Sarasota, Fla. (July 18, 2023)–The Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab (Fab Lab), local nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) education, is embarking on a new partnership with RND Automation, Florida’s largest custom robotics, packaging and assembly machinery manufacturer. The collaboration aims to increase exposure to STEAM careers by offering enhanced learning opportunities and access to the world of robotics and beyond for students across Sarasota County.
The relationship between the Fab Lab and RND Automation signifies a powerful alliance between education and industry, highlighting the importance of fostering interest and skills in STEAM areas from an early age. By leveraging the expertise and resources of both organizations, students will be empowered to gain firsthand experience and practical knowledge in robotics, automation, and other fields.
“RND Automation is delighted to collaborate with the Fab Lab, a timely partnership as RND moves beyond its initial objective of broadening its reach nationally and internationally. This expansion now includes an emphasis on fostering technological growth within our community and contributing to its wellbeing,” said Aaron Laine, VP of Operations for RND Automation. “Our focus is primarily on creating job opportunities for local students in their hometown. Sarasota and Manatee counties are already celebrated for various facets such as arts, business, and tourism. RND’s initiative with the Fab Lab represents our endeavor to include ‘technology’ among these recognized attributes.”
To kick off the partnership, RND Automation generously loaned a FANUC robotic arm to the Fab Lab for testing and learning. The robotic arm has already been programmed by summer camp student instructors for use in the lab’s Machine Madness camps as well as used in the lab’s BUILD program that teaches high school volunteers to use high-tech equipment to bring projects to life. BUILD volunteers spent 15 hours learning how to program the arm and designing and 3D printing custom tool heads to seamlessly integrate into the robot. Among the tools built were an adapter that turns the robot into a pencil sharpener as well as a marker adapter that allows the robot to draw perfect shapes. The robotic arm has ignited curiosity and interest in the applications of robotics among a diverse group of Fab Lab visitors.
Plans are underway to deepen the partnership by providing students with opportunities to work on real-world automation projects at the Fab Lab with support from industry experts who work for RND Automation and other local companies. Additionally, RND Automation’s experts will actively engage with students by offering mentorship and shadowing programs, guest lectures, and opportunities to visit their facilities. By connecting students directly with professionals in the field, this partnership will expose them to real-world applications and career possibilities in STEM earlier than ever.
“We are excited to join forces with RND Automation to bring a new level of engagement and exposure to STEM education,” said Ping Faulhaber, Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab Executive Director. “This partnership represents a significant milestone for us as we strive to bridge the gap between academia and industry, equipping students with the skills they need to thrive in the future workforce.”
About the Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab
The Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab was founded with the mission to inspire and support tomorrow’s innovators through experiential learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Through its fabrication lab and innovative programs, the Suncoast Science Center encourages people of all ages to explore ideas, build skills and confidence, and become lifelong learners. To learn more, visit www.suncoastscience.org or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
About RND Automation
RND engineers, designs, and manufactures robotic, packaging and assembly automation equipment. Their offerings include horizontal and vertical form fill and seal machinery, automated assembly equipment, and robotic automation for the medical device, consumer product, and industrial device industries. Their expert consultation and analysis can help customers realize the vast benefits of automation. Automation can fundamentally change businesses by automating mundane tasks, freeing staff to focus on more challenging issues, and streamlining production which shortens time to market.