Universal Robots -- the originator of the cobot, the fastest growing segment of industrial automation -- has become the first collaborative robot manufacturer accredited to issue Continuing Education Units. The accreditation enables UR to provide a comprehensive collaborative robot curriculum for students and industry professionals. It is being launched as part of a Universal Robots Education Program package.
The new education offering will be showcased at the company's virtual Cobot Expo 2.0 November 16-17.
Attendees at the virtual event will be the first to see the new Education Program offerings. Building on the successful first Cobot Expo in July, the 2.0 version features floorplans organized by the most popular application segments, featuring 19 exhibiting partners, live on-demand demos, and 15 keynote presentations.
The Education Program is featured in a dedicated booth and will be presented in the keynote "Accelerating Tomorrow's Engineers."
"With the Education Program, we're addressing a tremendous need to provide cobot training as part of an integrated, accredited course," says Joe Campbell, senior manager of applications development at Universal Robots. "This hands-on learning initiative will be instrumental in addressing the skills gap and get state-of-the art cobots into classrooms, offering students instant employability and manufacturers access to an upskilled workforce."
Universal Robots has been accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and is now authorized to issue the IACET CEU (Continuing Education Units). The Education Program provides a clearly defined pathway for students to master cobot programming and deployment as part of an Industry 4.0 career in robotics and advanced manufacturing. Schools can purchase the ready-to-go package that includes the complete curriculum, a UR cobot arm, and the hardware and software required to build actual industrial applications.
The 32-hour course has been developed with assistance from Ritch Ramey, coordinator of RAMTEC, (The Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative). Ramey oversees robotics training at the 24 Tri-Rivers career centers in Ohio, which represent the largest, most comprehensive robotics education center in the nation.
"Being able to offer a complete, turnkey training program with an industry-recognized credential gives schools increased access to both private grants and government funding when bringing cobots into classrooms," Ramey says.
Upon completion of the course work, a student receives 32 course credit hours and a Universal Robots industry-recognized certification. The course can be taught in high schools, dual-enrollment courses, and in colleges.
The program will also be offered to manufacturers seeking certified cobot training for employees; industry professionals can attend classes either through local schools and career centers or in classes offered by Universal Robots' authorized partners. Sending employees for certified robotics training developed by an accredited provider is often encouraged by local and state governments that may reimburse companies for the training costs.
"This is really a win-win," says Campbell. "Manufacturers struggling to attract and retain skilled workers within automation can now easily train and encourage existing staff, while employees now get a unique opportunity to receive a recognized certification that they can add to their resume for future career advancements."
Bob Graff, president of I4.0Strategies, an Education Workforce Development consultancy focused on implementing Industry 4.0 advanced automation training, career pathways, and credentialing, has also been part of Universal Robots Education Program collaboration. His company is working with several UR+ partners in developing curriculum for their products and application kits certified to work seamlessly with UR cobots.
"What separates Universal Robots from everybody else is the powerful, unique UR+ platform that enables manufacturers to build their complete cobot application by choosing UR-compatible products that are tested and proven," Graff says. "Bringing courses on UR+ components and kits into the umbrella of UR's credentialed training approach will spark a revolution in educational access to these Industry 4.0 technologies."
VIDEO: UR5, UR10, and UR10e -- Indispensable Assistants for Pick-and-Place and Machine Tending. Hailo uses three cobots from Universal Robots to relieve its employees of strenuous activities while guaranteeing high product standards. The company has deployed a UR5 to equip stepladders with operating instructions and accessories, and a UR10 and a UR10e to feed sheet metal bodies to die-cutting machines.
Universal Robots already provides free (uncredited) education for those interested in cobots through its Universal Robots Academy program. The online training modules are available in English, Spanish, German, French, and Chinese. They consist of nine e-learning modules that make up the basic programming training for UR robots. This includes configuring end-effectors, connecting I/Os, creating basic programs, applying safety features to an application, packaging, and program flow.