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Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing awards $2.8M to four projects

June 12, 2018 | Pittsburgh Business Times

By Stacey Federoff – Digital Producer, Pittsburgh Business Times

Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing, known as ARM, announced four awardees for its first round of funding that totals $2.8 million.

Teams will contribute $4 million in cost-share during this first funding round, adding up to a $7 million investment, according to a news release.

The public-private partnership, founded in Pittsburgh last year, chose the projects to "begin generating timely impact on the national manufacturing landscape and serve as examples of ARM’s mission," the release said.

The projects are:

  • A robot assistant for composites manufacturing by principal investigator Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with team members: GE Global Research, Southwest Research Institute, IEEE GlobalSpec, Vistex, Fuzehub, SME and Army Benet Laboratory to develop an operator-guided, semi-automatic assembly process using industrial robots integrated with multiple sensors that improves productivity.
  • A smart companion robot for automotive assembly by principal investigator Clemson University and team members Siemens, BMW and Yaskawa that hopes to demonstrate the viability of an intelligent mobile manipulator robotic system, the smart companion robot, to assist and augment human workers in automotive final assembly.
  • Robotic sanding and finishing by principal investigator Lockheed Martinand team members Texas A&M University and University of Southern California that hopes to improve upon current systems in order to make robotic sanding and finishing viable for high production volumes and easily reconfigurable, compatible with a variety of robotic manipulators.
  • iWired: An intelligent wire harness robotically assembled by principal investigator United Technologies Research Center with team members University of Connecticut and ABB to use perception-enabled collaborative robotics that leverage dexterous manipulation for specific assembly processes of wire harnesses used in aerospace production plants.


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Work has begun on the projects that are expected to take between 12 and 18 month, according to the release.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled with the mix of industry, academic, robotic and nonprofit organizations on each team, and look forward to working closely with them to develop these technologies," said Howie Choset, ARM CTO and chief scientist, in a prepared statement. "We believe that the advancements produced through these projects will strengthen the national manufacturing ecosystem and generate high-value career opportunities.”

The group plans to announce another selection from its October project call later this summer. Last month, ARM opened its second formal call.

About Catalyst Connection

Based in Pittsburgh, Catalyst Connection is an economic development organization dedicated to helping small manufacturers to improve their competitive performance. Catalyst advisors, consultants, and instructors offer training, consulting and administer financial programs that can provide funding for equipment, machinery, or capital improvements. As a nonprofit 501 (c)3 firm, the organization has been supporting Southwestern Pennsylvania manufacturers for more than 25 years. For more information call 1-888-887-7472 or go to www.catalystconnection.org.