The Association for Advancing Automation: The Voice of Automation
The biggest challenge is to be the voice of automation and educate potential users about the benefits of automating—especially small- to medium-size companies who may feel automation is out of their realm.
The Association for Advancing Automation (A3; Ann Arbor, MI) is a global, not-for-profit organization for three trade associations—Robotic Industries Association (RIA), AIA - Advancing Vision + Imaging and Motion Control Association (MCA)—that pledges to be the global advocate for the benefits of automation in every market space.
According to the A3 Director of Communications Bob Doyle, the rebranding of the three associations under the name A3 is a relatively new strategy. “We are dedicated to serving the members of RIA, AIA and MCA,” Doyle states. “We sponsor trade shows, conferences and other networking events, develop some of the world's leading websites on automation technologies, collect industry statistics and generate market research, develop consensus standards, provide multiple certification programs and engage in a wide variety of other educational activities. We interact on a regular basis with people from our more than 650 member organizations around the world, and are always coming up with new ways to serve them better.”
Of these 650 members, Doyle notes close to 100 of them are international. “Since many automation technologies are introduced overseas first, we intend to keep our eye on automation developments all over the world,” he notes
While A3 serves as the voice for the need to automate, the RIA, AIA and MCA will continue to focus on how companies and organizations specifically can apply robots, vision and motion control, Doyle notes. “Our developing strategy is to engage stakeholders from around the world and demonstrate why automation technologies and ideas transform the way business is done today—and into the future,” Doyle notes. To accomplish this goal, A3’s services include the following:
• Host business events and networking opportunities;
• Media outreach, including placement of opinion pieces and articles;
• Collaborate with other related industries and associations;
• Connect with governmental organizations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs);
• Reach out to international partners to expand our global network; and
• Educate the public on why automation is good.
One of the A3’s most important networking events is its biennial trade show. Automate 2013 (automate2013.com), held last January in Chicago. The A3 also holds a show specifically for the vision and imaging industries (The Vision Show; visiononline.org; slated next for April 15-17, 2014) on alternating years.
According to Doyle, the company’s biggest challenge is to be the voice of automation and educate potential users about the benefits of automating—especially small- to medium-size companies who may feel automation is out of their realm. “We want to publish white papers and create video testimonials on our website that share success stories on companies who have
Additionally, the automation industry—much like the moldmaking industry—faces a skilled labor gap. “Recently there was a segment on 60 Minutes that suggested robots are taking the place of people’s jobs,” Doyle states. “Our view is that this is completely wrong and not looking at the bigger picture. Automation systems create jobs and make companies more competitive and able to make higher quality products. This in turn creates jobs that are more technical in nature and higher paying. In actuality a lot of these companies are struggling to find people to fill these positions. A lot of our members can’t find people to fill these jobs. The real focus should be on education at the vocational education, community college and university level to fill these job shortages.”
Doyle has a number of short- and long-term plans for the A3, including expanding the website, extending its global reach through networking with current members to develop such contacts—particularly with companies in Europe, Asia, South America and Mexico, and making the “manufacturing technician” (someone able to program and run higher tech equipment) the next skilled trade, like a plumber or electrician is today.
For More Information:
A3/ (734) 994-6088
firstname.lastname@example.org / a3automate.org
Robotic Industries Association / robotics.org
Advancing Vision + Imaging / visiononline.org
Motion Control Association / motioncontrolonline.org
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