Outlined at the January 18-20 Robotics Industry Forum was a new robotic system integration certification program that will be run by the Robotics Industries Association.
According to Jeff Burnstein, president of RIA, the RIA had been researching a robotic certification program for the last two years. “We heard about some system integrators losing bids based on price to other vendors who were not as qualified and then finding out that the low-cost integrator didn’t get the job done. Eventually, the manufacturer went with the more qualified integrator to fix the [first] integration problems. And that’s a big reason for the certification program,” says Burnstein.
The new certification program focuses on system integrators being able to benchmark their companies against other system integrators. The certification will offer benefits such as a certification logo, feature listings of certified integrators on the RIA site, and the establishment of leadership and visibility in the robotics community.
System integrators would have to participate in a two-day, on-site audit and team personnel would be tested on specific applications to evaluate their skill level. Some of the objectives would include demonstrating safe work procedures, basic robotic setup skills, I/O understanding, and the ability to read and interpret robotic manufacturing manuals.
The audit process—sourced by the RIA—would be wrapped in nondisclosure agreements between system integrator and auditor. And the RIA would not have access to this audited data. Burnstein says a rating system would be part of the new certification program, and integrators would be rated in different skill categories and offerings. The different rating categories have not been unveiled yet.
The RIA already has 12-18 companies participating in a pilot certification program. Also, a vision integrator proram announcement is coming later this year, but no further details were given at the forum.
In other news from RIA, the organization has announced a new online resource compiling robot safety and safety-standard compliance resources. The online page presents the library of information about robot safety that is available from RIA, a 260-member association that is secretariat of the ANSI/RIA R15.06 Robot Safety Standard. A webinar on Robot Safety Awareness is showcased on the page, as are case studies, articles, and links to resources about training. In addition, a new RSS “safety feed” is available to help people keep track of news about robot safety.