Could you give us a mile-high view of A3 and how it’s structured?
At one time we represented a number of associations devoted to different aspects of robotics and automation. In 2021 we joined them together under the A3 umbrella, which allowed us to speak with one voice and on one website. They were the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), AIA-Advancing Vision + Imaging (AIA), and the Motion Control and Motors Association (MCMA), which have changed to technology sectors within A3. We have also established A3 Mexico, as well as the Artificial Intelligence tech sector. Before, you had to join each association individually, but now when you become a member of A3 you’re automatically enrolled in all of our tech sectors. We now stand at approximately 1,100 member companies.
Jeff Burnstein, can you describe member benefits, including your activities on their behalf and educational resources.
We produce webinars, podcasts, and have a section on our website called “The Vault” which contains hundreds of presentations on subjects that will benefit our members, especially their new employees. We provide a variety of certification programs, which can be accessed online, or at our trade shows. We also conduct onsite training where we will travel to their facilities and speak to groups of any size. We have performed these sessions all around the world, and we tailor the content to each company’s individual needs. We’re an advocate of robot safety, for instance, so we factor that topic into all of our activities. And we represent our members in other ways as well, including standards development and providing input to government agencies working on legislation that will affect our industry as a whole. We developed the American National Robot Safety Standard and have official agreements with agencies such as OSHA and NIOSH. We’ve also worked with the Department of Commerce, and I have spoken before Congress on robotics, automation, and AI.
Automate is your flagship show, but you also produce The Vision Show. What does A3 offer at these conferences?
Automate has existed in a number of forms since the late ‘70s. For many years we co-located with ProMat, which focuses on warehousing and supply chain issues, in Chicago. But as we both grew, we each needed more space, so we will now be holding Automate June 6-9 at the Huntington Place Convention Center in Detroit. We’ll have about 125 speakers at our technical conference during the show, and these presentations will be non-commercial, discussing issues and processes with no emphasis on a particular company or its products. And we’ve laid out the show floor in an interesting way, with system integrators right upfront. Moving deeper into the show you’ll find areas devoted to robots, machine vision, autonomous mobile robots, and many other areas pertaining to robotics and automation. Various certification programs are available at the show where you can spend 4-5 days attending training seminars, take a test at the end, and leave with a certificate in machine vision or motion control. The information presented at the show will be widely disseminated, beginning with our website. The Automate Show is primarily for end-users seeking more-efficient means of upgrading and streamlining their manufacturing operations. The Vision Show will be held October 10-13 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, and it focuses more on OEMs looking for the latest machine vision technologies to incorporate into their products. It resembles the Automate Show in terms of the wealth of information on offer, but these are two totally different conferences. We pay close attention to the presentations and structure of each event with valuable assistance from our member companies, which are very active and engaged in all aspects of A3. Our mission is to act as “the global advocate for the benefits of automating. We promote automation technologies and ideas that transform the way business is done.” We are an advocate for our members, and the industry at large, while also working to dispel the confusion surrounding things like AI and machine learning. We’ll be adding more tech sectors in the coming years that will reflect the vibrant growth and innovation constantly being brought to market, and we will continue to stand as a resource for anyone who’d like to learn more about the information and knowledge we’ve gained over the past 48 years.