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A Glimpse into The Robotics Industry

Posted in: Computer Science News, Robotics, Students

Some of the on-site attendees from different departments of this hybrid seminar
Some of the on-site attendees from different departments of this hybrid seminar

With the IEEE Montclair Student Branch, co-hosted by CRoSS Lab, IEEE STEM Champion Montclair Site, and Robotics Club, the first of the newly founded Montclair Robotics and AI Seminar Series was conducted. The Montclair Robotics and AI Seminar Series is a new initiative aiming at providing the MSU community with research breakthroughs and state-of-the-art technologies in the fields of robotics, artificial intelligence, computing, automation, engineering, and more from both academia and industries.

On September 27, 2023, the IEEE and Robotics E-boards hosted “A Glimpse into The Robotics Industry”, with guest speakers from one of the biggest global leading robotic companies, ABB Inc. This event received great support from the CSAM Dean’s Office and the School of Computing.

Starting with introductory remarks from IEEE Montclair Student Branch Chair Omar Obidat, and Vice-Chair Jesse Parron, both graduate students in computer science, and research assistants for the CRoSS Lab, the seminar began, with them passing the stage to Christelle Keefer and Sivan Levy from ABB Inc.

Christelle Keefer, the Director of Education at ABB Inc, and Sivan Levy, Channel Specialist, enthralled the audience of over 34 on-site/online attendees from different departments by showcasing the Swedish built robotics manufacturing company, ABB Inc. Christelle and Sivan initially discussed their roles in the company. Christelle stated that her goal is to “get turnkey solutions into schools locally in the United States, and globally, by networking with teachers and students to build mobile cell packages with engineers, course designs and materials, and a certificate program”. Sivan Levy, a recent UCLA graduate and current member of the ABB rotational program expressed her role as Channel Specialist as “working with all integrator partners, distributor partners, and education partners to support them with insight sales, marketing materials, and business.”

Following the brief introduction of their roles, they continued to divulge insight into ABB Inc. ABB has 4 business areas, “Electrification, Motion, Process Automation, and Discrete Automation”, which holds 20 divisions within the company. Thus, employing nearly 11 thousand people in more than 50 countries. ABB, being one of the world’s leading robot suppliers, has a comprehensive and integrated portfolio covering robotics and machine automation solutions. ABB’s robots are used in a variety of industries, such as the food industry, 3D printing architecture (concrete for houses), medical centers (research and improving hygiene), entertainment industry (special effects for shows), and automotive (printing car parts). Christelle then went on to discuss the education aspect of ABB. Currently, ABB has robots in over 50 universities and has 5 STEM cobots (collaborative robots) that educators could purchase for students to learn on. As well as, a globally recognized STEM certificate, which can be achieved while working alongside courses for your degree.

Sivan went into detail regarding the ins and outs of RobotStudio, and how powerful this tool is for industry and educators. She stated that it is a “simulation tool that lets you model the concepts of your work cell in a virtual world, and the environment for creating programs is much more powerful, open, and easy to use than others in its class”. Lastly, Sivan expressed that ABB has many internships and Co-op opportunities all over the U.S., and for recent college graduates, the rotational program is excellent to get you well-versed in different areas of the company. This two-year program allows for new hires to travel across the United States, explore different cities and offices, learn different parts of the company, and be provided with an abundance of opportunities to learn from.

Following the conclusion of the presentation, Christelle and Sivan opened the floor to discussion and questions. Students took this opportunity to ask questions such as “What kind of things through classes or otherwise should someone do to prepare themselves to get into the field”? Christelle and Sivan explained to make sure you are good with a programming language and make sure you are passionate with it, for ABB specific look into RobotStudio. Another student asked, “Can you integrate multiple robots, and would they be aware of each other in Robotstudio?” To answer that question, they stated, yes you can, and you can implement as many as you want, you can also implement CAD or SolidWorks models. Entire factories have been simulated before. In particular, CRoSS Lab talked with ABB about the collaboration opportunities to develop Montclair-ABB STEM certificate and Co-op education programs.

Overall, the first newly established Montclair Robotics and AI Seminar Series, “A Glimpse into The Robotics Industry” was a huge success. Vice-Chair Jesse Parron, asked the student audience how they felt regarding the seminar, and was welcomed with happy feedback. A big thank you to ABB Inc’s Christelle Keefer and Sivan Levy for taking the time to provide Montclair students with an amazing presentation.

Keep an eye out for future events of the Montclair Robotics and AI Seminar Series!