Category Archives: Automation

MCMA Launches Motion Control Certification for Professionals

ANN ARBOR — The Motion Control and Motor Association (MCMA), the largest association in North America dedicated to advancing the motion control and related automation technologies, announced the launch of the MCMA Certified Motion Control Professional program.

The certification program is designed to help individuals working with motion control, motors, and automation technologies obtain the core knowledge required to work in today’s competitive job market.

People can earn basic level certification by taking a series of training courses and passing a written exam. The exam will be administered for the first time during the Automate show and conference, April 3-6 at McCormick Place in Chicago. The training will also be offered in Chicago.

The Certified Motion Control Professional basic level training is taught by expert instructors from industry. The courses cover fundamental topics including machine design, the physics of motion, mechanical motion control components and subsystems, inertia and reflected inertia, magnetism and motor basics, positioner selection and motor sizing, digital servo amplifiers, motion controllers, programming, and system design basics.

“The motion control industry suppliers provide training to their customer base and they asked MCMA to develop and deliver the fundamental training, so they could focus their training efforts on the specific components and systems they produce,” said Dana Whalls, vice president of MCMA.

“We’re proud to bring our Motion Control Professional Certification program to the industry,” said John Payne, vice president of Yaskawa America’s Motion Division and past MCMA board chair. MCMA spent two years developing the curriculum and certification program. “The industry needed a high-quality basic motion control training program and we think that end-users and industry professionals alike will benefit from it.”

Certified professionals receive a personalized certificate and are listed on Motion Control Online. Basic level certification is valid for 5 years.

“The technological advances and growing demand for motion control technologies has broadened the range of the skills needed to be successful,” added Whalls. “Today’s job market calls for greater specialization and the motion control field is no exception. Adding certification to your portfolio showcases your technical proficiency and gives you and the company you work for a competitive marketplace advantage.”

MCMA will develop an advanced level training and certification in the future. Their goal is to provide the training in person and online to broaden the global availability of the program.

To learn more about the certification program or to register for the training and exam, visit

MCMA’s 230 members include suppliers of raw and finished materials, manufacturers of motors and motion control components and systems, system integrators, distributors, end users, consulting firms, academic institutions and research groups directly involved with motion control around the world. MCMA is part of the Association for Advancing Automation, which also includes the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) and AIA – Advancing Vision + Imaging.

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Record Number of Robots Ordered in First Half of 2016

ANN ARBOR — The North American automation industry has set new records to begin 2016, according to the Association for Advancing Automation, the industry’s Ann Arbor-based trade group.

A3 tracks the robotics, machine vision and motion control markets for its three member organizations, the Robotic Industries Association, AIA – Advancing Vision + Imaging, and the Motion Control & Motor Association.

A3 is at its highest membership level ever, welcoming 119 new member companies so far in 2016. A3 now represents 965 member companies directly involved with robotics, vision, motion control and motors.

Robot Statistics

A total of 14,583 robots valued at approximately $817 million were ordered from North American companies during the first half of 2016. The number of units ordered in the first six months marks a new record to begin the year, growing 2 percent over the same period in 2015, which held the previous record. Order revenue decreased slightly by three percent in the first half of 2016. In the same time, 13,620 robots valued at $838 million were shipped to North American customers. These figures represent the second highest total for units shipped and a new record for shipment revenue in the first half of a year.

The number of robots ordered by automakers and suppliers rose 16 percent and 4 percent respectively to begin the year, and was the largest driver of the market’s record performance. Similarly, the food and consumer goods industry soared in the first half of the year, ordering 41 percent more robots than the same period in 2015. Total orders to all other non-automotive industries fell 14 percent. In terms of applications, the biggest increases were realized in inspection (69 percent), assembly (38 percent), and spot welding (21 percent). RIA estimates that some 265,000 robots are now at use in North American factories, which is third to only Japan and China.

“The robotics industry is thriving today as more companies of all sizes are realizing the benefits of automation,” said Jeff Burnstein, A3 president. “The increasing functionality, flexibility, affordability and safety of robots today contributes to how this dynamic market is reshaping the global manufacturing landscape.”

Motion Control & Motor Statistics

Global shipments for motion control products grew 3 percent to $1.54 billion in the first half of 2016.

“The encouraging first half performance was largely driven by growth in three important product categories,” said Alex Shikany, MCMA Director of Market Analysis. “Two of the largest segments we track, actuators/mechanical systems (up 11 percent and electronic drives (up 8 percent), saw strong growth in the first half of the year. Motion controllers, one of the hottest current product markets, also increased by eight percent in the first half of 2016.”

The second quarter of 2016 increased on a year over year basis 5 percent to $820 million. The categories which grew the most in the second quarter were electronic drives (up 16 percent), actuators and mechanical systems (up 12 percent, and motion controllers (up 11 percent). Additionally, the latest MCMA survey of motion control and motor suppliers revealed that the majority of industry experts believe the market will increase in the next six months.

Vision & Imaging Statistics

The machine vision market entered 2016 on the heels of two consecutive record-setting years for sales in North America. Despite a 7 percent cyclical contraction in the first half of the year to $1.1 billion, which was largely tied to the stagnation in the semiconductor industry, the machine vision market in North America remains a key growth segment within the booming automation landscape.

As the “eyes” of emerging smart-factories and robotic systems, machine vision is critical to the success of next-generation automation solutions. Products such as smart cameras, which are complete vision systems contained within the same camera enclosure, are opening new application areas for manufacturers. In North America, the smart camera category has grown four percent year over year to $157 million in the first half of 2016.

Statistics from the second quarter of 2016 indicate that the cyclical slowdown this market experienced to begin the year is subsiding. For example, machine vision systems (which includes smart cameras and application specific machine vision systems) grew seven percent to $495 million, compared to the first quarter of 2016. Similarly, machine vision component markets, which includes cameras, lighting, optics, imaging boards, and software, grew two percent to $80 million. Correspondingly, total machine vision sales in the second quarter of 2016 increased six percent over the first quarter.

Burnstein also noted that A3 is seeing the growing demand for machine vision, robotics, and related automation in events like the upcoming Automate 2017 trade show.

“The exhibit floor at Automate 2017 is expected to be significantly larger than our 2015 event,” he said. “This growth is attributed to the fact that leading automation companies are reaching out to small and medium sized customers. These companies, many of whom are just now beginning to explore automation, make up the core of the Automate 2017 attendee base.”

Automate 2017, the industry’s trade conference, will take place April 3-6 at McCormick Place in Chicago. For details on Automate, which is held every two years, visit

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Webb’s SmartCart Featured In Auto Application

FARMINGTON HILLS — Jervis B. Webb Co. announced Friday that its SmartCart automatic guided cart system has been featured in a cover story in the trade publication Modern Material Handling about the automotive supplier Magna Internatinoal.

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