Northark becomes first FAST robotics training site in Arkansas

Tue Sep 10, 2019 at 02:57 PM

FANUC robotics logoNorth Arkansas College (Northark) in Harrison, Arkansas, has been designated as the first FANUC Authorized Satellite Training (FAST) Center for robotics training in the state of Arkansas. 

The announcement was made by Dr. Randy Esters, Northark president, to the Arkansas State Chamber and Associated Industries of Arkansas members during the September Door-to-Door meeting held at Northark. 

Northark becomes one of only 13 Centers in the U.S.  The nearest training locations are in Marietta, GA, Houston, TX, Hoffman Estates, IL and Tanner, AL.

 “We are always listening to our industry partners about how we can meet their current and future training needs,” Esters said. “Becoming a nationally recognized training center for FANUC is a huge step forward for our college and for the workforce efforts in Arkansas.”

FANUC America, based in Rochester Hills, Michigan is the leading supplier of robots and automation for manufacturing with over 24 million products installed worldwide.

Northark has offered robotics courses for over a decade taught by John Levy, Northark technical instructor who recently became a FANUC Certified FAST instructor.  Levy teaches students on six FANUC robots housed on the technical campus. “The FANUC Material Handling course is the basic class to prepare a student to operate and program the FANUC family of robots,” John says. “These robots are machines that are programmed to perform a series of repetitive motions.  These motions allow the robot to do the tasks that are required for the manufacturing process.”

Levy says students usually begin classes not knowing anything about how to operate a robot.  As the course progresses, he’s rewarded by watching the students become confident with the machines and start to create programs that produce a specific motion to accomplish a desired task of their design. 

James Horne, an Automation Specialist was working at Pace Industries and wanted to increase his skillset on FANUC robots. Pace Industries is an integrated tool and die company that was founded in Harrison in 1970. The company has grown to have 12 divisions, 21 manufacturing facilities and more than 4,000 associates across the U.S. and Mexico. James learned more about robotics at Northark and it has benefited him in his career. “We have automated virtually every cell in our Harrison facility with FANUC robots,” James says.  “Automation has enabled us to reduce labor costs, enhance quality through consistent processes, and reduce repetitive workplace injuries. The use of robotics has allowed us to convert some of our labor resources into a skilled labor force.”

Northark will offer four FAST training courses each year.  For more information about FAST robotics at Northark, call 870-391-3505 or visit

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