The Alabama Robotics Technology Park (RTP) is being opened in Tanner in Alabama and would hopefully bring in a lot of high-tech jobs to the state.
The project, which is to be carried out in three phases, would offer an exhaustive training on robotics covering all aspects including that of safety. This park is a new partnership between public and private companies for the training of technicians in the field of robotic machinery. Ed Castile, the Executive Director of AIDT, the workforce training agency in Alabama, has stated that this was visualized by Bob Riley, the Governor of Alabama, and was a collaborative effort between the Calhoun Community College, the State of Alabama and AIDT. The RTP’s aim was to provide a highly skilled and well trained technical workforce for both the present day and future automation and robotic technologies along with promoting the expansion and growth of companies utilizing new robotics technologies.
The Phase I of the project was completed in September of 2010 and includes the Robotic Maintenance Training Center encompassing 52,000 sq ft, which would house the training program for technicians who work on robotic machinery. The project’s Phase II would be the 30,000 sq ft Advanced Technology Research and Development Center containing a test facility for the companies working in the robotics manufacturing industry. This facility is also to be used by the US Army Missile Command and NASA for research and development activities along with testing of innovative robots, which would be used in military projects and in space exploration activities and this would be open by the spring.
The third phase would be the Integration and the Entrepreneurial Center, a joint consolidation of technology between the industry and higher education. This would permit companies to construct and create robots for new industries. New facilities would be able to install manufacturing lines, which would integrate equipment and software; train production and maintenance staff and test systems.
RTP is being partnered by Omron Scientific Technologies, which is the primary robotics safety provider for the project. Omron delivered the entire safety solution for three robotic weld cells, a robotic assembly line including seven robots, an automatic guided vehicle and a conveyor system along with eight single robot work cells for Phase I of the project. According to Chris Soranno, Omron STI’s Safety Compliance Manager, every robot in the facility had to undergo a conceptual machine safeguarding test performed by Omron STI and totally complies with all the latest industry consensus safety standards such as ANSI B20.1, ANSI B11.20, ANSI B11.19, NFPA 79, and ANSI/RIA R15.06. All the robot systems are guarded with the help of highly sophisticated barrier guard systems.