Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Association for Advancing Automation turns 50 in 2024

January 17, 2024
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

The first president of the association, Don Vincent, and Jeff Burnstein, who took over the role in 2007 and still leads A3 today, discuss robot sales in 1987. (Photo A3)
The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024. A3 now represents more than 1280 member companies.
“The success of A3 for the past five decades is directly attributable to the unflagging support of our members, the incredible advances in automation technology, and the resilience and talent of the team we’ve assembled,” said Jeff Burnstein, who joined A3 in 1983 and has served as president of the association since 2007. “The last few years have been an especially exciting time as the use of robotics and other forms of automation has hit record levels. We expect the next 50 years to be even busier for our organization as we support our member companies and users as they continue to embrace automation. We look forward to commemorating a legacy of innovation and progress all year, but especially as the industry gathers in Chicago this May for the Automate Show.”
A3 was established in 1974 as the Robot Institute of America (RIA). It was founded by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (now SME) and headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan. The first Robots Show, now known as Automate, took place in 1976, co-located with the Assemblex III show. In 1982, RIA separated from SME, changing its name to the Robotic Industries Association. In 1984, RIA began publishing the first industrial robot sales statistics. In 1986, RIA published the first Robot Safety Standard (R15.06).
The association moved its headquarters to Ann Arbor in 1986. Over the years, it began adding support for other automation technologies with the AIA-Advancing Vision + Imaging and Motion Control and Motors Association (MCMA). Those separate associations remained until 2021 when A3 merged RIA, AIA, MCMA and A3 Mexico into one association while adding a new Artificial Intelligence group to help industrial automation companies navigate the AI landscape. In the same year, became the official home of the unified A3.
“While the name of our association has changed over the years, what has never wavered is our mission of bringing vendors and users together to take advantage of the productivity and efficiency benefits robotics and automation enable,” Burnstein said. “I’ve had a front-row seat to the growth of the industry for more than 40 years and expect even greater growth as more industries facing labour shortage and efficiency issues recognize what robotics and automation can do to help them succeed.”

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