New facility in Auburn focused on showing off the products and training customers
By Jennifer Ferrero, APR
Justin “Jake” Bodily, district manager for FANUC America Corporation sees their technology as an innovative job creator. He tells a story about a furniture factory in Utah, who had previously sent jobs to China to save costs, and this year brought jobs back to the U.S. to employ 58 people. This insurgence of jobs for that community was possible because the company brought in 50 robots to help automate manufacturing. The staff at that factory were trained to safely operate the new FANUC robots in production.
While there are concerns in manufacturing about the acceptance of automation, Bodily said, “Progress will always happen.” He talks about how things changed for the better from horse-drawn carriages to the first automobile. Now, in many production facilities, there can be a sea of yellow robotic arms. Bodily says that “In the correct hands automation can be extremely productive.”
This could be why the FANUC Corporation of Japan, which headquarters in Michigan, just built a new 14,000 square foot showpiece facility in Auburn, Washington. The company operates with Integrator Partners throughout the U.S.; that is, companies that have expertise in their trade that are using the automation technology. These partners help to test, educate and integrate the technology into other like-minded companies.
The new facility in Auburn is a training facility and demonstration lab with 15-16 robots from the smallest pick-and-place robot, M1, to the largest M2000 robot which is 3,747 pounds and serves as a high-precision lift assist robot.
FANUC will bring in customers to be trained on their new technology at the Auburn facility.
FANUC works in Washington’s aerospace industry with tier suppliers. Bodily said that the largest integrator in Washington is Pearson Packaging outside of Spokane, who he notes, “are a major employer.”
Bodily also shared how automation can rapidly change a business model. He said that one of their customers is a large automotive component manufacturer. They had a 20-year automation plan that was reduced to three-years because of the rapid return-on-investment from adding the FANUC products to production. He added, “It is key to utilize the automation correctly.”
Regarding the future employees within an automated facility, there are community and technical college programs in Washington at 11 schools that teach Mechatronics. This role would start with basic programming and preventative maintenance.
FANUC America Service Center
301 30th Street NE
Suite 100 – Building A
Customer Support: 1-888-FANUC-US
For information on mechatronics programs at our community and technical colleges in Washington:
Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing