Brandon Cornthwaite
President, International Society of Automation Calgary

Mediaplanet: What is automation?  

Brandon Cornthwaite: The use of various control systems for operating equipment, such as machinery, processes in factories, boilers and heat treating ovens, switching in telephone networks, steering and stabilization of ships, aircraft, and other applications with minimal or reduced human intervention. Some processes have been completely automated.

MP: How has automation changed and supported the manufacturing industry in Alberta in recent years?

BC: Thanks to the advancements in technology, we have moved from rudimentary automation from the past to advanced digital systems. Automation is being supported through various suppliers by ways of training and literature on the new technologies available.

MP: What role will automation play in the manufacturing industry in the coming years for Alberta?

BC: A very important role. As Alberta is now in the global view, it will assist companies to become more efficient and adhere to quality standards.

MP: What is one technology or development in automation that is cutting edge and will or has had the largest impact on manufacturing? 

BC: There really is not just one technology or development that is cutting edge in automation, but one that does come to mind is the new advancements in embedded intelligence within equipment.

MP: Why is automation integral to manufacturing and to Alberta? 

Thanks to the advancements in technology, we have moved from rudimentary automation from the past to advanced digital systems. 

BC: To meet the demands of our global market, we will have to deliver 24/7, and due to the lack of qualified labour, we will not be able to meet the quotas this means that automation will be an integral part of our future.

MP: What exciting careers are there currently in automation and how does one get involved? 

BC: There are too many to list, but again, one that comes to mind is Automation Control Specialist. This can lead you into programming, design, and many avenues in the various market sectors. The best way to involved is to attend a Technical School (e.g. SAIT or NAIT), and University. Join your local Automation Society and even use LinkedIn. Again, there are many avenues.