“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,” said Ed Castile, executive director of AIDT, Alabama’s workforce training agency.
The RTP is a collaborative effort between the state of Alabama, Calhoun Community College, AIDT, and robotics industry leaders across the nation. Completed in September 2010, Phase I of the project 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 II of the project will be the 30,000 square foot Advanced Technology Research and Development Center, which will feature a test facility for companies currently in the robotics manufacturing industry. The facility will be used by NASA and the U.S. Army Missile Command for the purpose of research, development and testing of leading edge robotics used for military projects and space exploration. Phase II is scheduled to open spring of 2011.
Phase III will be the Integration and Entrepreneurial Center - a collaborative consolidation of technology involving higher education and industry. This facility will allow companies to build and adapt robots for new industries. Start-up plants will be able to set up manufacturing lines to integrate software and equipment, test systems and train maintenance and production staff.
For Phase I of the project, Omron STI delivered the complete safety solution for three of RTP’s robotic weld cells, eight single-robot work cells, and a robotic assembly line which included seven robots, a conveyor system, and an automatic guided vehicle (AGV).