Posts Tagged ‘Rapid Manufacturing’

ATETV Episode 40: A Closer Look at 3D Design, Data Storage and Drug Development

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

This week, we focus on three of today’s fast-growing industries – Rapid Manufacturing, Information Technology and Biomanufacturing.

In our first segment, we visit Saddleback College where students in the Rapid Manufacturing program are turning their two-dimensional ideas into intricate 3D product prototypes.

“The equipment you see in the school’s laboratory is the same equipment used by industry,” says Saddleback’s Ed Tackett. And it’s the program’s hands-on approach to education and training that has proven critical to its success.

“We let [students] make mistakes,” adds Ken Patton. “That way they learn and they don’t forget.” That’s especially important to today’s employers, as companies work to bring their high-end manufacturing design and tooling back from overseas.

“We’ve had offers from companies to hire our entire class sight unseen because of our approach to teaching technicians how to work in an industrial environment,” says Ken. “Part of the fun and excitement we have is the ‘wow’ factor every time we walk into the lab.”

Information Technology is another industry where jobs are growing rapidly – even exponentially — as we learn in our second segment.

“Anybody who needs to keep data – which is just about everybody nowadays – are our customers,” explains Todd Matthews of EMC Corporation, one of the world’s largest data storage companies. So whether it’s banking records, medical information or online photos and e-mail accounts, or any of the myriad data we use each day, it all has to be stored – and stored securely.

And, says Todd, this is only the beginning. “More digital data will be created in the next two years than was produced in the last 10. Wouldn’t you want to be working in that type of industry? It’s growing exponentially.” Wow, that’s an impressive statistic.

Finally, the week’s third segment explores pharmaceutical development, another fast-growing industry. And, as Great Bay Community College student Matthew Dobben explains, the process required to bring a new drug to market begins with Biomanufacturing, a specialized type of manufacturing technology used to produce biological agents.

“In this lab, we produce the proteins that are used by the pharmaceuticals to create drugs,” says Matthew, who is enrolled in Great Bay’s Biomanufacturing Technology program. “[And this other] area involves recombinant DNA technology, while next door we research and use a process known as chromatography, which is purification.”

The highly technical skill sets needed to produce these biological materials require careful organization and attention to detail. But, as Matthew notes, it all begins with a love of science. “You need to know what you’re talking about [when] you’re considering millions of dollars worth of [new] drugs.” Wow – that’s a great challenge and tremendous responsibility.

ATETV Episode 25: Technology and Real-Life Applications

Monday, March 8th, 2010

This week, we look at ways that community colleges are working hand-in-hand with industry to create curriculum that will enable students to “hit the ground running” upon graduation.

In our first segment, we visit Stark State College, where a two-year associate’s degree in fuel cell technology incorporates mathematics, chemisty and physics, as well as specialized fuel cell curriculum, as part of an overall mechnical engineering program.

“We are very tight with business, so we listen very closely to their needs,” explains Stark State’s Dennis Trenger. “Our curriculum provides as broad of a picture as we can paint right now, because this field is constantly changing.”

In addition to the two-year degree program, Stark State also offers students the option of a one-year certificate program in fuel cell technology. “Perhaps students have already been out in the field and have some mechanical engineering skills or even electrical engineering skills,” says Dennis. “With this certificate program they could come back and take our fuel cell courses to actually move them in a little different direction in their careers.”

For student Dena Mayhorn, the certificate program is proving to be exactly the right fit for her needs after 20 years of employment with Acura. “I feel that fuel cell technology is going to be used in many areas, including the automotive industry. This program is a great way to get exposed to some of these new technologies.”

As we see in our second segment, Saddleback College’s partnerships with industry are providing students with state-of-the-art education in rapid manufacturing, the field that enables companies to create three-dimensional computer models of real-world objects in advance of product development.

For the industries of today to be globally competitive, they need people with skills that can drive a product to market in a very short period of time. “Many of today’s companies, particularly the Fortune 50s that are involved with our [Rapid Tech program] are interested in bringing their high-end manufacturing design and tooling back from overseas,” says Saddleback’s Ken Patton. “This is going to create high-wage jobs here in the U.S.”

And graduates of Saddleback’s Rapid Manufacturing program — which provides students with the same experiences they will encounter in the work world — will be ready for these opportunities.

“Our students have to come up with a product that they think is manufacturable and sellable,” explains Saddleback’s Ed Tackett. “They have to conduct market research, develop a business plan, do multiple iterations using the different technologies in the lab and then present their report to an industry panel that we invite in at the end of each semester.”

As this week’s episode illustrates, college programs that partner with industry give students the added benefits of real-life applications, providing them with an important edge they enter today’s competitive job market.