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March 2017

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Greenville Technical College's CMI and Director Play Leading Role in Robotics Collaborative

The Department of Defense (DOD) has announced the formation of the Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Institute, a project bringing together 84 industry partners, 35 universities and 40 other groups in 31 states. Goals for this $253 million project aimed at creating 510,000 new manufacturing jobs include increasing worker productivity by 30% percent and making robots more accessible to small- and medium-sized businesses.

Greenville Technical College's Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) and its Director, David Clayton, will play an important role in this effort. One of eight Regional Robotics Collaboratives will operate from the CMI. Co-leads for the seven-state Southeastern Collaborative will be David Clayton and Venkat Krovi, the Michelin Endowed Chair in Vehicle Automation at Clemson University.

"As a co-lead of the Southeast Regional Robotics Innovation Collaborative, I am excited to partner with Clemson University, the DOD and the Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Institute to further the research and application of robotics in manufacturing environments," said Clayton. "This collaboration will position Greenville Technical College students and industry partners at the Center for Manufacturing Innovation as leaders in intelligent manufacturing and automation."

Plans for the Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Institute, based in Pittsburgh near Carnegie Mellon University, call for a wide range of research driven by industry and defense needs in aerospace, automotive, electronics and textiles. Researchers involved envision a future in which robots begin to take over lower level tasks, allowing humans to work on tasks and challenges requiring higher-level thinking.

"This effort fits well with our plans for CMI," said Dr. Keith Miller, President of Greenville Technical College. "We invited Clemson to partner with us at our fifth campus because we wanted to close the gap between the education of the technician and that of the engineer. Quite often, the engineer does not have a clear understanding of the manufacturing process, and the technician is not well versed in design concepts. A solution to this gap at CMI is in bringing the education of the technician and that of the engineer together so that by the time they enter the workplace, they have already learned from one another in a project-based environment and they are ready to team up again on the job."

Four research projects are already being planned for the CMI-based Regional Robotics Collaborative, bringing together students from Greenville Technical College and from Clemson University. One of these projects involves creating a robot with Chicago-area manufacturer Yaskawa that can place a 20 lb. alternator on a car as it moves down an assembly line, allowing humans to operate the robot, which will not suffer injuries and fatigue as humans do in performing the alternator placement task. Research for this project will be conducted via a four-station prototype assembly line at CMI.

For more information contact:

Center for Manufacturing Innovation

575 Millennium Blvd.?

Greenville, SC 29607

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