President Obama's announcement today of a $500 million Advanced Manufacturing Partnership featuring $70 million for a National Robotics Initiative received a glowing endorsement from Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry's trade group.
"I am delighted to see that the Obama Administration is committed to making significant investments in advanced manufacturing and robotics, especially in research and development that can lead to new advances which will help revive American manufacturing," said Jeff Burnstein, RIA President, after watching the announcement.
"We have watched countries in Europe and Asia invest heavily in robotics, and it's good to see the US make this commitment, too," said Dean Elkins of Yaskawa Motoman, a leading global robotics manufacturer, and, Chairman of RIA." There's no doubt that robotics is one of the most important technologies of the 21st century and the National Robotics Initiative will play an important role in advancing robotics developments," Elkins added.
RIA Board Member Curtis Richardson of Spirit AeroSystems was also excited about the National Robotics Initiative. "In manufacturing industries like aerospace and next-generation electronic systems, robotics will transform how we manufacture, not just provide incremental improvements to existing processes and production methods. In many instances robots can represent a step-function shift in productivity, efficiency, and profitability and whose presence can affect every element in the manufacturing value stream from design and analysis to sales and distribution. What's needed now is a coherent and collaborative national focus to bring about robotics technologies that will make this possible and I think the National Robotics Initiative is a great step forward," Richardson explained.
"A well- coordinated National Robotics Initiative will provide the leadership and investment necessary to accelerate the advancement of next generation robotics technologies and knock down the regulatory and technological barriers necessary to lead to wide spread adoption and repatriation of US manufacturing jobs," said RIA Board Member John Dulchinos of Adept Technology.
"We expect continued investment in robotics technology and engineering education will inspire our nation's youth to pursue automation technology degrees with more vigor than ever. As robotic technology continues to advance, becoming more capable, less expensive and easier to use, we see applications in many areas that were never considered before. It does appear that we're at a robotic renaissance and the future looks brighter than ever, said RIA Board Member Mike Jacobs of Applied Manufacturing Technologies.
Scot Lindemann of JR Automation and a member of the RIA Board said: "The technology that enables robotics to improve the American way of life needs to be developed in the US. One of the main drivers of the improvements in the productivity of the American workforce is the proper use of current robotics technology. As the technology continues to rapidly improve, the problems that robotics can solve will expand rapidly. The leader in this technology development will lead in the implementation of robots to solve more problems. This will lead to an increase in the standard of living in the US that we are just starting to see now."
Founded in 1974, RIA is the North American trade group for the robotics industry. It currently represents some 260 robot manufacturers, system integrators, end users, accessory equipment suppliers, consulting firms and research groups.