Intelligrated takes an active educational role in National Robotics Week
Automated materials handling services provider Intelligrated said that it has launched a series of educational events at its St. Louis-based facility in conjunction with National Robotics Week.
Company officials said that these educational events center on building interest in robotics engineering for local and international students.
National Robotics Week is organized by an Advisory Council, founded by iRobot Corp. and The Technology Collaborative, a Pittsburgh-based non-profit economic development organization, according to the event’s Web site. The site added that the objective of National Robotics Week is to create a “national road-map” for robotics technology, which was initially unveiled at a May 2009 briefing by academic and industry leaders to the Congressional Caucus on Robotics. And on March 9, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed resolution H.Res. 1055, which officially designated the second full week in April as National Robotics Week.
On Friday, April 13, Intelligrated hosted roughly 30 engineering students from Washington University in St. Louis, which was comprised of a tour of the company’s manufacturing operation and its Alvey Robotics Lab, a 5,050 square-foot research and development facility, which Intelligrated said focuses on concepting and applying new robotic innovations.
In an interview with MMH, Earl Wohlrab, product manager, palletizing and robotics systems, Intelligrated, said that this visit had two goals in mind.
“One was for the school’s faculty to have the students see just exactly what the industrial environment looked like for the integration of robots, and we wanted to do that as well so they can see what we do,” he said. “We also wanted them to see and learn how robots play a role in the manufacturing of customer goods and how they work in distribution. We also did a certain level of recruitment, too, and spoke about job opportunities—not just with Intelligrated but also within the industry in general.”
While this year’s National Robotics Week saw Intelligrated hosting college engineering students, Wohlrab said that in the past the company has hosted elementary school students in an effort to make them aware of what is out there robotically as it relates to manufacturing and the industrial use of robots.
“Too often, people think of robotics based on what they see on television or at the movies,” he noted. “We want to give students an idea of what to understand they are getting into if they enter the robotics field and know they are not walking into a scene from I, Robot.”
Getting students familiar with robotics and working on robots and understanding how robotics works and how robots are programmed are major components of National Robotics Week, explained Wohlrab, noting it puts more tools in their toolboxes.