Smart Manufacturing NSF Funding Demonstrates Collaboration Across College Programs

In late summer 2018, the Motlow State Community College (MSCC) in Tennessee and Mechatronics Professor Khalid Tantawi was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education project grant to advance Smart Manufacturing concepts. Joining that $545,000 grant project as a Co-Principal Investigator is Dr. Ismail Fidan, from Tennessee Tech University and a TEAMM Network member.

What is Smart Manufacturing?

In recent years, organizations, such as, The World Economic Forum has been studying the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” also known as Industry 4.0, or in the USA – “Smart Manufacturing.” It seeks to change how we currently manufacture by employing advanced sensors, computer controls, big data (and the modeling and analysis of it) and other automation technologies to make manufacturing more efficient.

According to a release from MSCC, “The project, titled “Smart Manufacturing for America’s Revolutionizing Technological Transformation” will feature Motlow as a national hub for training Smart Manufacturing for Mechatronics and Advanced Manufacturing educators across the nation.” You can learn more about it here.

Image Courtesy: Motlow State Community College

One of the successful aspects to many National Science Foundation grant projects is that the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program creates opportunities to collaborate across multiple educational institutions and disciplines as well as between professors at those schools.

The TEAMM Collaboration Network is a terrific example of this cross pollination with its diverse 30-plus network members across 2-year community colleges, 4-year colleges and universities, as well as other education, nonprofit, and corporate entities. The smart manufacturing project with Motlow is clearly an example as are programs like another Dr. Fidan project profile here on AM News: Additive Manufacturing – Workforce Advancement Training Coalition and Hub (AM-WATCH). Or head directly to Dr. Fidan’s profile which lists the many ways that he collaborates with and supports his colleagues at TTU, TEAMM Network Members and other institutions.

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To learn more about the larger ATE program, you can go here. But here is part of the summary of the program from the website:

With an emphasis on two-year Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs), the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program focuses on the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that drive our nation’s economy. The program involves partnerships between academic institutions (grades 7-12, IHEs) and industry to promote improvement in the education of science and engineering technicians at the undergraduate and secondary institution school levels. The ATE program supports curriculum development; professional development of college faculty and secondary school teachers; career pathways; and other activities. The program invites research proposals that advance the knowledge base related to technician education. It is expected that projects will be faculty driven and that courses and programs credit bearing, although materials developed may also be used for incumbent worker education.

SMARTT or Smart2 project team includes:

  • Khalid Tantawi:  Assistant Professor of Mechatronics in Motlow State Community College, Smyrna, TN
  •  Ismail Fidan: Professor of Manufacturing Engineering at Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN
  • Karen Birch: Professor at Tunxis Community College and director of the NSF ATE funded Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing, Connecticut.

The goals of the project will be to:

  • Create educational modules and workforce development tools on Smart Manufacturing
  • Identify the skill sets and needs of Smart Manufacturing professionals
  • Develop a repository that serves as a knowledge base for industry and STEM educators
  • Increase awareness about Smart Manufacturing
  • Develop a knowledge base of best practices for Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) site visits

Workforce Development and Training at Edmonds Community College

As 2019 gets into full swing, it is good to recap a few of the many contributions that materials technology education brings to our community. Edmonds Community College is home to the The National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education (MatEdU), The Facility makerspace, and a host of other programs and initiatives. In addition, it is where the Technician Education in Additive Manufacturing & Materials project, also known as TEAMM, sponsor of this AM News site, is based.

Materials Technology Education is a big focus at Edmonds and the recipient of nearly $11 Million in grant awards from the National Science Foundation (since 2000). The two nationally known projects listed and linked above are also augmented by many other Workforce Development and Training efforts in the region (the Edmonds Community College Workforce page is a good resource). Not all of them are specifically about additive manufacturing and materials science, our focus at AM News, but all of them serve to help students reach their goals for education and a career.

Some of the focus areas:

  • The M-STEM national workshop takes place at a different location each year offering educators and students a way to learn about or teach materials science.
  • The Veterans Resource Center (VRC) located on the second floor of Lynnwood Hall in Room 215, offers a variety of benefits for veterans starting or returning to college. Executive Director, Chris Szarek, recently joined in the special Veterans Day Weekend Guitar Building Institute Workshop, helping current students and community veterans as they practiced material science as they built electric guitars.
  • The Facility, one of the first makerspaces to give access to both Edmonds Community College students and area residents who want to utilize this cutting-edge manufacturing lab. It includes a Rapid Prototyping lab (3D printers and laser cutters), Autoclave, CNC Mills and Router, Computer Design Lab, and a Composites Lab; just to name a few of the machines available to students and community members. More informal training occurs in many of the courses offered as part of the user experience.

As 2019 steams forward, remember that Monroe Hall and many other efforts at Edmonds Community College are creating or are part of larger Workforce Development and Training initiatives in a local and regional way as well as at the Washington State level. Check out your local community college for programs and projects that will help you in your career development.

New Book Addresses Skills Gap In Manufacturing Jobs

During a time when manufacturing is changing in massive ways, there is a predicted labor shortage with estimates as high as two million additional skilled workers needed by the year 2020.

Author Sarah Boisvert is co-founder of the commercial division of Potomac Photonics Inc. of Baltimore, Md., where she worked to commercialize a proprietary radio frequency (RF)-discharge excimer laser. She is no stranger to the need of manufacturers to find skilled workers. Her new book, published by Photonics Media Press, The New Collar Workforceis turning the traditional workforce training model on its head.  Armed with 200 manufacturing industry executives’ interviews, Boisvert gets to the heart of the skills gap, and defines a path to engaging, well-paying jobs in the cool digital factory.

New Collar Workforce book by Sarah Boisvert

The “new collar” workers that manufacturers seek have the digital skills needed to “run automation and software, design in CAD, program sensors, maintain robots, repair 3D printers, and collect and analyze data,” according to the author. Educational systems must evolve to supply today’s changing digital manufacturers with new collar workers, and this book leads the reader to innovative organizations that are recreating training programs for a new age in manufacturing, also known as Industry 4.0.

Boisvert is also the founder of the Fab Lab Hub in Santa Fe, New Mexico and as part of her book research and work; she created a Digital Badge program for New Collar jobs. Digital Badges, in collaboration with IBM and Mozilla, is a secure platform to recognize achievement.  The program certifications include:

  • Design for 3D Printing
  • Introduction to CAD Design
  • Fundamentals of SLA 3D Printing
  • Troubleshooting FDM 3D Printers
  • Laser Safety in Manufacturing

Master Badges such as 3D Printing Operator or Laser Service Technician are part of training process that culminates in a stack of Digital Badges that certify a higher level of skill.

The author’s call to action is clear: “We live in a time of extraordinary opportunity to look to the future and fundamentally change manufacturing jobs.  We can show people the value in new collar jobs and how to create nontraditional pathways to engaging, fulfilling, living wage careers in the digital factory. If industry is to invigorate and revitalize manufacturing, it must start with the new collar workers who essentially make digital fabrication for Industry 4.0 possible.”

AM News frequently researches and publishes about workforce training programs (TTU runs the NSF-funded AM-WATCH program that hosted an Additive Manufacturing Studio). If you know of one or conducting one at your institution, we would like to hear from you. Contact information below.

 

Tennessee Tech University Announces Spring Lecture Series for Additive Manufacturing

For the last several years, the Engineering Department at Tennessee Tech University (TTU) has created and hosted the Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Lecture Series. Dr. Ismail Fidan finds timely topics and the experts who can share about them for the virtual seminars.

Additively Innovative Lecture Series Spring 2019 TTU

The Spring 2019 series begins in early February and here are the details. Students, teachers, and interested participants are welcome to join in from 11 to 11:30 a.m. CST. With a web browser, you can join from anywhere via this Zoom (web conferencing) link.

Here are the upcoming spring lectures:

  • Thursday, Feb. 7: The Phantom Hole Technique, Improving Structural Performance in FFF/FDM 3D Printed Products with Eric N. Wooldridge, Professor of Additive Manufacturing at Somerset Community College, Kentucky.
  • Thursday, Feb. 21: Understanding Powder Bed Additive Manufacturing with Josh Dennis, Area Representative – South Central Region, Texas, EOS North America.
  • Thursday, March 28: Preparing Your Model for 3D Printing with Adam Wills, Master II Instructor, Computer Aided Design Technology, Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Nashville
  • Thursday, April 18: Project iGen: Using Additive Manufacturing for Service Learning with Amy Fricks, Math Teacher, DeKalb County High School, Tennessee.

We have written about the other Golden Eagle series events and you can learn more about them or watch/listen to previous talks by visiting the post: Additively Innovative Lecture Series At TTU – FALL 2018 where there are links to the past presentations (over two dozen presentations are archived).

Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Virtual Lecture Series is partially funded by the NSF Award 1601587, “AM-WATCH: Additive Manufacturing-Workforce Advancement Training Coalition and Hub”.

Guitar Building For Veterans In Puget Sound

On Veterans Day weekend, and on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, the STEM Guitar Building Institute team came out to serve veterans in the Puget Sound region of Washington State at Edmonds Community College.

Here are a few of the photos from the veteran participants this year.

The STEM Guitar Building Institute does a remarkable job of training educators on how to use guitars as a way to teach science, technology, engineering, and math. In fact, the project has been in 47 States and three countries outside the USA: Canada, Colombia, and Australia. They are producing more than 1,700 guitar kits each year.

What Is The Guitar Building Institute?

According to the website:

“The National STEM Guitar Project, in partnership with NSF Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Centers with funding provided through a grant from The National Science Foundation hosts innovative Guitar Building Institutes throughout the US. Five-day institutes, combined with additional instructional activities comprising 80 hours, provide middle, high school, and postsecondary faculty training on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) applications as they relate to the guitar. The institutes present and teach participants hands-on, applied learning techniques to help engage students and spark excitement for learning STEM subject matter.”