manufacturing in america symposium
Manufacturing in America took place at Ford Field in Detroit, MI on Wednesday March 14 and Thursday March 15, 2018. The premier event is organized by our team sponsors, Siemens and Electro-Matic. This year, over 3,200 people attended, including many local government officials, industry leaders, manufacturing executives, engineers and innovators.
Siemens invited our team, 548 Robostangs as well as FRC team 217, the Thunderchickens. The team presented the showcase in the Student Row next to universities and colleges promoting STEM related careers.
Thirty-two team members and nine mentors participated in the event; we showcased our offseason robot, a swerve. This type of drivetrain is one in which the wheels are individually powered, allowing for free movement in every wheel. In a typical 6- wheel rocker or tank drive train, wheels only have the ability to move in a backward and forward direction, but with the utilization of a swerve, the wheels can rotate practically infinitely many degrees. We enjoy demonstrating and talking about this drivetrain design, and it attracted a lot of people to our exhibit.
MiA is a platform that brings the manufacturing community together. For us high school students, the event is an eye opener of the latest automation and digitalization capabilities; it allows us to see how the future of manufacturing is being shaped as well as help us focus on how to be active participants of the new digital era.
The event hosted 50 exhibits and offered over 100 seminars throughout the two days period related to emerging automation; drives and motion; energy and facilities management; and plant engineering and maintenance. There was a Summit that included presentations, discussions, and best practices from leaders in manufacturing, technology and innovation. We learned that Detroit has the second largest concentration of engineers in the country, only behind Silicon Valley.
On The Digitalization Zone, visitors were able to discover advanced manufacturing with digital twin simulation, a dynamic digital model which is used for multiple test scenarios.
On the Student Zone, students from 9th through 12th grade were able to participate in educational and hands-on workshops with manufacturing equipment.
This year the moderator was Natalie Lowell, SME Industry Relations Officer, there were four panelists that shared with the students their own story about how they become engineers. None of them were part of a FIRST robotics team: some of them were influenced by their own parent’s career path, and some attended the FORD technical center or other STEM related academies. An important part of their personal insight was the importance of the programs they participated in, which taught them vital skills as well as provide various scholarships.
Nikith Ganan, our Management lead, participated as a presenter showcasing our Robot reveal video in addition to our Chairman’s video and sharing with the students our passion to promote STEM and how we outreach to the community to transmit this enthusiasm to others. Our mentor, Mrs. Corrigan, was interviewed by Natalie to share with SME how our team had developed a plan that aligns the FIRST pipeline programs with the Girls Scouts STEM badges program.
This year was also unique because Mr. Sirois, an important mentor and Siemens employee, invited us to participate on the “MiA Basketball Challenge” where two Siemens executives competed against a Comau one arm robot shooting baskets. The Thunderchickens and Robostangs got to cheer for their assigned executives Raj Batra and Sascha Fisher. Our business captain, Tanai Gupta, helped out our assigned executive. It was really fun!!
“The best part of attending this event was the opportunity to see new innovations, the speakers were genuinely excited about the products. I really liked the CNC router presentation by Siemens at the event. Also, kicking a field goal at Ford Field was amazing! After attending the Student Zone, Siemens invited us students to apply for a 1-day internship to learn how exciting a career in engineering and manufacturing can be; I am very grateful for this unique opportunity.”