Audio: How robots could make US manufacturing competitive again

“Innovation in manufacturing can speed up creation of new products.Furthermore, cost effective manufacturing can enable making products locally closer to the customers and create new jobs,” says the center’s director, SK Gupta.
Ben Bergman/KPCC

Amid a national debate about the future of manufacturing in the United States, USC opened its new Center for Advanced Manufacturing Friday at the Viterbi School of Engineering.

The 6,000 square foot facility will bring together experts in machine learning, augmented and virtual reality, robots, and 3-D and 4-D printing. It will also serve as a local hub for the Defense Department’s new institute for robotic manufacturing.

The goal is to develop best practices for advanced manufacturing and to serve as a resource for local companies – especially biomedical and aerospace ones – interested in manufacturing innovation. One priority now is making it easier and quicker to program robots to perform tasks in factories.

When KPCC visited recently, we saw a 3-D printer etching out tiny parts for airplanes, and a robot sorting through biomedical parts. As is typical in modern factories, there were more robots than people working in the center. However, the center’s director, SK Gupta, says robotic technology will be key to helping fulfill President Donald Trump’s promise to resuscitate American manufacturing.

“Advanced manufacturing certainly will bring jobs back to the U.S.,” he…

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