June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.916.1 - 10.916.12
Manufacturing Automation Education for Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Technology Jerry Gintz, Scott Danielson
Arizona State University
Abstract With global competitiveness as the motivation, industry and academia must join forces to eliminate competency gaps in the capabilities of engineering technology graduates. Manufacturing automation and its specialized machinery are often the realm of manufacturing and mechanical engineering technology graduates. This paper discusses the approach developed by the mechanical and manufacturing engineering technology programs at Arizona State University to address a critical competency gap, one dealing with manufacturing automation (as identified by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers). The six courses composing the automation concentration of ASU’s Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology degree are briefly described. A more detailed description of the MET 451, Introduction to Automation, course is also provided. The course’s content and the accompanying laboratory equipment are described. Due to the industrial partners’ donations, the laboratory is based on full-scale, standard industry components.
Introduction As the U.S. manufacturing industry continues its quest for increasing efficiencies and reducing operating costs in this global marketplace, it is turning to automation as the means to that end. Industrial automation and related technologies have evolved from their initial introduction into the factory. As one aspect of this evolution, the microprocessor is now a staple of the modern manufacturing enterprise. As a result, the responsibilities of today’s manufacturing engineers have broadened and become more diverse. The once clearly defined boundaries of responsibilities between engineering disciplines has blurred as industry continuously pushes for higher efficiencies and reduced operating costs. This is especially true as companies consolidate their workforce, requiring mechanical and manufacturing engineers to adapt to technologies traditionally supported by their electrical engineering counterparts.
The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) documented this need in their publication Manufacturing Education Plan: 1999 Critical Competency Gaps1. The application of automation principles is one of the eight categories identified as “well below” expectations in the skill set of graduates. Thirty one percent of the survey respondents indicate some level of dissatisfaction with the ability of recently hired engineering graduates to interface with automated manufacturing systems. Personnel needs in automation are not really new. Kelly commented in 1988 that individuals who “can integrate the elements, build the links and establish the material and data highways that support the transport of product from design through marketing”2 were needed. The engineering workforce must draw from multiple disciplines and skills to become the system integrators, bridging the activities of product marketing, process development and, ultimately, production.
“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”
Danielson, S., & Gintz, J. (2005, June), Manufacturing Automation Education For Mechanical And Manufacturing Engineering Technology Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/15202
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