LIFT Is Putting Comau at the Forefront of Manufacturing Technology and Education

Martin Kinsella, Director, Comau LLC. Board Member of LIFT’s Technology Development Committee and Chairman of LIFT’s Education Workforce Committee

In 2013, the federal government initiated the Nationwide Network For Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), now known as Manufacturing USA, with the sole objective of increasing U.S. manufacturing competitiveness. When our government issued a call for industry and academia experts, I’m proud to say Comau was one of the original organizations to join.  Based on our 45 years of manufacturing experience around the world, we knew government-led programs have been very successful in leading industry and academia—which is how you drive the manufacturing sector forward.  Being part of a nationally led institute was very important for us.  We wanted to be a part of this from the start.

Being an active member of LIFT puts us at the forefront of technology development, what’s driving the industry, and what the government sees as critical milestones for the next ten, twenty, thirty years. That is a core component of our mission at Comau.

Comau, a global automation systems company delivering automation equipment and solutions across numerous industries, was instrumental in the original consortium that worked to have what would eventually become the LIFT – Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow institute, headquartered in Michigan.  Collaborating with the University of Michigan and the rest of the consortium, the team built a package to showcase Michigan’s breadth of manufacturing assets and education. It was announced in 2014 that Michigan had been selected, and that the institute would be based in Detroit… right in our backyard.

LIFT conducts their 3rd. Annual Member’s meeting at LIFT headquarters in Detroit, Mich. Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017.
Gary Malerba for LIFT

Today, our company is actively collaborating with LIFT in three important areas including: technology, education and equipment.

LIFT’s Technology Development Committee, of which I am a board member, is responsible for reviewing project requests sent to LIFT from its member associations, academia and other associated organizations throughout the U.S. and determining which of those projects will have the greatest impact in advancing LIFT’s mission. Comau is also currently supporting approximately ten of the ongoing LIFT programs that primarily involve joining, melting and thermo-mechanical processing.

I also have the honor of chairing LIFT’s Education Workforce Committee. This group is playing a pivotal role in the success of one of LIFT’s key objectives—ensuring a robust pipeline of professionals for the high skill jobs of today and tomorrow.  Because, if we, as a nation, develop all of this technology and there isn’t a workforce to support it, that technology will not be sustainable.

The Education Workforce Committee is responsible for aligning LIFT with academia and programs that advocate for the engineering and manufacturing skilled trade jobs. In order to secure the U.S.’s global manufacturing competiveness, it is vital to the mission that we ensure the proper skilled workforce, and a lot of that begins with getting students interested in engineering and manufacturing industry professions.

Comau has also assisted in the process of selecting the equipment and machinery located at LIFT. This includes the Comau flexible cell, which consists of four advanced robots, 2 robot slides (the robots move forward and backwards on them, providing a very large work envelope) and a flexible tooling base (holds components being worked on).

We are committed to the long-term success of LIFT and the advanced manufacturing industry. We were there in the beginning stages to influence the original thought process and missions of the organization and we’ve worked very closely with the LIFT team over the last three years sharing our knowledge and approach to technology and automation. I have no doubt that LIFT will continue to grow as the go-to spot for lightweight technology in the industry.

Martin Kinsella is a Director at Comau LLC. He also served as a Board Member of LIFT’s Technology Development Committee and as Chairman of LIFT’s Education Workforce Committee