Global aerospace and defence contractor ARCTOS Technology Solutions (ARCTOS) was awarded a US$13 million Task Order by the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) to introduce Smart Manufacturing technologies to the curriculum at three Ohio Community Colleges, a congressional initiative to grow Industry 4.0 manufacturing knowledge and skills in the region. The Regional Fabrication & Certification Training Labs program leverages well-established government, industry and academia collaborations to provide training courses in disruptive technologies including robotics, photonics, and trusted systems introducing product lifecycle management skills to college students, as well as members of the manufacturing workforce seeking continued education and certification.
“It is critical to train and prepare the workforce for the future of the manufacturing industry, which is highly focused on automation and related smart technologies,” said Joe Sciabica, ARCTOS Chief Technology Officer. “With our phased strategy and industry resources, we are thrilled to partner with Northeast Ohio to significantly reduce the barriers to adopt the latest manufacturing equipment and skills training for the local workforce and establish the region as a leader in Industry 4.0 technologies across the manufacturing supply chain.”
Industry 4.0 enables the development of integrated manufacturing processes that combine the efficiency of mass production with the flexibility of custom manufacturing. While the benefits of smart technologies are widely recognised in the industry, the labor skills gap has become the primary limiting factor for manufacturers seeking to adopt them. Ohio community colleges, Sinclair, Clark State, and Lorain County, as well as Career Technical Centers seek to close the gap and stimulate the pipeline of skilled workers at an accelerated pace through well-developed curricula and programs developed in close collaboration with ARCTOS and manufacturing and technology partners.
ARCTOS will support the development of hands-on training, tasking students and workers to solve real-world digital manufacturing problems using state-of-the-art precision manufacturing equipment. Additionally, the program will introduce the range of career opportunities available to participants in working with disruptive technologies for additive manufacturing, photonics, trusted systems, autonomy, robotics, and big data analytics.
“In the aerospace industry especially, the lack of availability of critical components is an ongoing trend for both civilian and military platforms,” said Sciabica. “In the long term, as the demand for commercial aircraft increases around the world, American manufacturers and suppliers will need workers skilled in automation technologies to operate their manufacturing facilities. Industry 4.0 skills will allow American manufacturers to operate their facilities more effectively to produce large quantities of precision critical parts and effectively stave-off global competition from other countries which are aggressively pursuing our national aerospace supply chain business. These new technologies, also support the Department of Defense in maintaining aircraft, ships, and ground vehicles through reducing the costs of sustainment and eliminating part obsolescence for aging weapons systems.”