Saturday, July 23, 2005

Robots Provide Jobs and Training in Alabama

Rise of the machines
Donathan Prater / Staff writer

The automotive industry has become a major driving force behind Alabama’s job market.

In fact, a 2003 industry study by the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association found that more than 30,180 Alabamians were employed in the auto-manufacturing field in 2002. That number has since increased to just under 32,000, with even more growth projected.

Turning out workers with the skills to meet the growing demands of Alabama’s auto-manufacturing market is something Central Alabama Community College is literally “getting into gear” about.

The automation courses involve the use of robotic technology and training that area auto manufacturers are looking for, according to Mike Mann, technical division specialist and chair of the Alexander City campus.

Part of that robotic technology Mann is talking about is in the form of a robot called Comau.

Comau is simply the name of the Michigan-based company that designed the robot, but it’s the lessons the robot teaches students that Mann says are most important.

Mann says the purpose of the robot is to teach students how to manipulate robots to perform tasks such as picking up, moving and assembling objects ...

“It’s a very exciting time for the auto industry, but it can be difficult to find employees with the right skills,” Mann said. “The idea behind the robotics courses offered at CACC is to make these young men and women as marketable as quickly as possible.”

Opelika-Auburn News | Rise of the machines


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