On November 13-15, the ARM Institute hosted our 7th Annual Member Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA! The ARM Institute Member Meeting is our cornerstone event and convenes representatives from across our 400+ member organizations for 2.5 days of networking, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing. Explore our event in the write-up below.
Interested in helping us lead the way to a future where people and robots work together to respond to our nation’s greatest challenges and to develop and produce the world’s most desired products? Explore membership here or drop us a note at [email protected].
Note that recordings from this year’s event will be made available to ARM Members only before the end of the year in the ARM Member Community.
Prior to our Annual Meeting, we announced that the ARM Institute member ecosystem had grown to more than 400 organizations. Aligned with this ecosystem growth, we welcomed a record number of attendees (over 400) to Pittsburgh for our Annual Meeting. Our Annual Member Meeting is an invaluable tool for catalyzing collaboration across our diverse membership spanning industry, government, and academia. Through this meeting, organizations that would be considered competitors outside of our robotics ecosystem can talk about common problems they face, explore solutions, and find meaningful ways to collaborate. Our Department of Defense and other government attendees have the opportunity to meet non-traditional collaborators and explore robotics and workforce solutions that they may not be aware of outside of our meeting.
Rapid Fire Five Minute Intros
Our rapid-fire Five Minute Intro sessions continued to grow in popularity. Sign-ups for these sessions opened with our event registration in the summer and filled within a week of opening registration. Our team is looking into expanding these in-person sessions during our 2024 meeting. This year, we heard five minute introductions from: DENSO, DEVCOM Armaments Center, Enspra Corporation, GridRaster, ICS, Premier Automation, Production Systems Automation, RealBotics, SharpCloud, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Wirebot, University of Washington, A.W. Beattie Career Center, Universal Robots, Carnegie Mellon University, Community College of Allegheny County, EWI, Rensselear Polytechnic Institute, Siemens, University of Southern California – Los Angeles, WPI, REC Foundation, Pittsburgh Technical College, Horizon Science Academy Columbus, and CoderZ.
Earlier this year, we expanded the Five Minute Intros through a new virtual event series called our New Member Exchange during which Members who recently joined our consortium present five minute introductions. After these introductions, we then open virtual networking rooms to allow speakers to connect directly. The next New Member Exchange will take place in the January/February timeframe. Keep an eye on your email and the ARM Member Community to register for this session in the coming month.
ARM Champion Awards
Every member in our ecosystem is critical to the ARM Institute mission. The ARM Champion Awards recognize our members who have gone above and beyond to advocate for our mission and strengthen U.S. manufacturing. ARM Champions are nominated by their fellow members and the ARM Institute team. The ARM Institute leadership team selects awardees from the nominations. This year, we recognized the following members with ARM Champion awards:
- Corey Adams (Universal Robots)
- Maria Araujo (Johnson & Johnson)
- Clint Chapman (Yaskawa)
- SK Gupta (USC/GrayMatter)
- Mingu Kang (Aris Technology)
- Jeannine Kunz (SME)
- Changliu Liu (CMU)
- Dan Mantz (REC Foundation)
- Tom Mudano (AmSkills)
- Ritch Ramey (A3)
- Curtis Richardson (Spirit AeroSystems)
- Eugen Solowjow (Siemens)
Sponsorships and Member Tables
For the first time, we offered sponsorship opportunities for the Annual Member Meeting. Platinum Members received our conference sponsorship at no cost. Thank you to our Platinum Members: HARTING and Siemens as well as our conference sponsors: AMT (the Association for Manufacturing Technology), Corsha, FANUC, and Yaskawa for supporting this important event and, by doing so, helping to strengthen U.S. manufacturing!
We also brought back our Member Showcase, which originally debuted at our 2019 Member Meeting. Members had the opportunity to purchase a Member Showcase table for enhanced visibility and networking opportunities. Attendees were encouraged to visit each table through our Member Showcase bingo card. Our post-event survey showed that a vast majority of attendees opted to visit the tables and found them to be a valuable tool in meeting other members. Members who hosted a table included: AIVOT, Corsha, FANUC, FLX Solutions, HARTING, ICS, ORBBEC, Phlux, Premier Automation, REC Foundation, RPI, SharpCloud, and Universal Robots.
As always, the ARM Institute welcomed several subject matter experts who presented keynotes at our meeting. This year, we were honored to welcome keynote presentations by:
Dr. Kevin T. Geiss
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Science & Technology Futures
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Science & Technology
During his presentation, Dr. Geiss called the the ARM Institute’s member ecosystem the largest and most active of any Department of Defense Manufacturing Innovation Institute (MII). Dr. Geiss summarized how the Department of Defense works with the Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (part of the Manufacturing USA network) to spur innovation and strengthen U.S manufacturing. He emphasized the importance of pairing technology advancements with workforce solutions to fill the manufacturing workforce gap and create new, valuable career opportunities.
Vice President, Membership & Business Intelligence
A3 – Association for Advancing Automation
The ARM Institute collaborates closely with ARM Member A3; we were thrilled to welcome Alex Shikany to our Member Meeting once again to present an overview on the state of the robotics industry. Alex has given this presentation several times during past meetings, which allows our members to understand how the industry shifts each year and take advantage of emerging trends.
Alex also reminded members about A3’s upcoming Automate Conference taking place May 6-9, 2024 in Chicago, IL. Our team will be there and looks forward to connecting with members!
Dr. Brad R. Conrad,
Education and Workforce Development Manager
Partnerships and Outreach Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Office of Advanced Manufacturing (OAM)
Dr. Brad Conrad presented a keynote discussion during our Education & Workforce Development Track and outlined how the Manufacturing USA Network and NIST work to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. Dr. Conrad also explored Manufacturing USA’s structure, strategic goals, and initiatives that support education and workforce development efforts. The ARM Institute is one of 17 Manufacturing USA Institutes, each centered on a different area of need within manufacturing.
ARM Institute Updates & Plenary Session Highlights
The ARM Institute is primed and ready to catalyze new solutions for U.S. manufacturing and create new opportunities for ARM Institute Members, which was a key highlight in our welcome by Ira Moskowitz, ARM Institute CEO. Ira also outlined how the ARM Institute’s response to its successful Joint Defense Manufacturing Council (JDMC) review last year has created new opportunities. For example, the institute was tasked with expanding its internal robotics engineering team and growing our base of robotics integrator members, both tasks the ARM Institute has successfully addressed much to the benefit of members, the Department of Defense, and the nation.
Prior to our meeting, we released a new Project Call: the Department of Defense (DoD) Organic Industrial Base (OIB) Modernization Challenge Project Call, which seeks both technology and workforce solutions. This Project Call epitomizes the new opportunities the DoD is creating for members of the Manufacturing Innovation Institutes. Note that this Project Call is open only to ARM Members and responses are due on November 28.
Members were also reminded by both Suzy Teele, ARM Institute Chief Strategy Officer, and Jay Douglass, ARM Institute Chief Operating Officer, of the many digital member tools that exist to deepen networking and collaboration outside of our Annual Meeting. For example, our Member Community houses detailed project information (including access to project consortium developed intellectual property (CDIP)), knowledge articles and white papers (including our NEW 70 page Future of Work Report), a member directory, member news, upcoming events, and more. In conjunction with the Annual Meeting, we also introduced the ability for ARM Members to manage and add contacts directly through the Community. We also encouraged members to reach out to our team with ideas for webinars or new methods of collaboration by contacting [email protected].
Our plenary track also featured a panel discussion on key ARM Institute Technology Project Transitions, detailing several projects that have advanced from ARM Institute funding to industry impact and a panel discussion on our Future of Work Report, which details a ten-year outlook on manufacturing workforce trends and key action items needed to prepare the workforce to work alongside robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and other disruptive technologies in manufacturing. This report is currently available only to ARM Members through the ARM Member Community; it will be made available to the general public in the coming months. Join our mailing list to be notified when our report is publicly available.
In addition to our plenary sessions, we hosted two concurrent Technology and Education & Workforce Development Tracks during our Member Meeting to enable attendees to dive deeper into these ARM Institute focus areas:
Technology Track Highlights
Our Technology Track, led by Chuck Brandt (ARM Institute Chief Technology Officer), centered on project briefs and best practices. The track also served as an in-person welcome to Larry Sweet who joined our team as Director, Engineering earlier this year from Amazon Robotics. This track featured briefs from ARM Institute technology project teams, a panel discussion on ARM Institute Solutions for the Sustainment Community, and a session exploring how the ARM Institute leverages workshops to roadmap our strategic direction.
Attendees heard updates about the following ARM Institute projects:
- Refined Automated Production of Inflatable Devices (RAPID)
- Enabling Manufacturing Automation, Supply Chain Diversification and Addressing the Environmental Impact of PPE (MASCEI)Manufacturing
- Human-Robot & Robot-Machine Digital Handshake in Collaborative Virtual Workspace
- AI-based Robotic Metrology for Reducing Large Metal Fabrication Deformation
- Manipulating Fabric with Robots for Pick-and-Place Operations
- Autonomous Robotic Iterative Forging Phase 2
- Collaborative Robotic Process Planning for Surface Treatment of Complex Components Phase 2
- Hierarchical Robot Learning Framework based on Reinforcement Learning for Decision-Making and Control
- Virtual Commissioning of Vision Systems (VCVS) for Industrial Robotic Inspection Applications
- Convergent Manufacturing using Multiple Industrial Robots
- Time-Optimal Motion Planning Using Convex Sets
- Automated Adaptive Path Planning for Pick and Place Ceramic Matrix Composites
- Rapid Welding of Thermoplastic Composite Structures
- Agile Automated Visual Inspection
- Robotic 3D Sewing for Clothing
- Fixtureless Robotic Assembly and Manufacturing Environment (FRAME)
- Robotic Manipulation of Granular and Paste-like Materials
Education & Workforce Development Track Highlights
Our Education & Workforce Development Track, led by Lisa Masciantonio (ARM Institute Chief Workforce Officer), centered on workforce solutions in manufacturing. One key element of this track was new features on RoboticsCareer.org, the ARM Institute’s national workforce resource. Earlier this year, we introduced job-matching functionality on RoboticsCareer.org, which connects job seekers to robotics careers in manufacturing that meet their personalized goals and skills. With our job-matching functionality comes a talent database that manufacturers can use to find qualified employees. Coming soon to RoboticsCareer.org is the ability for the ARM Institute to run detailed workforce trend reports.
Our workforce track also featured a panel discussion on digital badges and credentials and a panel discussion on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) initiatives in manufacturing. We recognized training programs that have recently received ARM Endorsement and hosted two Endorsement Council working sessions, which convenes our Endorsement auditors and representatives from these programs to discuss common problems, best practices, and explore how the ARM Institute can help these training programs address common issues.
Robotics Manufacturing Hub and Mill 19 Reception
We again hosted a networking reception at our Mill 19 headquarters in Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood neighborhood. New this year, attendees had the opportunity to explore our Robotics Manufacturing Hub at Mill 19. Launched earlier this year, the Robotics Manufacturing Hud is federally funded by the Build Back Better (BBB) Regional Challenge awarded through the U.S. Economic Development Administration to the Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative. The the Robotics Manufacturing Hub helps small and medium-sized manufacturers in the Southwestern Pennsylvania region “de-risk” robotics for manufacturing at no-cost. We do this by evaluating manufacturers’ operations through a site visit, constructing a white paper that outlines the opportunities and risks that the manufacturer may face when implementing robotics, suggesting robotics and automation tools that will strengthen their operations/address areas of need, and prototyping these solutions in our Robotics Manufacturing Hub at Mill 19.
Member Meeting attendees were able to see several Robotics Manufacturing Hub demonstrations during our event, which are briefly outlined below. The week prior to our Member Meeting, our high bay floor looked very different when we welcomed Dr. Jill Biden, First Lady of the United States, and U.S. Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su to Mill 19 for an event centered on Pittsburgh’s designation as a Workforce Hub. Our engineering team worked tirelessly leading up to and following the visit to clear the high bay floor for the Workforce Hub event then re-install and set-up our Robotics Manufacturing Hub demonstrations in time for our reception at Mill 19.
Attendees saw the following robotics demonstrations during our reception at Mill 19:
Collaborative Robot (Cobot) Applications:
Prototyping area for manufacturers that have space constraints and are seeking solutions for tasks such as bin picking/placing, assembly/disassembly, and the handling of materials.
Large Material Movement:
Prototyping area for the movement of larger parts that are not a fit for collaborative robots.
Prototyping station for manufacturers looking to minimize product waste, improve quality, and minimize errors.
Welding, Grinding, Finishing Tasks:
By early 2024, robots will be added evaluate the feasibility of automating welding, grinding and finishing processes.
Carnegie Mellon University Manufacturing Futures Institute (MFI) Demos:
Our Mill 19 operations are strengthened by our co-location with Carnegie Mellon University’s Manufacturing Futures Institute (MFI). During the reception, MFI demonstrated their new Robotics Testbed, Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) technology, and ARM Champion Changliu Liu’s joint project with the ARM Institute.
2024 Annual ARM Member Meeting
Members, save the date: our 2024 Annual Member Meeting will take place September 23-25, 2024 in Pittsburgh, PA!
Not a member? Explore membership here to learn how you can attend our Annual Member Meeting, participate in ARM Institute projects, and help us build a future where people and robots work together to respond to our nation’s greatest challenges and to develop and produce the world’s most desired products. You can also contact us at [email protected].
Thank You to Our Sponsors
Thank you to our Platinum Members: HARTING and Siemens as well as our conference sponsors: AMT (the Association for Manufacturing Technology), Corsha, FANUC, and Yaskawa for supporting this important event and, by doing so, helping to strengthen U.S. manufacturing!
ABOUT THE ARM INSTITUTE
The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute is a Manufacturing Innovation Institute (MII) funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense under Agreement Number W911NF-17-3-0004 and is part of the Manufacturing USA® network. The ARM Institute leverages a unique, robust, and diverse ecosystem of 400+ consortium members and partners across industry, academia, and government to make robotics, autonomy, and artificial intelligence more accessible to U.S. manufacturers large and small, train and empower the manufacturing workforce, strengthen our economy and global competitiveness, and elevate national security and resilience. Based in Pittsburgh, PA since 2017, with a satellite office in St. Petersburg, FL, the ARM Institute is leading the way to a future where people & robots work together to respond to our nation’s greatest challenges and to produce the world’s most desired products. For more information, visit www.arminstitute.org and follow the ARM Institute on LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter).