Automation Federation collaborates with MEP

Research Triangle Park, N.C. - The Automation Federation has announced an agreement with the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to begin formal collaboration discussions focused on the identification of projects and opportunities to improve manufacturing productivity and competitiveness.

The Automation Federation, comprising ISA, OMAC, WBF and WINA, works to spread the word about the importance of automation professionals in the manufacturing sector. MEP is a program coordinated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is a nationwide system to help manufacturers grow and thrive by improving efficiency and converting emerging trends into new pportunities.

MEP, with over 440 centers and field offices across the country, povides expertise and services tailored to meet manufacturers most ritical needs, ranging from process improvements and worker training to usiness growth and technology applications. MEP helps manufacturers leverage competitive advantages, such as automation and its related technologies and innovations.

Through this collaboration, the Automation Federation plans to bring education, training, and professional development opportunities to local MEP centers and provide enhanced outreach and communication initiatives for MEP activities. The Federation also will continue its efforts to promulgate standards that help manufacturers develop more efficient processes.

As part of the Federation's government relations strategy, the organization will serve as an advocate for manufacturers. In addition, the Federation's workforce development program will give the MEP centers an outlet for their work to develop the next generation of automation professionals in their own states.

"We're excited to bring the value of the Automation Federation to more companies in each state through our collaboration with the MEP program," said Automation Federation Managing Director Bruno Kisala. "We're enhancing their ability to respond to the automation needs of U.S.manufacturers, and the depth and breadth of the MEP network will significantly improve our ability to accomplish our goals."

Further discussions will begin soon to focus attention on key areas where the Automation Federation, its member organizations and the MEP can work together. The Federation has been invited to participate in the 2008 MEP national conference in Orlando, and MEP Director Roger Kilmer will serve as a keynote speaker for the WBF North American Conference in 2008. With its theme of "Shaping the Future of Manufacturing", the 2008 WBF North American Conference will provide a greater understanding of current and upcoming manufacturing management, integration, and control methods and technologies.

"The alliance between the Federation and the MEP is an important step forward in our effort to be the voice of automation. It will spread our message about the importance of automation professionals to a broader and more focused audience," said AF Board Member and ISA Executive Director and CEO Patrick Gouhin.

The two organizations plan to share knowledge and information with each group's members via web links, white papers, newsletters, and other media. The Federation is currently collaborating on various projects with MEP centers in North Carolina and Tennessee, with additional projects to be developed with more MEP centers as the partnership evolves.

"We are pleased to team with the Automation Federation to help manufacturers around the country to be competitive in a global marketplace," said MEP Director Roger Kilmer.

"The Automation Federation has stepped forward to be an active advocate for automation professionals here in the United States and around the world, and this alliance is just one more activity that the Federation is working on for the industry," stated Kisala.

For more information about the Automation Federation, visit www.automationfederation.org.

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