Politicians talk a lot about bringing high-tech jobs to their states. In Tanner, Alabama, that talk has turned into reality with the opening of the Alabama Robotics Technology Park (RTP). This three-phase project will provide in-depth training on all aspects of robotics, including safety.
The Alabama Robotics Technology Park is a new public-private partnership where technicians are trained to work on robotic machinery.
“The vision of Alabama Governor Bob Riley, the RTP is a collaborative effort between the state of Alabama, Calhoun Community College, AIDT, which is Alabama’s workforce training agency, and robotics industry leaders across the nation,” said Ed Castile, AIDT executive director. “The mission of the RTP is to provide a technically trained, highly-skilled, and educated workforce for current and future automation and robotics technologies, to assist public and private entities in developing new robotics systems and technologies, and to promote the growth and expansion of companies through new robotics technologies.”
Completed in September 2010, Phase I of the project is the 52,000 sq-ft Robotic Maintenance Training Center, which houses the industry training program where technicians are trained to work on robotic machinery.
Phase II of the project will be the 30,000 sq-ft Advanced Technology Research and Development Center, which will feature a test facility for companies currently in the robotics manufacturing industry. The facility will be used by NASA and the U.S. Army Missile Command for the purpose of research, development and testing of leading edge robotics used for military projects and space exploration. Phase II is scheduled to open this spring.
Phase III will be the Integration and Entrepreneurial Center—a collaborative consolidation of technology involving higher education and industry. This facility will allow companies to build and adapt robots for new industries. Start-up plants will be able to set up manufacturing lines to integrate software and equipment, test systems and train maintenance and production staff.
Omron Scientific Technologies, Inc. has partnered with RTP, and is serving as the primary robotics safety provider for the project. For Phase I of the project, Omron delivered the complete safety solution for three robotic weld cells, eight single-robot work cells, and a robotic assembly line that includes seven robots, a conveyor system, and an automatic guided vehicle.
“Each robot in the facility underwent a conceptual machine safeguarding assessment performed by Omron STI, and is compliant with all of the latest industry consensus safety standards, including ANSI/RIA R15.06, NFPA 79, ANSI B11.19, ANSI B11.20, and ANSI B20.1, among others,” said Chris Soranno, safety compliance manager, Omron STI.
The three robotic weld cells are guarded with two safety mats, one MS4800 safety light curtain, one TL4019 safety interlock switch with rear release functionality and a slide bolt, one A4EG enabling switch device, one emergency stop pushbutton, and a complete perimeter barrier guard system.
The eight single-robot work cells are guarded with two OS3101 laser light safety scanners, one MS4800 safety light curtain, one TL4019 safety interlock switch with rear release functionality and a slide bolt, one A4EG enabling switch device, one emergency stop pushbutton, and a complete perimeter barrier guard system.
Omron Scientific Technologies, Inc.
Filed Under: Factory automation, Mechatronics