College Courses in Woodshop Robots

Woodshops wondering whence the next generation of employees will come may now have an option to help influence their own futures. Robotics, and especially collaborative robots (cobots) are becoming very entrenched in the casework and furniture industries. Cobots are robotic arms that have sensors, so they can occupy spaces alongside humans without causing any injury or harm. The machines know where the people are, so they can avoid workers as they both go about their tasks. Universal Robots, which has corporate offices in Boston, has just become the first collaborative robot manufacturer to be accredited to issue continuing education credits. The company has created a program that high-school and college students can take, and thereby earn college credit. The program has been accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), and it “provides a clearly defined pathway for students to master cobot programming and deployment as part of an Industry 4.0 career in robotics and advanced manufacturing”. Schools can now purchase the ready-to-go package, which includes the curriculum, a cobot arm, and the required hardware and software. Woodshops can encourage schools and colleges to participate and can perhaps help defray the costs involved, as they and the students move forward in the increasingly high tech world of woodworking.