Robotics rocked International Manufacturing Trade Show

ROCHELLE — Rochelle Township High School students considering careers in manufacturing and manufacturing technology attended last week’s 32nd International Manufacturing Technology show at McCormick Place in Chicago. 

With more than 2,400 exhibiting companies representing 117 nations around the world, the show attracted 120,000 visitors. Most, like the RTHS crew, were kids on the threshold of the workforce there to see what kinds of careers await.

The main level was created to inspire. Billed as the Smartforce Student Summit, it provided intriguing glimpses into the exciting new high-tech careers in manufacturing. These new technologies were introduced via hands on challenges and learning labs the kids couldn’t get enough of.

Partnering with leading education institutions like Purdue Polytechnic, a division of its School of Engineering Technology, advanced technology companies such like ABB Robotics, Carl Zeiss, Fanuc America, Festo-Didactic, Haas Automation, Heidenhain, Mastercam, Mitutoyo, and Siemens, provided challenges for students and learning labs for teachers.  

Students focused on:  IIOT — Industrial Internet of Things, five-axis machining, collaborative robotics, additive manufacturing, generative design, metrology, MTConnect®, a communication standard for advanced manufacturing technology.

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They had an opportunity to learn teamwork and workflow through the entire manufacturing process: design, 3D printing/rapid proto-typing/additive manufacturing, machine and tool monitoring, automation, robotics, measurement, data acquisition and analytics, and the Cloud.

Most of the RTHS visitors took the 3D-printed Air-Rocket Challenge exploring the physics of rocket flight (launch pressure, launch angle, nose weight and tail fin configuration) by making a 3D-printed rockets then testing them in a special air-power, flight-test silo.

FANUC America, recognizable by its neon yellow equipment is the global leader in manufacturing automation. Fanuc’s innovative Computer Numeric Control, Robot and ROBOMACHINE product lines are world renowned as efficient, reliable and - most important in manufacturing - profitable.
After hearing FANUC presentation and admission that, “Our generation didn’t do the best job of preparing the next wave to replace us, so we’re here now to tell you we need you,” David Chavez was ready to get to work. 

Paul Aiello, director of Fanuc’s CERT Sales and Operations was encouraging. 

“Check us out,” he said. “We employ kids as early as age 18 and we help our young employees with the cost of certifications and college courses while they work for us.”

Aiello said because of the ever-changing innovations in technology, those interested in the field can be very rewarding if, “you are committed to being lifelong learners.”


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