RACINE — The future is now, and artificial intelligence is the driving ingredient in the move into the next phase of manufacturing and job creation.

Jay Lee, the keynote speaker during the Wednesday lunchtime session of the two-day Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, told an audience of 160 how Foxconn Technology Group and Gateway Technical College are innovators that will help fill the skills gap in Wisconsin.

“The future of industrial artificial intelligence will share the workplace and redefine the knowledge and skills required in the global competition for jobs,” said Lee, senior vice chairman for Foxconn’s Industrial Internet. “Gateway and Foxconn are partnering to provide career paths that support an advanced manufacturing ecosystem.”

Addressing an audience at Gateway’s Racine campus Wednesday, Lee, a noted expert in artificial intelligence and intelligent maintenance systems, described how Foxconn would be building the next phase of this technology that will employ analytics, and have effective ways to program, monitor and troubleshoot robotic and other types of automated manufacturing processes.

“This is what we will be building in Wisconsin,” he said.

He noted that artificial intelligence will have a higher phase of internet and would be an intuitive, interactive system.

Gateway on forefront

Lee noted that Gateway has been at the forefront of Manufacturing 4.0 — the next generation of production training — and has already begun training people to fill jobs in this new type of manufacturing.

Lee explained that the new system would help save time and promote more precise and faster manufacturing. It would also help reduce potential problems that are sometimes encountered in the manufacturing process.

“We need a systematic approach, not trial and error. AI can help us learn,” he said.

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Lee, the founding director of the NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center on Intelligent Maintenance Systems, has worked with more than 100 global companies. His mission has been to design predictive analytics and prognosis and health management for the transformation of an industrial internet.

“I want to make machines worry-free,” he explained. Lee noted the Foxconn already has eight factories worldwide that employ this technology.

The conference began Tuesday and has featured workshops, and discussions on workforce development and how to upskill the manufacturing workforce.

A model for Wisconsin

Roy Baker, who has earned several certifications in MSSC programs, was honored at the luncheon as an Outstanding Achievement Award winner.

He said the Wisconsin facility will be a “lights out factory” that will be a model for manufacturing in the state.

Lee stressed the importance of developing people who can become valuable employees in the new manufacturing process. “We can’t find an AI person,” he said. “When you can find one, they are not cheap.”

Training people with expertise can help develop more employees and reduce the skills gap.

He encourages more companies to embrace the new manufacturing technology.

“The future of industrial artificial intelligence will share the workplace and redefine the knowledge and skills required in the global competition for jobs.” Jay Lee, senior vice chairman for Foxconn’s Industrial Internet

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