With plant automation becoming more and more like a video game, it’s not surprising the automation industry wants to reach kids while they’re young and open to new ideas. In an attempt to show new programming tools to eager young minds, AutomationDirect.com has teamed up with the Boy Scouts of America to inform and inspire the nation’s youth about programming.
The 2013 National Boy Scout Jamboree was held in mid-July at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in the mountains of West Virginia, where AutomationDirect, Radio Shack, VEX, and the Boy Scouts of America launched the Programming Merit Badge, which is designed to introduce youth to a variety of software programming tools.
At the National Jamboree, 40,000 scouts had the opportunity to learn about the badge using tutorials on programming theory for embedded controllers, robotics, and ladder logic using the CLICK PLC. Scouts then performed different programming tasks in order to receive the new badge.
Joan Welty, marketing director for AutomationDirect.com, said in a statement:
The future of our industry lies with the talented minds of our youth and we want to do everything possible to encourage them to explore the exciting world of factory automation.
With the demand for programming jobs set to explode in 2020 (according to Code.org) as well as the STEM project gaining worldwide attention, it was only a matter of time before the Boy Scouts incorporated programming into their skillset.
You're right, Rob -- programming skills could be reasonably linked to "independence and self-reliance" these days. It's a helpless feeling to have to look for an "expert" every time you need to re-write code or repair something.
Years ago, I used to keypunch my AUTOCODER, FORTRAN & ASSEMBLER Hollerith cards twice, just in case things went awry! Amazing how we've progressed in the past 50 years! SAVING after each keystroke. My! How times have NOT changed!!!
Well, I DO see your point. I'm somewhat surprised however because in all the dealings we've had with them, they seem very willing to go the extra mile. We are not a large corp. either, and so I have come to appreciate the effort that I have received from their Tech Serv. folks. As far as the Acctg. Dept. is concerned, I've never really dealt with them, except for that one time several years ago, when we were informed that for lack of use, the acct. was closed. That was somewhat surprising to me, especially in this era when Gigabytes rule the computer storage area. IF it was 20 years ago, when you paid dearly for megabytes of storage, I could see their desire to keep the Accts. Receivable Master File as small as possible. Oh, well.... it remains a non-problem, so I don't dwell on it.
I can tell you that they were very involved in an arcane problem w/ their CLICK editor. As it happened, I'd be working on a Ladder program, and a window would appear informing me that WINDOWS was very sorry, but it would have to shut down the app. It gave NO other choice, except to close the editor WITHOUT allowing for saving the work. I complained to them about this, and they forwarded me a special monitor program direct from MICROSOFT which basically logged every iteration of the processor. You can just imagine how big this file got in a hurry. At any rate, this problem was random, so it didn't happen with too much frequency, but one never knew WHEN It was going to occur. After months of very deep inspection, they found the problem, and corrected it with an upgrade to the CLICK editor. What surprised me was that no one had reported this problem. I'm sure I'm NOT the only one programming the CLICK PLC using a WINDOWS XP PRO PC.
My experience was that there had been a payment disute at some time with somebody at the same address, and the result was that the emergency items that we ordered were not sent next day as we had requested, and nobody ever let us know that there was a problem of any kind. So I was very "inconvenienced" by somebody elses issues from a company that had previously been in that building. I had to buy some National Instruments modules instead, for over twice the price.
This was a few years back, but it left a very strong impression with me.
William K. ...... Do I detect a bit of disapproval in your statement??? As far as we're concerned, when we opened an acct. w/ them about 15 yrs ago, we bought a relative few items at a time, and inexpensive ones at that. Then, there was a lull in activity, and the next time I needed some items, the acct. was closed, so now we do all our purchasing to A-D w/ the corp. credit card. It suits both parties well, and is never a problem.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
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