Robotics training at Bridgerland ATC will benefit Autoliv

Dec 12 2013 - 8:20pm

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Autoliv Plant Manager Brian Hyde and Utah's Lt. Governor Spencer Cox talk about the Department of Workforce Services' recent grants to local colleges to improve robotic technology education at the airbag manufacturing plant on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013. Autoliv is known for using robotic equipment in their assembly. (KELLY KEITER/Standard-Examiner)
Robots at Autoliv airbag manufacturing plant in Brigham City help speed up production by doing most of the assembly. The Utah Department of Workforce Service's Cluster Acceleration Partnership is providing grants to higher education programs to help students prepare to work with robotics when they graduate. (KELLY KEITER/Standard-Examiner)
Staff at Autoliv in Brigham City put smocks on in preparation to tour the plant. Plant Manager Brian Hyde gave Lt. Governor of Utah Spencer Cox a tour of the facilities after the Department of Workforce Services gave approval for grants to technology colleges across the state. (KELLY KEITER/Standard-Examiner)
Robots at Autoliv airbag manufacturing plant in Brigham City help speed up production by doing most of the assembly. The Utah Department of Workforce Service's Cluster Acceleration Partnership is providing grants to higher education programs to help students prepare to work with robotics when they graduate. (KELLY KEITER/Standard-Examiner)
Robots, like this one at Autoliv airbag manufacturing plant in Brigham City, speed up production by doing most of the assembly. The Utah Department of Workforce Service's Cluster Acceleration Partnership is providing grants to higher education programs to equip students with the skills they need to work with robotics when they graduate. (KELLY KEITER/Standard-Examiner)
Autoliv Plant Manager Brian Hyde and Utah's Lt. Governor Spencer Cox talk about the Department of Workforce Services' recent grants to local colleges to improve robotic technology education at the airbag manufacturing plant on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013. Autoliv is known for using robotic equipment in their assembly. (KELLY KEITER/Standard-Examiner)
Robots at Autoliv airbag manufacturing plant in Brigham City help speed up production by doing most of the assembly. The Utah Department of Workforce Service's Cluster Acceleration Partnership is providing grants to higher education programs to help students prepare to work with robotics when they graduate. (KELLY KEITER/Standard-Examiner)
Staff at Autoliv in Brigham City put smocks on in preparation to tour the plant. Plant Manager Brian Hyde gave Lt. Governor of Utah Spencer Cox a tour of the facilities after the Department of Workforce Services gave approval for grants to technology colleges across the state. (KELLY KEITER/Standard-Examiner)
Robots at Autoliv airbag manufacturing plant in Brigham City help speed up production by doing most of the assembly. The Utah Department of Workforce Service's Cluster Acceleration Partnership is providing grants to higher education programs to help students prepare to work with robotics when they graduate. (KELLY KEITER/Standard-Examiner)
Robots, like this one at Autoliv airbag manufacturing plant in Brigham City, speed up production by doing most of the assembly. The Utah Department of Workforce Service's Cluster Acceleration Partnership is providing grants to higher education programs to equip students with the skills they need to work with robotics when they graduate. (KELLY KEITER/Standard-Examiner)

BRIGHAM CITY -- State officials toured the Autoliv airbag plant here Thursday to showcase the state's unique government partnership designed to fill the growing demand for hi-tech manufacturing jobs.

"That's what I'm so excited about here," tour headliner Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said of the job growth and UCAP, the job-filling partnership. "We're the envy of the rest of the country."

UCAP, for Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership, most recently provided a $175,000 grant to the Bridgerland Applied Technology College, with campuses in Logan and Brigham, for robotics training, specifically, officials said, to help Autoliv get the skilled help needed to run its hundreds of robotic units.

UCAP, formed last year, consists of the Utah System of Higher Education, the Governor's Office of Economic Development, and the state Department of Workforce Services. GOED polls employers for their needs, higher ed picks the schools to meet those needs, and workforce services provides them grants as needed, officials explained, such as the $175,000 grant for Bridgerland ATC. 

"We challenged higher education to think outside the box," Cox said. "Ivory tower is important, but it's not the best model for economic development."

From the $175,000 grant, the Brigham ATC campus is slated to get its first robotics machine, a $22,000 unit similar to the robo-workers performing on the assembly floor Thursday for the tour group.

Autoliv was also showcased, of course, a rare glimpse inside the global airbag leader, with plants in 29 countries, waiving its usual posted ban on photography on the assembly floor. Now headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, its first plant opened in Ogden in 1982, officials said, with the Promontory and Tremonton plants in Box Elder County among those following in subsequent years. 

Some 41 state and local officials and media were escorted by a dozen Autoliv staff and management through the maze of hi-tech that officials said produces 1 million inflators a week, the small explosive device that detonates to fill airbags. That's all the Brigham plant's 1,100 employees make, Plant Manager Bryan Hyde said.

Mike Quayle, the human resource director, said the Brigham plant is running three shifts a day, seven days a  week, as is the Tremonton plant to make "initiators," the unit that ignites the inflators.

Contact reporter Tim Gurrister at 801-625-4238, tgurrister@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @tgurrister.

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