According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2020 Report, by 2025, 85 million jobs will be transformed by increased use of automation and robots. Furthermore, it is estimated that 97 million new professional roles more suited to the new division of labour between man, machine and algorithms, could emerge from this change.
That the future of work is not for robots, but with robots
This approach – that the future of work is not for robots, but with robots brings important issues to the fore: firstly, the rise of man-machine collaboration, in all areas from work to everyday life. Robots will be increasingly present in our daily life and in various manufacturing sectors. And these will no longer be just industrial robots, but also educational and social robotics, robots able of providing assistance, from the healthcare field to that of back office jobs. Secondly, we will see robots that will support humans in surgery, logistics, packaging, the agricultural sector and so on. Of course, working methods and therefore, programming and integration in the various production environments, will be different according to the tasks that the automatons have to perform.
For these reasons, the need to adapt the contemporary educational proposal to the professional needs of tomorrow is becoming increasingly urgent, on the one hand to create new and more innovative skills in the generations to come, on the other to update and deepen those of current workers.
With this purpose, a unique specialisation course was created from the collaboration between Pearson and Comau (a leading company in the industrial automation and robotics sector) to enables students to obtain a BTEC International Level 3 certification in Robotic Operations. This is a programme aimed at schools, universities and teachers interested in managing an educational path aimed for interested in working in different areas of robotics, and keen to acquire the knowledge and skills they need that can be immediately used within the 4.0 manufacturing sector. The BTEC International course, which includes 85 hours of theoretical and practical lessons, is divided into four modules, designed to form professional profiles essential for working with robots.
Let’s take a look at these professional profiles in more detail.
1. The robotics 4.0 specialist
The evolution of robotics, both within the ‘smart factory’ and in society in general, is characterised by the proposal of robots with increasingly higher performance capabilities meet new production and operational standards, but that which are also easier to program and use thanks to enabling technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT). The teams who develop robotic solutions must therefore be able to imagine advanced technologies that are capable of supporting the man and the operator, in a more intuitive, fast and versatile way.
Comau’s new Racer-5 COBOT, for example, has been designed following these inputs: it can work with industrial speed and precision standards in confined environments, thanks to a reach of 0.809 m and a 5 kg payload. However, having the characteristics of a collaborative robot, it can also interact safely with humans, automatically switching from cobot to industrial mode when its sensors detect the presence of an operator in the proximity of the action area. In this sense, the first module of the course designed by Pearson and Comau, “Robotics Systems and Basic Procedures”, with 10 hours of training, is aimed at developing skills related to programming and engineering of robots, allowing students to understand the better the ways of using robotic solutions within specific and multiple production contexts.
2. The integrator of advanced systems
To make production efficient, flexible and fast, robots are used in a wide range of applications and, often, for carrying out multiple operations even in the same industrial line. Companies therefore need qualified engineers and robotics experts, suitable to ensure that the plants are designed and managed with the utmost precision and efficiency, that the robots can be integrated with other industrial units in the most appropriate way and that they are connected between them and online to ensure maximum productivity and complete process traceability.
In line with this trend is Comau’s in.Grid digital platform, designed to connect industrial machinery and equipment and facilitate the collection, analysis and monitoring of machine and process data, with a view to predictive maintenance and to increase the objectives of Factory productivity 4.0. By attending the 10-hour “Fieldbus and Reference Systems” module as part of the BTEC International developed by Pearson and Comau, students have the opportunity to examine all the possible integrations of robotic systems in fieldbus networks, take into consideration the various types of inputs and outputs of an industrial system, recognising its differences; and finally, learn to distinguish between local and remote systems and to apply the most appropriate work procedures by distributing loads and tasks within a complete integrated network.
3. The 4.0 programmer
Compared to the past, robotic automation touches new and still partly unexplored industrial sectors. Robots are not only used for production in the field of heavy industry, automotive or general mechanics, but are also a valid and effective support in auxiliary operations such as pick & place, packaging, testing and control.
To optimis online quality testing and verification in the electrification sector, Comau has for example developed MI.RA/Thermography, a solution part of the MI.RA (Machine Inspection Recognition Archetypes) family of intelligent vision systems that uses thermography and artificial intelligence to allow robots to perform automated analysis and verification of welded joints, to ensure the integrity of the batteries and prevent waste. With the 15-hour “Motion Programming” module, part of the specialisation course in Robotic Operations, students can approach the role of expert engineers in robotic programming, acquiring all the skills to drive automations effectively in a workspace and accompany them in the correct execution of the required applications.
4. The IIoT expert
The connection between robots, industrial machines and MES (Manufacturing Execution System) management systems is a key theme of the industry of the future, which is preparing to become increasingly advanced and connected. An example of this is the Industrial IoTIM technology powered by Comau developed by the company in collaboration with TIM, which facilitates the adoption of the Internet of Things in the manufacturing industry. It is a solution that allows the monitoring and diagnostics, even remotely, of production machinery, highlighting maintenance and assistance needs through forecasting and predictive systems: all thanks to the combination of Comau’s digital technologies and TIM’s ultrabroadband connectivity, Edge cloud and Industrial IoT services. In this sense, the last module of the course developed by Pearson and Comau, “Further Robot Programming”, also moves, which with 20 hours of training allows students to learn advanced programming techniques and methods for managing complex software that allow the optimization of robot operations.
Discover the full programme of the Robotic Operations – BTEC International Level 3 Specialist course born from the collaboration between Comau and Pearson including how to enrol.
Comau is a leading company in the industrial automation field, at a global level. Combining innovative engineering solutions with easy to use, open automation and enabling technologies, Comau helps companies of all sizes – and across a wide range of industrial segments – leverage the full potential of digital manufacturing. Comau’s competency stems from over 45 years of field proven-experience and a strong presence within every major industrial country.
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