Alabama manufacturers moving to "smart" factories

STEM

LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – Gone are the days where bare hands consumed much of the manufacturing process. Technology has taken over — at a rapid pace. In order to keep up with demand, The Robotics Technology Park (RTP) in Limestone County unveiled its newest phase in robotics training.

The idea of a smart factory is getting closer to reality.

“We’re launching the Robotics Technology Park 2.0,” said Ed Castile, Department of Commerce deputy secretary and AIDT (Alabama Industrial Development Training) director.

All the upgraded technology requires skilled hands to operate the tools.

“AIDT is critical partner for Mazda Toyota Manufacturing as we work very closely with them on recruiting and hiring our production team members,” said Mazda Toyota communication specialist Toni Eberhart, “but also our skilled and maintenance folks as well.”

Lots of training happens at RTP. A Kawasaki robot is one of the few cutting edge machines that was just introduced to the Robotics Technology Park. It can do anything from attaching a windshield to a car to tightening a little screw.

“Governor Ivey has charged us – by 2025 – to add half a million in additional workers,” said Castile.

The training center allows prospective workers to get advanced robotics training here to eventually work for companies like Mazda Toyota Manufacturing.

“It helps companies becomes a digital or smart factory,” said Castile.  “That’s the world we’re headed to.”

Manufacturers can get their employees the training they need without shutting down production.

At today’s robotics launch — Mazda Toyota Manufacturing announced it will hire about 4,000 new workers. The application opens January 13 on its website.

 

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