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The Empowering Innovation Conference, Hosted by FANUC America

August 15, 2019
Empowering Innovation Conference Recap

Education and business leaders recently attended a summer workshop hosted by FANUC America (Rochester Hills, MI) and Oakland Community College (Auburn Hills, MI). The three-day workshop, sponsored by The National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers (NCATC), focused on the state of Industry 4.0 – the challenges, the changes and the chains binding growth.

From collaborative robots to today’s latest technology trends, the discussions centered around Industry 4.0 and its exciting but diverse challenges, including:

  • The ongoing need for educating America’s youth to go into STEM- (Science, technology, engineering and math) related fields
  • Smart technologies for today’s factory floor

Educating tomorrow’s workforce

Workshop attendees learned about FANUC’s ongoing efforts to help educate our future workforce in STEM-related fields. Through its Certified Education Program, FANUC works with industry and education to develop certified programs that address the needs of employers and support secondary and post-secondary programs of study.

The need for skilled workers with automation training certifications is growing. In fact, according to Deloitte (New York) as many as 2.4 million manufacturing jobs may go unfilled by 2028, putting $454 billion in production at risk. In response to this growing need, FANUC provides the necessary training to the instructor as well as a curriculum to introduce students to robot applications including: integrated vision systems (iRVision), programming a logic controller, and using ROBOGUIDE simulation software. FANUC also offers a world-class CNC curriculum based on the needs of the machining industry.

With over 24 million products installed worldwide, FANUC is the most familiar brand of manufacturing automation. Students trained on FANUC equipment will be better equipped to hit the ground running and be productive from the start.

Industrial IoT Real-Time Monitoring


Attendees also learned about FANUC’s award-winning Zero Down Time (ZDT) Industrial IoT solution. ZDT eliminates down time and enhances overall robot performance on the factory floor. According to Joe Gazzarato, director of engineering for FANUC America’s ZDT Product Development, the value of ZDT applies to every manufacturer by helping them maintain consistent production uptime.

Since its introduction in 2015, ZDT’s predictive analytics have helped manufacturers save millions of dollars by preventing unexpected down time. In addition, ZDT allows users to maximize production throughput, optimize maintenance costs, increase the life of their robots, and access data from anywhere via the ZDT web portal.

ZDT is just one of the many new automation advances that will require a workforce ready for Industry 4.0 and beyond.

Industry Tours


The workshop included tours at two major manufacturers in Auburn Hills, MI including FCA US LLC Headquarters and Technology Center, and Esys Automation, a JR Automation company and FANUC Authorized System Integrator. Esys provides engineering and manufacturing systems integration.

Advanced manufacturing concepts are creating specialty career paths that will be unfilled unless we can attract more people to STEM-related studies. Careers in automation are available for every educational journey - from high school diplomas to two-year Associates Degrees, all the way through PhDs. There are countless exciting opportunities for curious, driven, problem-solving individuals.

Learn More About FANUC America’s Certified Education Program


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