PMETs to get more training, job support with launch of Skills Framework for the logistics industry

SINGAPORE — The Government launched the Skills Framework for the Logistics sector on Friday (Sep 22) aimed at accelerating industry transformation with a focus on guiding local talent with employment, career pathways, job roles, skills, competencies and training programmes related to the sector.

The announcement was made at the opening of the Supply Chain City by YCH attended by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The new S$200 million Asia Supply Chain facility at Jurong Innovation District is seen as a new benchmark in the supply chain and logistics industry, supporting Singapore’s key growth areas like urban solutions, smart logistics and robotics.

The logistics industry will achieve a value-add of S$8.3 billion and create 2,000 new jobs for professionals, managers, executives and technicians by 2020, Mr Lee noted.

“Some of these jobs will demand different and deeper skills from today, as new technologies and new ways of working become mainstream. Hence, our companies must also invest in people, to develop talent, retrain their staff and nurture deep knowledge and soft skills. The Government will play its part to attract, nurture and retain a strong Singaporean core of talent for the logistics industry,” Mr Lee said.

The Government will train more people ahead of demand, through universities, polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education. Support for mid-career professional conversion programmes to augment the talent pipeline will also be provided, he said.

“Together, we can maintain our status as Asia’s leading global logistics hub,” he added.

Highlighting how homegrown logistics company YCH has stayed ahead of competition by adapting and innovating, and investing in new technologies and people, Mr Lee outlined the importance of productivity and innovation in catalysing the overall growth of the industry.

The Skills Framework for Logistics sector was launched against the backdrop of the Logistics Industry Transformation Map (ITM) announced in November last year. The sector ITM was collectively crafted by agencies including International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), Spring Singapore and Workforce Singapore (WSG).

He noted that logistics is an important and promising sector for Singapore contributing over 7 per cent to the nation’s gross domestic product and employed over 200,000 workers. Singapore’s well-connected airport and sea ports enable logistics companies to serve the whole region efficiently from Singapore, he added.

“E-commerce in particular is growing rapidly. Supplanting traditional retail in many cases and the last mile of e-commerce, that is, delivery to the customer, is where technology and innovation can really make a difference,” he added.

To develop a strong pool of local talent to support growth of industry, the Skills Framework for Logistics identifies job roles, career pathways, and existing and emerging skills required for the logistics sector. Workforce programmes under WSG’s Adapt and Grow initiative, such as the Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP) as well as the PCP Attach and Train, also support the transformation of the logistics sector.

From Advanced Robotics to Rapid Prototyping: 10 of the Varied Faces of Smart Manufacturing

What’s in a name? The nomenclature for manufacturing technology comes in many colors: advanced manufacturing, smart factories, the digital plant, Industry 4.0. The term Industry 4.0 comes from a German government program announced in 2011 that is designed to encourage manufacturers to digitize manufacturing in order to improve Germany’s global competitiveness. In 2015, China launched “Made in China 2025,” an effort to advance its manufacturing technology, again for competitiveness.

In the US, smart manufacturing is viewed as a collection of emerging technologies based on digital communication and high-powered computer processing. Software is the key. The following slides walk you through manufacturing technologies that are all quite smart.

Robots Are Coming To A School Near You

ROBOLOCO, Inc., an educational technology company, with headquarters in Santa Clara, CA, announces a strategic distribution and licensing partnership with RoboTerra Inc., a Silicon Valley & Beijing global educational robotics company. According to the agreement, ROBOLOCO is now the sole distributor for the RoboTerra award-winning Origin and ERRA Kits, outside of China. This partnership incorporates a perpetual license for ROBOLOCO to develop its own proprietary software and robots based upon the existing RoboTerra technology.

ROBOLOCO’s CEO, Newton Paskin said, “The acquisition of RoboTerra products distribution in the global market, the rights to further improve the existing technology and continue to develop our own proprietary IP on top of RoboTerra’s IP complements our passion to help educators teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Our team, customers, and investors are extremely excited about the possibilities.”

ROBOLOCO will continue to develop RoboTerra’s educational tools such as the award-winning Origin Robotics Kit and the CastleRock Online Platform, the world’s first virtual robotics learning cloud. ROBOLOCO plans to add expertise in the areas of constructivist curriculum and artificial intelligence to enable instant feedback to educators and enhance the teaching and learning experiences providing an individualized and customized education opportunity for kids.

With this strategic partnership, ROBOLOCO, Inc. is seeking a new round of financing to scale its operations with the aim of reaching $ 75MM in revenue.

About ROBOLOCO, Inc.

ROBOLOCO, Inc. was recently launched by Newton Paskin, Patrick Muggler, and Derek Capo. Its’ mission is to empower educators to teach STEM and equip students with the skills they need for a successful life. To accomplish its mission ROBOLOCO is developing educational tools that combine leading-edge technology in hardware and software such as Robotics coupled with Artificial Intelligence (AI) with accessible and easy to use constructivist curriculum, aligned with ISTE and NGSS Standards, focused on the teacher. Its motto is “Easy for the teacher, fun for the kids and affordable to the schools”

About RoboTerra, Inc.

RoboTerra was founded in Spring 2014 by Yao Zhang a 2016 Young Global Leader, Columbia University alum in the Economics and Education Ph.D. program, a FIRST Robotics World Championship invited speaker, and recipient of the “Best 10 Global Citizen Service Award” by the United States Department of State.

RoboTerra China Private Enterprise (a.k.a. in Chinese “Luo Bo Tai La”) will continue its operations in China focusing towards developing products for the Chinese education market and RoboTerra Inc. (a Delaware C-Corp) will continue to advance technologies in the learning space.

This local advanced manufacturing training center now running in full gear

This CAM can’t toss a football and certainly doesn’t have a line of clothes at Belk.

This CAM is the Gaston College Center for Advanced Manufacturing and it’s up and running adjacent to the Dallas campus of the college.

Earlier this month, CAM began training students in robotics, industrial systems, computer-aided design, instrumentation and mechatronics.

Virgil Cox, dean of engineering and industrial technologies at Gaston College, says industry on the western side of the Charlotte region needs employees for technical jobs.

“To educate students for occupations in the engineering, energy, and manufacturing industries within our region, we needed a lab that would bring all the specialized functions together,” he says.

The 22,100-square-foot building is in Gastonia Technology Park, but it’s within a stone’s throw from the Dallas campus of Gaston College. The $8 million center was financed by a range of public and private funding.

Contributors included the Golden LEAF Foundation, foundations linked to industries in Gaston and Lincoln counties, the state and the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

For example, the robotics lab is supported by Parkdale Mills Inc., the Gastonia yarns manufacturer. There students can learn to program industrial robots and how to debug and troubleshoot problems.

CAM was operated on a limited basis over the summer but became fully functional when students started the fall 2017 term earlier this month.

Local manufacturers also had input into the curricula and equipment for the center. The industrial systems technology lab, which is sponsored by Timken Foundation of Canton, Ohio, trains students on pumps and motors as well as gear and bearing assemblies. Those are used in advanced manufacturing environments.

Artificial ‘skin’ gives robotic hand a sense of touch

A team of researchers from the University of Houston has reported a breakthrough in stretchable electronics that can serve as an artificial skin, allowing a robotic hand to sense the difference between hot and cold, while also offering advantages for a wide range of biomedical devices.

The work, reported in the journal Science Advances, describes a new mechanism for producing stretchable electronics, a process that relies upon readily available materials and could be scaled up for commercial production.

Cunjiang Yu, Bill D. Cook Assistant Professor of mechanical engineering and lead author for the paper, said the work is the first to create a semiconductor in a rubber composite format, designed to allow the electronic components to retain functionality even after the material is stretched by 50 percent.

The work is the first semiconductor in rubber composite format that enables stretchability without any special mechanical structure, Yu said.

He noted that traditional semiconductors are brittle and using them in otherwise stretchable materials has required a complicated system of mechanical accommodations. That’s both more complex and less stable than the new discovery, as well as more expensive, he said.

“Our strategy has advantages for simple fabrication, scalable manufacturing, high-density integration, large strain tolerance and low cost,” he said.

Yu and the rest of the team – co-authors include first author Hae-Jin Kim, Kyoseung Sim and Anish Thukral, all with the UH Cullen College of Engineering – created the electronic skin and used it to demonstrate that a robotic hand could sense the temperature of hot and iced water in a cup. The skin also was able to interpret computer signals sent to the hand and reproduce the signals as American Sign Language.

“The robotic skin can translate the gesture to readable letters that a person like me can understand and read,” Yu said.

The artificial skin is just one application. Researchers said the discovery of a material that is soft, bendable, stretchable and twistable will impact future development in soft wearable electronics, including health monitors, medical implants and human-machine interfaces.

The stretchable composite semiconductor was prepared by using a silicon-based polymer known as polydimethylsiloxane, or PDMS, and tiny nanowires to create a solution that hardened into a material which used the nanowires to transport electric current.

“We foresee that this strategy of enabling elastomeric semiconductors by percolating semiconductor nanofibrils into a rubber will advance the development of stretchable semiconductors, and … will move forward the advancement of stretchable electronics for a wide range of applications, such as artificial skins, biomedical implants and surgical gloves,” they wrote.

Robotics, the traditional path and new approaches

Robotics, like many other technologies, suffered from an inflated set of expectations resulting in a decrease of the developments and results during the 90s. Over the last years, several groups thought that flying robots, commonly known as drones, would address these limitations however it seems unlikely that the popularity of these flying machines will drive and push the robot growth as expected. This article aims to summarize traditional techniques used to build and program robots together with new trends that aim to simplify and enhance the progress in the field.









For robots, the future is modular

Most robots are designed with a “nervous system” similar in outline to your or mine: sensors deliver input to a central processing unit (a “brain”), which in turn issues instructions to move or perform other actions. Though modular robots that can work together do exist, their control systems generally consist of simple signalling between units – something like single-celled slime molds that can exhibit a degree of organised behaviour without central control.