Episode 13: A Robot for Every Technician? A Look at Trends Driving Manufacturing

Ben Moses, Director, Manufacturing Technology and Stephen LaMarca, Technology Analyst, Association for Manufacturing Technology

In this episode, we check in on the evolution of those buzzword technologies driving manufacturing: automation, 5G, big data, AI, cybersecurity, machine learning and cobots. All of these technologies impact technician training.  What do they really need to know?  Will every technician need a cobot assigned to them?  Our guests from the Association for Manufacturing Technology help us compare the hype behind some technologies with the timeline for thorough development and implementation.  In other words, they help us understand technology in the service of the problem to be solved, not just technology for technology’s sake.

For example, it is getting progressively easier to teach robots how to do simple tasks and those tasks can be built upon.  Add data collection from the manufacturing process, correlate that data to errors, and then you potentially have information that allows tools to make decisions about the process. With AI:

              “We have our current working definition of a device that perceives this environment and takes action, then maximize the chance of success at some goal. So it’s an agent working for you, right? So you’ve trained this agent to do something for you and that requires your basic math software and domain knowledge to solve the very, very specific goal. So when we hear the thoughts of everyone should be doing AI, hold on a second. Yeah, let’s pump the brakes a little bit. What is the true need and then is AI an actual tool to help you solve that need?”