Kane Robotics launches in ABQ

Kane Robotics Selects Albuquerque for its New Headquarters

Kane Robotics Inc. announced that it has selected Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the company’s new headquarters. Kane will hire and train workers in Albuquerque to develop robotic systems that finish aerospace structures using technology developed in partnership with Build With Robots (BWR). Kane Robotics is a spinoff of Kane Aerospace, which is located in Chino, California. The company is planning to hire 20 new employees in the next two years to do design, manufacturing and testing.

Since 1958 Kane has provided manufacturing support to top-tier manufacturers in the aerospace and defense industry and was an early adopter of automated processes, said John Spruce, CEO of Kane Aerospace.

“We were looking for a way to further automate repetitive processes and BWR was able to offer us new technology that will reduce the time it takes our customers to finish products, increase productivity, and decrease waste,” Spruce said. “I’ve built and grown a company before in Albuquerque and I know it will be the ideal spot for Kane Robotics thanks to its technical workforce. I’ve used JTIP (Job Training Incentive Program) funds before, and I expect to do the same with Kane Robotics.”

Spruce was CEO of Mechtronic Solutions, Inc., an engineering and manufacturing firm, in Albuquerque that he sold in 2010. He acquired Kane in 2016 and has been growing that company’s customer base by adding automation to its aerospace services, which include tool refurbishing, fastener recovery, and light assembly.

Build With Robots is an Albuquerque company that develops industry-specific solutions using CoBots, or collaborative robots, that help humans work more efficiently. The company is located within the Central New Mexico Community College FUSE Makerspace in Downtown Albuquerque where it showcases automation and robotic solutions.

“Our robots use the latest-generation technology to enhance productivity. We’ll partner with Kane to produce robots that will do the dirty and dangerous tasks, freeing up the humans to be more productive,” said Chris Ziomek, CEO of BWR. “Our robots will do sanding, drilling and cutting that is dangerous, dirty and monotonous for people.”

Read more in the Albuquerque Business First and the Albuquerque Journal.

Five Key Skills for Industry 4.0

2018 Manufacturing Skills Gap Study

This 2018 study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute highlights the seismic shift that will occur over the next decade as the Fourth Industrial Revolution completes its transformation of the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing is experiencing an exponential change, as technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and Internet of Things (IoT) rapidly change the workplace. While some predicted that these new technologies would eliminate jobs, the Deloitte study shows the exact opposite—more jobs are actually being created.

These new manufacturing jobs highlight the increasing problem of a skills gap within the U.S. workforce. Today, in the early stage of digital transformation, there is already a mismatch between the available workers and the skills necessary to fill open jobs. Production workers do not need STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering, math) but rather the ability to program machines on the plant floor. Increasingly, employers are looking for extended computer skills that enable core production workers to program a CNC (computer numerical control) machine for a new job, or interact with CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing) and other engineering or manufacturing software. Manufacturing executives stated the top five skill sets required in the coming three years due to the influx of automation and advanced technologies are: technology/computer skills, digital skills, programming skills for robots/automation, working with tools and technology, and critical thinking skills.

At Build With Robots, we assist others to leverage advanced automation technologies. We provide access, training, expertise and business opportunities for organizations and individuals to apply disruptive automation including collaborative robots (CoBots).  We believe that People and Robots Working Together enhances productivity and workforce satisfaction. Our mission is to create the next generation of manufacturing jobs and workers.

Force CoPilot

CoBots with the Sense of Touch

Robot technology is evolving rapidly. For example, force/torque sensors provide a robot with the sense of “touch.” With a collaborative robot (CoBot), touch is combined with intuitive ease-of-use to simplify many applications for the lay person. And remember that CoBots allow people and robots to work together. Here are some things that you can do with a CoBot using the sense of touch:

Precise object placement: When loading parts into a fixture for machine tending, the sense of touch is used to find the exact part location. Changes is the position or size of the raw stock material can be automatically corrected by measuring insertion force in the same way that people use the sense of touch.

Controlled force and stiffness: For robotic sanding, the force/torque sensor will control the applied force and stiffness with more precision and repeatability than a person. A person can setup and fine tune a robotic sanding operation, and then use the CoBot to perform the dusty and tedious work of sanding.

Object alignment & insertion: For robotic screwdriving, a spiral search operation is used to perfectly align a screw within a hole to prevent cross-threading. Searching with the sense of touch adjusts for any mechanical drift or errors in the screw or hole location. Also, screw turning can be precisely controlled with the torque sensor to ensure that the screw in not under or over tightened.

Hand-guided path recording: For glue dispensing, the Force CoPilot CoBot app enables the user to: (1) constrain the path to only planar motion, (2) define a complex path by hand movement of the robot arm, and (3) repeat that path at a constant velocity so that the glue is dispensed evenly. A person can use a CoBot to dispense glue more consistently than by hand.

Welding Super Vanagon Bracket

Robotic Welding for NM-MEP Manufacturing Day

Each fall, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NM-MEP) sponsors Manufacturing Day for New Mexico manufacturers to showcase their operations. At this year’s Manufacturing Day event, Build With Robots hosted tours at CNM-Ingenuity’s FUSE Makerspace that included robotic welding. On that day, Andrew Vanis of Super Vanagon was at FUSE to work on a welding fabrication project. Super Vanagon makes a custom mirror kit for the now vintage Volkswagen Vanagon model years 1982-1992. This kit solves the “floppy mirror” problem associated with this model of Volkswagen. On that day, Andrew planned to start MIG welding a total of 160 mirror brackets (80 pairs), a project that would take him many days.

Andrew was in luck – his project offered a perfect demo for NM-MEP’s Manufacturing Day. So, Build With Robots partnered with Andrew to launch an automated welding project for his brackets. This transformed a couple days of manual welding into a couple hours of robot welding.  Within only a few hours, one of the CNM-Ingenuity welding instructors at FUSE trained Andrew in the setup and use of the robotic welder. Andrew had pre-built a simple fixture to orient the stock metal pieces properly for welding. This fixture is needed for both manual or robotic welding to orient the two plates correctly.

Next, Andrew experimented with the adjustment and fine tuning of welding parameters to optimize the bead and penetration for the MIG welding of his steel brackets. Because the robotic welder can be adjusted to create a specific weld type and size, Andrew was able to create his desired weld with consistency over many brackets. After fine tuning for the exact bead size and shape, he repeated the welding process over and over with a simple push of a button. Before long, Andrew was mass producing brackets. The entire process: from never seeing the robot before, to learning how to program it, and then to use it to weld a box of parts took less than one day.  The expected days of manually welding 160 brackets was completed in just a couple of robot welding hours.

Robotic welding is just one example of what small and micro manufacturing businesses can do at the FUSE Makerspace. Makerspace members accomplish projects like Andrew’s on high-end machine tools without needing to purchase expensive equipment. FUSE instructors are available to train and support users to ensure project success. This is a great example of the New Mexico manufacturing community working together to leverage automation, expertise and high-end equipment.


Robotics On Display at NM-MEP Events

In October, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NM-MEP) is hosting its 2018 annual celebration of manufacturing in New Mexico. Known as Manufacturing Day, the month-long series of events puts a spotlight on manufacturing and on the more than 26,000 New Mexicans working in the manufacturing industry. It is an opportunity to help New Mexico manufacturers tell their story and enhance public knowledge about the economic impact of manufacturing in our state.

Robotics will be on display for Manufacturing Day within the following activities:

Humans and Robots

Robots will take old jobs and create new ones, says World Economic Forum

This Robotics & Automation article summarizes a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) focused on robots and jobs. The article is very upbeat and emphasizes that low-skilled labor will be replaced by high-skilled, higher-wage jobs. Within its report titled Reskilling Revolution: A Future of Jobs for All, the WEF strongly advocates for lifelong learning. Here is the report’s opening statement: As the types of skills needed in the labor market change rapidly, individual workers will have to engage in life-long learning if they are to remain not just employable but are to achieve fulfilling and rewarding careers that allow them to maximize their employment opportunities.

Re-training is the key to individual, business and regional success. There will absolutely be winners and losers in the emerging upheaval within worldwide labor markets. Those regions with unskilled laborers are most susceptible to job losses, but everyone should take heed. Those who embrace automation and re-training will uncover great opportunities for upward mobility on a global scale.

One Million Cups

Build With Robots at One Million Cups

Come see Chris Ziomek present the history and status of Build With Robots at One Million Cups Albuquerque. We will provide insight into the benefits and challenges of bringing Collaborative Robots (CoBots) to the New Mexico region. You will be able to ask questions and offer advice as part of this interactive discussion.

  • Location: FatPipe ABQ, 200 Broadway Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87102
  • Date: Wednesday, August 15, 2018
  • Time: 9:00 to 10:00 AM