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David Vasko, Director, Advanced Technology, Rockwell Automation: When Science Meets Manufacturing, We Save Lives

While it’s not unusual for science and manufacturing to meet – what we’re poised to do now is unlike anything I’ve seen (or expected to see) in my 38-year career in engineering and manufacturing.


For years people have been working to bridge the chasm between research and commercial production.  Breakthrough innovation in the life sciences industry is needed to bring regenerative medicine technology to scale. Automating new biomanufacturing processes holds the promise of profoundly improving the quality of life for wounded servicemen and women, as well as for civilians needing healthy, new organs.

And now, as part of a public-private partnership, Rockwell Automation will bring together advances in manufacturing, biotech, medicine and life sciences and automate those new bio manufacturing processes to add a new chapter to medicine – a story that, as it unfolds, will integrate biomanufacturing science with production techniques that increase capacity, speed, modularity and quality..

Dean Kamen, inventor, entrepreneur and co-founder of FIRST (For Recognition and Recognition of Science and Technology), initiated the Manufacturing USA initiative: Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI).  

We’ve committed $10 million to ARMI to develop ways to scale up production of new technologies to produce tissues, such as growing artificial skin for grafts, which have been under development in labs around the country.

 This changes lives.

Through automation, we will help provide artificially-produced tissues and even whole organs to people with serious injuries or disease. 

Bringing powerhouses together for the greater good

Creating biomedical devices is not new. Dean is responsible for the iBot. Built in partnership with Toyota, it’s the first wheelchair that could climb stairs, traverse difficult surfaces and enable its users to “stand” eye-level with people.

Ours is the perfect partnership. Dean’s company focuses entirely on invention; Rockwell Automation brings manufacturing expertise as the world leader in industrial automation to go from the lab to cost-effective production.

This combination of expertise and innovation will result in amazing growth and opportunities in industrial biotechnology. What we’re doing here is a sign of things to come – hiring for jobs of the future, as technology and innovation keep pushing us forward into new and unfolding spaces. We will help to develop a new generation of skilled technicians, people with the skills to compete and win in new industries are critical to the future competitiveness of manufacturing.

This is amazing. It’s transformative. It’s the future.