Excerpt from the Fabricator
Bringing real-world metal fabricating to college
Manufacturing in the U.S. finds itself at an interesting intersection. Gone are the days when a wall existed between engineering and the shop floor. The engineers no longer throw the design over that wall and expect the shop floor to figure it out. Today’s mechanical engineers are likely to spend as much time on the shop floor trying to prove out technology or investigate design for manufacturability issues. Simultaneously, it should be noted that today’s engineers probably come to their jobs with different backgrounds. Their hands-on experiences are not going to be as rich as the engineers’ who grew up working on their cars back in the day.
Brian Jensen, the manager of the Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering (MIME) Laboratory at Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore., is here to tell you that you shouldn’t worry. Today’s engineering students are bright and very good conceptual thinkers. Jensen said that where they might fall short is in the hands-on experiences of actually building things and rebuilding them when they don’t quite work. But engineering labs like Oregon State’s are designed to help introduce them to the real-world technologies that make the computer work a reality. That’s been a little easier for Jensen since the lab acquired a waterjet cutting machine that proved to be the perfect fit, literally and figuratively.