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‘Robots everywhere’: eKAMI students training for future of manufacturing

Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 7:20 PM EDT
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PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - The Haas eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute will soon graduate its newest class of workers. This class, however, is ending its training with a little extra experience.

In a new partnership, eKAMI is working with READY Robotics, using the company’s robotics program to operate the robotic arms used in the manufacturing industry.

”In 10 years, there’s gonna be robots everywhere and every body’s gonna see value in it,” said READY Robotics CTO and Co-Founder Kel Guerin. “But the problem is, there’s not enough people in robotics to keep up with the demand either.”

Guerin said the access to robotics will soon be greater than ever, so his company created software to operate any robotic in the industry, giving workers a level playing field that is achievable by learning the READY Robotics programming.

“The robotics industry right now is very fragmented. Each brand of robot has its own software. It takes a lot to learn,” said Guerin.

He said, as opposed to learning each robot’s programming, the READY programming allows the workers to learn one program that is universally-supported by all of the different robots.

“It’s very fast to learn,” he said. “So, not only are they able to very quickly learn robotic automation, they’re able to take those skills and transplant them to any robot.”

He said it is about pairing a quick program with qualified people.

“In Eastern Kentucky, you have a massive amount of really creative and people with amazing problem-solving skills,” he said. “People that eKAMI are taking and turning into these amazing CNC machinists.”

Of those machinists is Kaylee Maynard, who said the training is easy to follow regardless of a student’s familiarity with robots.

“They’ve done an amazing job,” Maynard said. “Anyone can do it. You can walk in and never see a robot in your life, ‘cause a lot of us here had never seen a robot before.”

But it will not be the last time most of them see robots. Maynard will graduate from the program Monday before taking a mobile robot installer position in Georgetown.

“I’m really excited. Especially now that we’ve had training on these robots. Because I understand it,” Maynard said. “I feel a lot more confident about it.”

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