Bright Outlook for Alabama Robotics Technology Park
A training facility for some of the 21st Century economy's workers, the park will include robotics safety training using equipment provided by Omron Scientific Technologies, Inc.
Phase I of the Alabama Robotics Technology Park in Tanner, Ala., has been completed, and now Phase II -- a 30,000-square-foot Advanced Technology Research and Development Center featuring a test facility for robotics manufacturers, also to be used by NASA and the U.S. Army Missile Command for R&D and testing -- is under way with an opening set for early this year.
Phase I, finished last September, is the 52,000-square-foot Robotic Maintenance Training Center, which houses the industry training program where technicians are trained to work on robotic machinery. Phase III will be the Integration and Entrepreneurial Center.
Omron Scientific Technologies, Inc. provided the safety equipment for the park's robotic weld cells, work cells, and an 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 for Omron STI. Light curtains, scanners, safety interlock switches, an emergency stop button, and a barrier guard protection system are included.
"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's 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."