ICAMS hosts Industry 4.0 Workshop

The Auburn University Interdisciplinary Center for Advanced Manufacturing Systems (ICAMS) recently partnered with the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association to host an Industry 4.0 Workshop for industry and academia. Participants included employees from companies such as Honda and Hyundai as well as researchers from universities such as the University of Alabama at Huntsville and the University of Mississippi.

The workshop, hosted at ICAMS on June 22, focused on traditional manufacturing meeting the ever-evolving world of digital transformation. It explored the adoption of new technologies and cyber-physical systems, disruptive trends in data acquisition, implications to the industrial workforce and more.

Ron Davis, president of the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association, voiced his excitement about learning more about Industry 4.0 as he opened the meeting before introducing ICAMS Director Greg Harris.

“We really want to learn from you throughout this workshop,” Harris said. “And hopefully you’ll learn from us as well.”

Harris went on to discuss the current manufacturing workforce and the state of technology adoption. He also discussed the roles of ICAMS as well as efforts to recruit the next generation of manufacturers.

“Some of what we found out about how Generation Z makes career decisions is that family influence has been very important,” Harris said.For Gen Z, the definition of family has also changed.”

Harris added that these young people born in the late ’90s and early 2000s have created the idea that their online family is just as important as their physical family.

This is across the generation,” he said. “So, they have people influencing them that they may have never actually met. So, how do we now take that knowledge and information and turn it into something that brings that generation to manufacturing?”

Harris went on to reference initiatives ICAMS is a part of to reach these young people such as the middle school outreach program Bird Inc.

“We've got to start getting these kids out into the factories,” he said.

The day also included discussions on modern machine data flow using MTConnect Standard Methods, traditional and collaborative industrial robots, exoskeletons to support Industry 4.0 workers, and demonstrations.

Marty Cash, commercial quality unit lead for Honda Development and Manufacturing of America, attended the workshop to understand more about what Industry 4.0 actually is, where Honda is in that process as a manufacturer, and where the industry is as a whole.

“Dr. Harris and Sam Snell (ICAMS research engineer) did a great job explaining Industry 4.0 as well as how agents and adapters are used with the machines along with the MTConnect Standard to convert machine data into a useable and consumable format,” he said. “Prior to the workshop, I was also not aware of collaborative robots and their capability. This is new tech that can be considered in a number of applications within automotive assembly. I also have a better understanding of Industry 4.0 and the current state of manufacturing in terms of digitalization.”

Media Contact: Carla Nelson, carla@auburn.edu, (334) 844-1404

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