ISLANDIA, NY—Festo Didactic and SICK have created a new training program to teach students the latest thinking and technology related to robot safety.

A subsidiary of Festo Corp., Festo Didactic provides technical training on industrial automation. The new robot safety program combines curriculum and hardware. The curriculum focuses on robot risk assessments and a systematic approach to automation. The hardware consists of Festo Didactic’s manufacturing production system (MPS)—a simulated cyber-physical smart factory with six-axis robot, SICK area scanners, safety PLC and safety relay.

“With demand for smart manufacturing methods [increasing], students who have been exposed to this sort of [technology] have a real advantage when it comes to applying for jobs,” says Ted Rozier, director of engineering at Festo Didactic North America.

The program teaches students holistically about robot safety. Students who complete the course will understand risk assessment; safe design; technical protective measures; administrative measures and information about residual risks; overall validation of the machine; and deployment of machinery. They also learn terminology, such as performance measures, areas of severity, frequency and avoidance.

In the past, robotics education has focused on a specific robot brand and only on operation of the robot itself. In contrast, Festo Didactic’s program is designed to be robot agnostic. By adding information on safety and cyber-physical systems, students develop a well-rounded working knowledge of how robots are tightly integrated as a system in the real world.

That said, Festo Didactic takes into account the installed base of robots at factories in the region where the training will be offered. This ensures that schools purchase the robot brand most likely to increase employability of local students.

“This approach ensures that students can qualify for jobs locally,” says Rozier. “Festo and SICK have created this content to be agnostic, which means it will align to the best practice of any robot manufacturer, allowing students to become adaptable contributors from day one on the job.”

Although the safety awareness training package is set up in several community colleges and universities across the country, its use is not limited to current students. Incumbent workers and technicians can also sign up for the safety awareness course.