Dallas Shows Its Robot Muscle

The Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium will offer automation and robotics demonstrations on November 15.

Rob Spiegel

November 8, 2023

3 Min Read
Dallas robot showcase
Olympus Controls

At a Glance

  • Advances in robotics
  • Manufacturing in Dallas
  • A showcase of new robots

On Wednesday, November 15, manufacturing professionals will converge on the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium for Waves of Innovation. The event runs from 3 to 7 p.m. and will feature live demonstrations of the automation and robotics solutions presented by veteran manufacturing.

Why Dallas? The metro area has added more than 10,000 manufacturing jobs over the past 10 months. Yet the region still has more job vacancies than applicants, which is prompting a call for further automation.

In Texas as a whole, there are currently 0.8 unemployed persons per job opening, a gap that is especially pronounced in manufacturing. “Historically low labor participation rates in our area means manufacturers are often unable to staff their shifts,” said Nick Armenta, regional manager of Olympus Controls, a company that specializes in motion control, machine vision, and robotic technologies. Olympus is one of the event’s hosts. Other participants include Universal Robots and Mitsubishi Electric.
Armenta noted that 20 different automation companies will showcase a wide range of automation; from collaborative robots handling grueling sanding and polishing tasks, to vision-guided robotic arms picking up items using deep learning algorithms, along with applications for automated machine loading, laser marking, and much more.

One participating company, Alexandria Industries, has made major shifts to automation in response to worker shortages. The company has robotically automated 40% of its work centers “Knowing what’s out there makes our automation journey easier,” said Scott Paulk, engineering manager with Alexandria Industries. “We sometimes struggle with hiring skilled labor. Automation helps offset this by enabling us to reallocate resources. Another benefit of robots is they get the younger generation intrigued.”

Aircraft Tooling Inc., a Dallas-based repair center for the aviation industry also attending the event, was surprised to find that collaborative robots could withstand the high temperatures and harsh environments while performing plasma spray processes, a task their employees are now freed from performing. Thermal spray supervisor at Aircraft Tooling, Juan Puente, noted that the cobot won the hearts of the workers when they saw the robot operate reliably in the spray booth’s extremely hot and dusty environment. “We were very surprised. I thought the robot wouldn’t be able to stand it.”

Armenta from Olympus Controls said he looks forward to surprising more Texan manufacturers. “Unlike most of the American economy, manufacturing requires your physical presence. Knowing the local talent can radically enhance your capabilities,” he said. “By bringing Waves of Innovation to Dallas, we are illuminating both the developing and established talent we already have here in Texas.”

Waves of Innovation Exhibitors

Other exhibitors include Apex Dynamics, Asyril, Cobot Depot, Copley Controls, Datalogic, Dorner Conveyors, Epson Robots, Flexxbotics, Kane Robotics, Mecademic, National Tooling and Machining Association, Nidec Corporation, Olympus Controls, Panasonic, Robotiq, Robotunits, Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC), Spira Vision, University of Texas at Arlington, and Zebra Robotics.

The event is free to attend: Register here.

About the Author(s)

Rob Spiegel

Rob Spiegel serves as a senior editor for Design News. He started with Design News in 2002 as a freelancer and hired on full-time in 2011. He covers automation, manufacturing, 3D printing, robotics, AI, and more.

Prior to Design News, he worked as a senior editor for Electronic News and Ecommerce Business. He has contributed to a wide range of industrial technology publications, including Automation World, Supply Chain Management Review, and Logistics Management. He is the author of six books.

Before covering technology, Rob spent 10 years as publisher and owner of Chile Pepper Magazine, a national consumer food publication.

As well as writing for Design News, Rob also participates in IME shows, webinars, and ebooks.

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