This month’s column features one of ARM’s longest term and most active members, Roger Christian, Divisional Leader in New Business Development at Yaskawa America, Inc. Motoman Robotics Division. Yaskawa has been a member since ARM’s formation in January 2017. We talked with Roger about his involvement with the ARM Institute.
1. Roger, you and Yaskawa Motoman have been involved with ARM since its inception. Why did you decide to become a member?
I first heard about the ARM Institute from a good friend and colleague Eric Nieves and was excited to internally promote Yaskawa becoming a member and volunteer to lead our participation. Being involved in Robotics for 35 years, I found ARM’s charter of bridging the gap between advanced university research and eventual commercialization as exciting and overdue. Already a member of the ROS-I consortium, Yaskawa was aware of the momentum building in open-source software, new low cost 3D vision sensors, and how the confluence of these tools would accelerate the adoption of robots in un-structured high mix, low volume manufacturing. The ARM Institute represented the catalyst needed to accelerate this movement by developing a member community that included academia, manufacturing leaders, automation suppliers (like Yaskawa), and start-ups that could work together on real projects with a clear roadmap supported by the Federal Government. Yaskawa joined as soon as we could!
2. Yaskawa is involved in several ARM projects with other member organizations. Can you share some insight on what it is like to participate in an ARM project?
We are proudly participating in eight projects. Yaskawa is participating in each as a team member (sub-recipient) versus project lead. The project call process is fast-paced and requires a strong business case and team to win. Working with the ARM Member organizations and their people is the most rewarding part for me. The raw talent of the consortium members is incredible. I don’t know where one could find better mix of advanced manufacturing experts on the planet.
Plus, being an active member of the TAC (Technical Advisory Committee) is both challenging and exciting. The TAC provides a great way for me to give back to the industry that has treated me so well.
3. The ARM Institute certainly benefits from you and your organization’s expertise. What benefits does Yaskawa Motoman receive as an ARM member?
There are many benefits to consider depending on your level of participation – the more you participate the more you get out of the consortium. In order, they are 1) member collaboration and connections, 2) opportunity to be part of advanced technology development, 3) commercialization opportunities of consortium development IP, and 4) finally, helping our US manufacturing base become globally competitive. The ARM member community, including the Institute’s wonderful staff and Department of Defense sponsors, have become part of the Yaskawa ecosystem and part of my daily passion and enjoyment.
4. ARM’s annual meeting is planned for Oct 13-15. You’ve attended all ARM annual meetings to date. What are you looking forward to most at the upcoming event?
I will really miss the face-to-face interactions but appreciate the need to have this meeting virtual. One of the best ways to meet new companies and industry experts is through the ARM Annual Meeting. It happens during lunch or at breaks – meeting new people and companies is truly great for our organization. I will say the “new-normal” does work if you make the effort to follow-up with connections you make at these meetings, virtual or not.
5. I’d like to remind our readers that Yaskawa Motoman is a worldwide leader in industrial robotics. Can you briefly share information on new or upcoming robotic solutions that manufacturers should know about?
Yaskawa has introduced many new and exciting products, highlighted below.
YRC1000 Arc Worlds – The industry’s first and still-leading pre-engineered robotic weld cells have been refreshed with customer feedback for the YRC1000 controller platform.
Smart Series w/ Smart Pendant – The Smart Series lines enables integrators with an “arm” up on application integration with easy to use industrial robots featuring the new Smart Pendant.
HC10XP Collaborative Welding – A premier collaborative robot has been outfitted with a robust welding interface to tackle new welding challenges with a reduced footprint and greater portability.
HC20XP 20kg IP67 Cobot – The 20kg payload and IP67 rating of the HC20 brings collaborative robots to a new tier of performance and capability.
Hollow-Arm Spot Welding Robots - Taking from the best designs of the arc welding robots, all utilities can now be run through-the-wrist for greater cable protection and easier programming of these new spot-welding robots.
SG Series SCARA Robots – With the highest in-class operating performance, the new SG-series SCARA robots enable extremely fast and precise operation for a variety of small part processing, assembly, and sortation applications.
For more information, please visit www.motoman.com.
ARM Institute Annual Member Meeting
Join us October 13-15, 2020 for our Annual Member Meeting! Registration is free and open to ARM Members only. The Annual ARM Member Meeting is our cornerstone event and brings together representatives from across 260 member organizations for three days of high-energy engagement and information sharing. Spanning industry, government, and academia, our event highlights important solutions in robotics and workforce development to strengthen U.S. manufacturing for the defense and commercial industrial bases. Email [email protected] for more information.