June 6, 2013 — Boy Scouts Troop 91 of Morristown, TN visited the ViAm plant this past April to see “real- life” robots in action before they embarked on their Robotics Merit Badge project of building a robot of their own. The instructional tour was organized by ViAm’s John Heckman, Electrical Engineer and Lean Projects/Safety Coordinator, and Tom Taylor, Electrical Maintenance. Both colleagues are Assistant Scout- masters for Troop 91. The Scouts were shown two different types of robots at the plant, the 6-axis robot arm for loading pallets and the automatic-guided vehicles with laser sensors for roll handles.
“The boys were real excited to see the robots in action,” said Heckman. “For some this was their first time in a manufacturing facility. We showed them the robots to understand safety, explain how they work and give them ideas in building their own robot.”
The Scouts are currently in the middle of building two different robots to earn their Robotics Merit Badge. Troop 91 Scoutmaster Larry Swinson commented that the skill of Mr. Heckman and Mr. Taylor made them excellent instructors for the tour. “They both have vast knowledge and great teaching skills,” he said.
Troop 91 visits ViAm for an instructional tour on robotics.
Heckman, a former Boy Scout himself and Scout leader for over 10 years is the lead instructor for the Ro- botics Merit Badge. His son is a current member of the troop and is a Life Scout, working on achieving the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout. Taylor is presently the lead instructor for the Fishing Merit Badge. His son is also a member of the troop and achieved his Eagle Scout rank in 2008.
John Heckman and Tom Taylor show the Scouts the 6-axis robot arm.