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How to Leverage Robotics to Promote Your Manufacturing Day

Studying Robotic Arm
Credit: iStock/SolStock

Most in the manufacturing industry are familiar with Manufacturing Day. Held the first Friday in October, Manufacturing Day is when manufacturers open their doors at more than 3,000 organized events across the country to showcase the potential of modern manufacturing and foster interest in manufacturing careers among the more than 325,000 students, parents and community members who attend.

Students are fascinated by the facility tours, and everyone loves watching the cool processes and operations in which machines make parts and products. But there is one word that could drive even more intense interest in an event on Oct. 7, 2022: Robotics.

Representatives from MEP Centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico have great suggestions on how to leverage robotics to promote Manufacturing Day. Here are a few.

Emphasize the Human Interest in Robotics and Dispel Myths

Start by touching on the things people care about most and highlighting data, such as jobs. Robotics and automation do not replace jobs performed by humans. They handle the mundane, repetitive tasks that people don’t really want to do anyway.
 
Robotics actually create higher-paying jobs for humans, such as operating robotic cells and performing programming tasks relating to automation. The result is more jobs, less turnover and fewer injuries. They enable employees to increase output without extra effort or time.

Show Off Your Robotics or Consider Leveraging Local Vendors

Don’t be shy about showing off your robotics, collaborative robots (cobots) and automation features, even if it is for material handling or less impressive applications. People are fascinated by the technology, especially when you can show a series of moves or the ability to adjust the operation.

Many system integrators and industrial automation distributors are willing to partner with an MEP Center to help with a demo, according to Matt Minner of Catalyst Connection, part of Pennsylvania MEP. Having someone give a presentation with robotic equipment, hosting a booth, or even showing a video, could help boost attendance at your event.

You might even be able to have a cobot on hand, which lends itself to hands-on experiences.

What If We Will Not Yet Have Robotics in Our Facility

If you are worried that you do not currently have a robotic setup on your shop floor, think of it this way: When a 14-year-old has graduated high school, will you have cobots or robotic cells in your facility waiting for them? Sell the future.

Show eye-catching videos on large screens with robots performing interesting tasks. Highlight young engineers programming them. Discuss case studies in which manufacturers have achieved great outcomes and compelling success stories. “Before and after” is an effective storytelling approach.

Promote Careers in Manufacturing Relating to Robotics

One of the most compelling cases for a career in robotics is that it pays well and does not require a four-year college degree. On average, robotics related jobs pay about 30% more than entry-level, non-robotics manufacturing jobs and require just slightly more training, although a high school diploma or GED is acceptable to many manufacturers.

Among the other ways to promote a robotics-related career in manufacturing are:

  • It’s fun and interesting work. If someone thinks it’s fun to be in a robotics competition, or even fly a drone, they will be able to find interesting career paths in robotics. Robotics has a big role in the manufacturing of self-driving cars, smart bandages, renewable energy tech, virtual reality and more.
  • It can make a difference in people’s lives. People with robotics training can be part of making products such as medical devices that improve quality of life and outcomes for patients.
  • It includes scientific research. Robotics work is part of space and undersea exploration as well as biology.
  • It’s good for the U.S. Advancement in robotics will help reshoring and improve our global competitiveness and even national security. Many robotic innovations are developed for the defense industry.

Robotics training is quickly evolving, and it is creating new opportunities for underrepresented populations in manufacturing, as education is less costly and more accessible than a four-year college degree. Education options and career pathways are easily discoverable through the ARM Institute’s national resource, RoboticsCareer.org.

Contact Your Local MEP Center to Host a Manufacturing Day Event

If you are interested in hosting a Manufacturing Day event, contact your local MEP Center to learn more. Along with the many resources provided on the Creators Wanted website, representatives from The MEP National NetworkTM are eager to help manufacturers participate.

About the author

Matt Minner

As the Senior Consultant for Technical Services at Catalyst Connection, part of the MEP National Network, Matt Minner uses his 12-plus years in manufacturing and mining technologies to provide...

Rich Sullivan

Rich Sullivan is a Project Manager at MassMEP. Rich has held positions in engineering, quality, customer service and business development in organizations ranging from startups to Fortune 500, across...

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