System integration certification programs help advance automation growth
Two system integrator company certification programs introduced in 2012 are steadily gaining momentum and are positively impacting the automation industry. The Robotic Industries Association’s Certified Robot Integrator program and the AIA’s Certified System Integrator program are helping to raise the quality bar for system integration in automation.
These programs were developed in cooperation with end users of automation technologies and the system integration companies that largely develop, install, and support automation across a broad spectrum of industries. The end-user community wanted assistance in understanding the qualifications they should expect from their system integrator vendors. The experienced system integrators needed help differentiating themselves from the growing list of start-up companies in the field offering system integration.
RIA, the leading trade association for the robotics industry, and AIA, the global trade group representing machine vision and imaging, were perfectly aligned to help champion this program. Both associations represent suppliers, system integrators, distributors, and end users of their respective automation technologies. These programs are a win-win for the whole industry as more companies strive to achieve certification, skill levels are raised, and project success increases. This in turn raises trust in automation solutions and results in increased investment in automation. And finally, increased use of automation technologies helps companies become stronger global competitors and supports their growing success.
The RIA Certified Robot Integrator program is an audit-based program. Applicants provide detail on their business practices, capabilities, and experience. An on-site audit of the company verifies all of the application data and then administers individual personnel testing to verify the knowledge, skills, and experience of the company’s technicians. Personnel who pass the skills testing can earn one of two status levels: Certified Robotic Technician or Certified Expert Robotic Technician. Companies must re-certify every two years. Currently there are 19 RIA Certified Robot Integrators: Applied Manufacturing Technologies; Automation IG; Ellison Technologies Automation; Factory Automation Systems, Inc.; Genesis Systems Group, LLC; Intelligrated Systems, Inc.; JR Automation Technologies, LLC; Lincoln Electric, Automation Division; Midwest Engineering Systems; Motion Controls Robotics, Inc.; PRE-TEC, a Division of Willamette Valley Company; Progressive Machine & Design, LLC; QComp Technologies, Inc.; Rimrock Corporation; Schneider Packaging Equipment Company; Tech-Con Automation Incorporated; Tennessee Rand Company; Wolf Robotics; and Wynright Corporation. The updated list can be found at: www.robotics.org/CRI.
Machine vision expertise
The AIA Certified System Integrator program is a required training/testing and reference-based program. Certification requires that a percentage of your technically competent vision professionals achieve Advanced Level Certified Vision Professional (CVP) status through AIA. Applicants also provide recent project details and references, which AIA verifies and documents. Any claims of specialized industry experience also must be backed up with verified successful experience. Companies must re-certify every three years. The CVP program consists of training and testing and offers Basic and Advanced levels. The individual CVP training is not exclusive to the company certification program and is offered at various locations throughout the world. There are currently 154 Basic CVPs and 58 Advanced CVPs. There are currently eight AIA Certified System Integrator companies: ATS Automation; Graftek Imaging Inc.; i4Solutions, LLC; Integro Technologies Corporation; LEONI Vision Solutions; Ponfac S/A; Radix, Inc.; and Vista Solutions, Inc. The updated list can be found at: www.visiononline.org/CSI.
RIA and AIA together have nearly 100 system integrator members, and many will go through the certification process in the near future. End users still need to conduct their own due diligence on the suppliers they select; the associations cannot guarantee the work of any integrator or recommend which integrators to choose.
– Dana Whalls is vice president of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), the umbrella organization for Robotic Industries Association (RIA), AIA – Advancing Vision + Imaging, and Motion Control Association (MCA). Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full details on the programs, plus information on integrator companies that you can work with on your next project or information on getting your company certified, can be found here:
A3 is the umbrella group for Robotic Industries Association (RIA), AIA – Advancing Vision + Imaging, and Motion Control Association (MCA). RIA, AIA, and MCA combined represent some 700 automation manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, research groups, and consulting firms from throughout the world that drive automation forward. For more information on A3, visit www.a3automate.org. For information on MCA, visit Motion Control Online at www.motioncontrolonline.org.