Advanced Manufacturing Degrees that can Lead to a Future in the Carolinas
The manufacturing world of today looks very little like it did even 20 years ago, having been transformed, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, by advanced manufacturing technology, which is making it cleaner, "leaner and smarter" -- and which also may be inspiring an industrial revival in this country.
What Is Advanced Manufacturing Technology?
Advanced manufacturing technology is defined as the use of innovative scientific technology to improve processes or products.
The WSJ also mentions such companies as GE, 3D systems (3D printing industry), and Nike as leaders in the advanced manufacturing revival. However, the WSJ writer notes that while advanced manufacturing will increase efficiency and profits, it won't provide jobs such as those formerly known in manufacturing that required repetitive task work. Robotics is already replacing those jobs; the jobs that will open up due to advanced manufacturing will require more education and skills.
The transformation has even changed the face of today's shop floor, from dark, dangerous, and dirty to clean, lean (as in vastly more efficient), and high-tech. With these new, efficient centers of manufacturing offering challenging work to the highly skilled. As the economy has improved over the last few years, manufacturers have been investing more in robotics and other advanced technologies that boost this greater efficiency. Industries that are booming in this "revolution" are plastics and rubber, semiconductors and electronics, and metals. Industrial robots are also being used for material handling, assembly applications, and arc welding.
Among the technologies in addition to robotics that experts cite as contributing to the rise of advanced manufacturing are:
- information technology
- high performance computing for modeling, simulation and analysis
- sustainable and green processes and technologies
- control systems to monitor processes
No one definition encapsulates all there is to say about what advanced manufacturing is, but one thing is for sure: the definition will remain dynamic, changing as technology changes.
What Advanced Manufacturing Technology Won't Do
Increasing output and the gross domestic product (GDP) by improving efficiency will create some jobs and spur innovation. The thing it will not do is create the number or type of manufacturing jobs that existed in the past. Aging manufacturing workers will never see a return to those former times, but there will be opportunities for those who can adapt and embrace advanced technology.
Overcoming the "skills gap," where industries are looking to hire but require skills beyond those of low-tech manufacturing workers, is key to getting your foot in the door. Manufacturers are in many cases eager to help prospective workers overcome the skills gap, particularly as so many older workers are set to retire soon, leaving a depleted work force for manufacturing, producing, and distributing common products.
Your Future in Advanced Manufacturing Technology
One of the best ways to break into advanced manufacturing is by studying mechatronics. Mechatronics -- not exactly a household word but one that promises to be of increasing importance in advanced manufacturing technology -- combines principles of electronics engineering with those of mechanical and computerized systems to create manufacturing solutions for real world problems. Mechatronics could also be said to aim at creating a design process that unites all these fields into one, multi-faceted discipline.
Mechatronics technicians may help design or repair robotics, programmable controllers, or integrated systems. They can seek employment in a variety of industries, including these:
- defense industry
- manufacturing consumer goods
- product development
One possible avenue for breaking into the field is by earning a bachelor's degree in electronics engineering technology with a concentration in mechatronics. You will need to study courses in electronics and electrical engineering technology, control engineering, computer science, computer information systems, mathematics and physics, as well as advanced 3-D modeling and manufacturing processes.
Advanced Manufacturing in the Carolinas
The Carolinas were for many years well known for their concentration of manufacturing jobs, principally in textile mills and apparel. As those jobs disappeared, North and South Carolinas' departments of commerce have been keen to make the switch from low-tech manufacturing to advanced manufacturing, and have been working not only to create business incentives for manufacturers, but also to ensure there is a skilled work force to fill jobs. In South Carolina, manufacturing jobs have increased by nearly 16 percent, and the state is leading the nation in exports of passenger vehicles, tires, and ball and roller bearings, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
Once you obtain your bachelor's degree in this field, the Carolinas could be one of the best destinations to seek employment.
Are you interested in a future in advanced manufacturing? You’ll need the right education to make your dream come true. A Bachelor of Science Degree in Electronics Engineering Technology with a concentration in Mechatronics could be what you need to gain the skills employers are looking for. ECPI University offers this program at an accelerated rate. For more information, connect with a helpful admissions representative today.
It could be the Best Decision You Ever Make!
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Gainful Employment Information – Mechatronics - Bachelor’s