Asee peer logo

Manufacturing Automation Education For Mechanical And Manufacturing Engineering Technology

Download Paper |


2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Capstone/Design Projects: Electr-Mech ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.916.1 - 10.916.12



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Scott Danielson

author page

Jerry Gintz

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

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. 10.18260/1-2--15202

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015