Launched in Fall 2016, the new automation minor program is giving students hands-on experience that will prove invaluable in the
“It’s a program that was recommended by our advisory board,” says Dr. Elke Howe, chair of the Engineering Technology department. “Even if some manufacturing companies aren’t automated yet, it’s bound to happen in the years to come.”
The 18-credit-hour minor gives students experience with equipment and techniques that can simulate how products are made as well as to develop improvement processes. Last year, Leggett & Platt’s Automotive Group donated a new industrial robot in support of the program.
“We’ve got some good equipment,” says James March, an assistant professor in the Engineering Technology program. “We have the robot and a CNC (Computer Numerically Controlleed) machine for the automatic fabrication of parts, and a manufacturing cell integrated with conveyors, inspection devices and sensors for semi-realistic manufacturing.
“A lot of companies both locally and nationally need skilled people who are able to install, design, operate and maintain automatic equipment. With electronics becoming cheaper, automation is definitely becoming much more prevalent in industry.”