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How to Plan for Advanced Manufacturing Education

After a period of under-investment in technical courses, community colleges and universities are now creating teaching environments that prepare their students for successful careers in today’s manufacturing workplace.

What is an Advanced Manufacturing Technology (AMT)?

Definitions of AMT vary in degree, but common factors include the application of information technology to manufacturing operations that allow a common information processing base. Manufacturing using advanced technology may involve sophisticated fabrication, assembly, finishing, and quality control equipment incorporating microprocessor-driven control systems, lasers, computerized robots, optical scanners, and other new materials and processes. [1]

What are the key challenges of teaching AMT for higher education?

The view of manufacturing today is still the traditional large-scale, repetitive, and unskilled working being performed in an assembly line. Advanced manufacturing is changing the way items are being built, and is ultimately good for the community. It uses technology in both its process and its products, offers good wages, and provides employment opportunities for a variety of different skill levels and educational backgrounds.

Because it engages with new technologies, advanced manufacturing is dynamic and changing. It requires a workforce flexible enough to not only accommodate innovation but to thrive in changing and sometimes uncertain industries. These key challenges can be summarized in the following three points [2]

  • Changing the perception that manufacturing is dull, repetitive work that’s out of step with the growing creative economy

  • Industrial globalization coupled with an influx of new innovations, technologies, customer-driven products

  • Lack of advanced manufacturing systems at facilities for hands-on training

A successful case study in overcoming the challenges

Following a disruptive pedagogical approach [3] in Basque Country, they have developed a framework called ETHAZI (High-Performance Courses) in the 2013/2014 academic year in 5 of both concerted and public vocational training centers. This experience consisted of 100 students and 25 teachers from 5 different cycles. The central element of this model was articulated on collaborative learning based on challenges and it implies the following aspects:

  • Disruptive, methodological change to adapt students to the professional profile that the industry needs to be competitive;

  • Developing education & training ecosystems where learners are put in the center;

  • Getting the maximum learning potential of the student’s professional competences development (technical skills + soft skills);

  • Teamwork, creativity, flexibility, digital skills, communication, social and personal responsibility, entrepreneurship, etc. to be able to analyze, understand, synthesize, transmit, judge, decide, etc.

However, as experts pointed out, one of the key drawbacks is that implies a large investment in hardware. However, this can be overcome by leasing the advanced manufacturing system such as by Addcomposites. The AFP-XS can be leased out for the duration of a semester, a graduate level research project, or for industrial collaboration projects. Check back later for more details regarding this, and visit our FAQs in the meantime!



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