tasks - like bin picking miscellaneous objects or assembling parts with multiple moving pieces - and makes it easier to program a robot to do them. Digital twins enable engineers to build new automation lines and processes and fully test them in a digital environment before implementation.
2. Collaborative robots (like the FANUC CRX) are making industrial automation more accessible for small-to-midsize companies: Collaborative robots (cobots) are built to inherently work side-by-side with humans. But the real benefit, as Cicco shares with us, is how the CRX is designed for simple, lead-through programming. The implication for employers is huge: programming robots and machine tools for complex tasks (including high-mix, low-volume) has never been more accessible. Now, small-to-midsize companies can more easily and rapidly adopt and deploy advanced automation into their facilities.
3. Demand for automation has led FANUC to expand its physical space and training programs: Changes to supply chain, manufacturing moving back to the U.S., and the two points above have led to a rise in demand for automation technology. In response, FANUC has expanded its manufacturing capabilities at its American headquarters in Michigan, along with expansions in Mexico. The new physical space will increase their manufacturing capabilities, but will also increase capacity for training individuals in the workforce around these technologies.
Note for educators: FANUC's education programs have led the market for years (1,500 CERT schools and counting), but with demand for robotics and CNC programming skills on the rise, it's a good time for educators to consider how they can prepare their students for these career opportunities.
Employers, to learn more about FANUC America robotics & CNC solutions, visit: https://www.fanucamerica.com/
Educators, to learn more about FANUC's robotics & CNC education and training solutions, visit: https://www.fanucamerica.com/education
You can access our first episode with Mike Cicco here: Episode #6: Why Schools Should Teach Industrial Robotics & Automation
Connect with FANUC America on social media:
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