Academic journal article ATEA Journal

The Alabama Robotics Technology Park

Academic journal article ATEA Journal

The Alabama Robotics Technology Park

Article excerpt

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Amazing! Wonderful! State-of-the-art! One of a kind! These words were among those heard to describe the November 10, 2010, grand opening of The Robotic Maintenance Training Center, Phase I of the new Alabama Robotics Technology Park (RTP). Close to 1000 business leaders, chambers of commerce and economic development officials, educational leaders, and representatives from dozens of robotics vendors from around the world witnessed the ribbon-cutting and official opening of this "crown jewel" in training facilities.

The vision and brainchild of former Alabama Governor Bob Riley, the RTP is a collaboration between the state of Alabama, Calhoun Community College, Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT), and robotics industry leaders across the nation. Once complete, the RTP will consist of three individual training facilities each targeted to a specific industry need. The three buildings will have an investment of approximately $73 million, including over $40 million of the latest equipment donated from dozens of robotics vendors.

Phase I: The $17.6 million, 68,385 square-foot Robotic Maintenance Training Center houses an industry training program where technicians are being trained to work on robotic machinery. The facility is staffed by trainers supplied by top robot builders and is now home to several major robotics and automation brands.

Phase II: The Advanced Technology Research and Development Center will feature a test facility for companies currently in the robotics manufacturing industry. The $8.5 million, 35,000 square-foot facility will be used by for the purpose of research, development and testing of leading edge robotics used for military projects and space exploration. The structure will have appropriate infrastructure to support these activities with substantial outdoor areas for testing in a variety of environments. Currently under construction, the Phase II facility is expected to be complete in June 2011.

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Phase III: The Integration and Entrepreneurial Center will be a collaborative consolidation of technology involving higher education and industry. This facility will allow companies to build and adapt robots for new industries. Start-up plants will be able to set up manufacturing lines to integrate software and equipment, test systems and train maintenance and production staff. …

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