2019 FLATE Awardees to Receive Special Recognition at the Annual FACTE Conference

Educators and manufacturers play an integral role in educating and training the next generation of manufacturers. To acknowledge their contributions to manufacturing, FLATE has developed a prolific awards program that recognizes “Rockstars of Manufacturing” who have and continue to make a significant impact in support of technology education and training across Florida. This year's nominees for the 2019 FLATE Awards include a distinguished panel of individuals who for a number of years have made significant strides in promoting manufacturing and technology education and training across the state.

At the secondary education level, Michael J. Sargent, an engineering instructor at Lake Wales Charter School will receive the 2019 FLATE Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award. Originally from upstate New York, Sargent started his foray into the world of manufacturing as a mathematics and engineering teacher for Polk County Schools (PCS). While working for PCS he became the first authorized MSSC instructor for Polk County high schools. At the time Sargent was tasked with creating Florida's first nationally accredited manufacturing engineering high school program and related outreach initiatives through the National Career Academy Coalition. As a result of his efforts 44 high school students earned the MSSC CPT certification. Sargent believes “education at the high school level is important as it exposes students to the diversity of jobs and skills needed to succeed.” As a  proponent of increasing female awareness and presence in the world of engineering, in 2018 Sargent partnered with the Society of Women Engineers at the University of Central Florida to create a mentoring program for female high school students to receive guidance and connections from female engineering students at the University of Central Florida.

Most recently Sargent is working on establishing a dual-enrollment program between Lake Wales Charter High School and Polk State College's Advanced Manufacturing Training Center. This partnership is set to enable high school students at Lake Wales Charter High School to earn MSSC certification as well as an Associates in Applied Engineering Technology. Sargent is working with a coalition of local manufacturing partners to provide the next generation of skilled workers. When not teaching, he spends time with his wife and two children. He can also be found teaching scuba diving courses and/or participating in reef restoration programs.

At the post-secondary level, Ronald D. Eaglin, Ph.D., has been selected for the Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award. Dr. Eaglin currently serves as the professor and Chair of the Department of Engineering and Information Technology at Daytona State College in Daytona, FL. Eaglin has enjoyed a long and illustrious career both as a distinguished educator and an entrepreneur. His academic credentials include a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of South Carolina where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Central Florida. He also holds a special Honors Degree from South Carolina College. In the academic sphere, Dr. Eaglin has held several esteemed positions serving as the Associate Vice President for the College of Technology and Chair of the Engineering Technology program at Daytona State College (DSC). Prior to joining DSC, Dr. Eaglin was the Chair of the Engineering Technology program and the Assistant Dean for Distributed Learning College of Engineering at the University of Central Florida.

Dr. Eaglin is credited with establishing many academic programs both at DSC and at UCF. He played a leading role in formulating the curriculum frameworks for the A.S.E.T specializations in mechatronics and additive manufacturing at DSC. He has also worked on the ABET accreditation of the BSET and BSIT degrees at DSC. In addition to his ongoing offices and responsibilities, Eaglin serves as the coordinator of all engineering technology class assignment as the statewide course number representative and is an active member of the Florida Engineering Technology Forum, a statewide entity responsible for coordination of engineering technology programs across Florida.

Given his years in academia and the corporate world, Dr. Eaglin has many accolades under his belt. Dr. Eaglin is a renowned author of several professional publications, journals and presentations. He is a recipient of the Christopher Columbus Foundation Award for Innovation in Homeland Security. He is also among the “Who's Who” of students in American Universities and College, and has been a long-term member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society.  Outside his professional commitments, Eaglin serves as the President of the Central Florida Adventure Racing club that promotes outdoor activity, health and fitness for all ages. He is a Central Florida United soccer coach and is a past president and current member of the Central Florida Orienteering Club.

When it comes to manufacturing education and training, Michael D. Brewster has occupied a commanding presence and held formidable roles in promoting excellence in the corporate world of manufacturing. Early last month, the FLATE Awards committee selected Brewster for the FLATE Distinguished Partner-of-the-Year award that recognizes key industry personnel for outstanding contributions to promoted technology education and career awareness in support of manufacturing across Florida.

Brewster's leadership in the manufacturing arena is rooted in his longstanding commitment to world-class talent development in the manufacturing workforce. For Brewster it is all about the people, the faces and forces behind the world of manufacturing. He believes “a manufacturing company will only go as far as its employee talent pool will carry it.” Brewster states job satisfaction in manufacturing comes from leadership commitment to learning and opportunities for formal training for all employees to reach their full potential.

Brewster's commitment to excellence in manufacturing and related careers started decades ago. He has been engaged in food manufacturing since 1996 developing his career at Perry's Ice Cream, Jasper Products, Winn-Dixie Manufacturing, Dunkin Brands and Tampa Bay CoPack. His food and beverage experience includes developing aseptic products like soy, milk, rice, protein drinks, juices, donuts, teas and sports drinks. Brewster joined Monin in 2014 as the Vice President of Plant Operations and currently serves as the Chief Production Officer at Monin Americas.

Community outreach is a cornerstone of Brewster's contributions to manufacturing.  Key contributions include engagement in diverse initiatives across the state. He was nominated as a key participant in the Talent Pipeline Management Manufacturing Collaborative. He was the speaker at the American Manufacturing Summit in Chicago, IL. He is a member of the Pinellas County Coalition to Tallahassee and sponsored the Clearwater High School robotics team. Brewster has been a leading proponent of Manufacturing Day events and has partnered with FLATE on various MFG Day activities in the Tampa Bay region. Through Monin Americas, he served as a sponsor for the Manufacturing Day 5K Run-Walk-Paddle for Education. Since 2015 he has hosted several Manufacturing Day tours for Pinellas County School District. He is also member of several regional Manufacturers Associations serving as the Vice President for Bay Area Manufacturers Association (BAMA), member of the Board of Directors for BAMA and the Upper Tampa Bay Manufacturers Association and Chair of the BAMA Scholarship Committee. He is an avid advocate for hiring people with special needs and co-founded BAMA's veterans support committee.

FLATE extends its heartiest congratulations on this top honor to all the 2019 FLATE Awards recipients.
The Awards represent FLATE's commitment to recognize colleagues who have made significant contributions to the outreach, education and training of today's advanced manufacturing workforce. Awards will be presented during the 53rd Annual FACTE Conference & Trade Show from July 15-17, at the Renaissance Orlando Sea World Resort in Orlando, FL. For more information about the FLATE Awards program, or to submit a nomination for 2020 FLATE Awards visit www.fl-ate.org/projects/flate-awards. You can also contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at 813.25.6578, or at barger@fl-ate.org.

Sustainability Superheroes Features Industry Panel Discussing Sustainable Business Practices with Educators

Sustainable manufacturing is an objective that many companies are adopting as an essential part of their operations, which is making an impactful difference for the environment. Design, production, shipping and all other aspects within the manufacturing process must be examined from a sustainable perspective. This also improves the safety of employees, products and communities as a whole. Everyone is affected in some way, which is why the Sustainability Superheroes project brought manufacturing to the classroom for the May 7th workshop.
Dr. Deborah Kozdras, Chief Creative Officer of the USF Stavros Center, partnered with Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE), to host a panel of business and industry professionals with experience in the manufacturing industry for the workshop. Educators were able to learn how companies integrate habits and practices that are environmentally friendly into the core of their operations. “It’s so important for educators to hear directly from industry.  Educators are really hungry to know more about industry, how and where other non-educator people work, and what skills they need “, says Dr. Barger. FLATE and the USF Stavros Center have a long-standing partnership focused on providing professional development workshops for secondary educators in all disciplines that specifically highlight manufacturing professionals in the greater Tampa Bay area.
Below are highlights from the panelists. This project plans to recapture the comments of the panelists as well as other industry representatives in a series of audio clips that will be posted on both FLATE’s and Stavros Center’s websites.  Be on the lookout for these videos starting this fall!
*Pictured from left to right: Dr. Marilyn Barger, Patti Gander, Jerrika Rice, Suzanne Alverez, Peter Cirak

Patti Gander - Executive Director for the Manufacturing and Supply Chain Alliance
Patti demonstrated a great example of design thinking and an open mindset. Using traditional business analysis practices, like Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing, Patti illustrated how businesses can profit from sustainable practices, which ultimately have positive impacts on the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit.

Jerrika Rice - Senior Manager, Phosphates Quality for The Mosaic Company
Jerrika provided the educators with a deeper understanding of the challenges The Mosaic Company faces and the ways in which they are working toward more sustainable practices. By describing the complexities of the issues, Jerrika provided some excellent problem-solution examples.

Suzanne Alverez - Sales for C&D Printing & Packaging
Suzanne described the sustainability challenges and solutions within C&D Printing and Packaging. Beginning with one employee’s question about the toxicity of the processes, the company is continually evolving to more environmentally safe products and procedures.

Peter Cirak - Director of Quality Assurance for Seal Dynamics
Peter illustrated his passion for creating solutions in the workplace at Seal Dynamics. During Tuesday evening’s session, he described the recycling programs he initiated and stood as a model for how one person can work toward changing the ways in which things have always been done. 

​Sustainability Superheroes is a project that helps K-12 educators teaching all subjects and grade levels to incorporate sustainability into their lesson plans. The Gus A. Stavros Center for Free Enterprise and Economic Education partnered with the University of South Florida’s Patel College for Global Sustainability to provide workshops, new training and guest lectures to teachers across Tampa Bay. The goal of this project is to educate students about sustainability problems that need to be fixed and inspire them to act and make a positive impact on the world.  The USF Stavros Center received a grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation for this project. Sustainability Superheroes will provide related resources to the Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota school districts, which together serve over 550,000 students annually.

FLATE’s Linked In Engineering Technology Community Group

FLATE welcomes Engineering Technology alumni, teachers, and industry personnel to the new Linked In Group: Engineering Technology Community! Linked-in is a professional platform made for companies and individuals, it’s essentially the business version of Facebook. With LinkedIn you can follow other companies, find jobs by uploading your resume, have a place to share your projects, share events, create job postings, and create a professional profile.  By joining the Engineering Technology Community, you can get notified when connected companies have open positions, professional development opportunities, stay informed on industry news, share your experiences with current Engineering Technology students, and more! Join the group today by following this link or scanning the QR code below! You can also follow FLATE’s company page for the Engineering Technology Community at this link: click me!

Follow us on our other social networking platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter  @Made_InFlorida using #IndustryEducationPartnerships.

For more information contact FLATE at 813-259-6578 or barger@fl-ate.org. For assistance with signing up contact Elizabeth Duran at eduran3@hccfl.edu.

Manufacturing Day/Month in Florida 2019 - It's Time to Start Planning!

FLATE is interested in helping companies, manufacturing associations, and everyone else in offering student tours in celebration of Manufacturing Day. Tours are an excellent way to introduce students to the world of work, expose them to the exciting world of manufacturing, and educate them on the great skill, high wage careers that the industry offers. Teachers love the tours as well since they often have little exposure to the world of manufacturing. The tours give teachers an opportunity to gain knowledge of the cool, high tech equipment and tools they see when visiting manufacturing facilities, which will inspire them to pass on their Manufacturing Day experience to the next generation.
Summer has just begun, but here are some early updates for Manufacturing Day/Month 2019 in Florida from two of our partners: First Coast Manufacturers Association (FCMA) and South Florida Manufacturers Association (SFMA). First Coast Manufacturers Association (FCMA) has 30 companies in the Jacksonville area already signed up to host tours in October. Hoerbiger Corporation, a member of the South Florida Manufacturers Association (SFMA) reported that they will host ten tours for ten schools during the month of October. It's definitely time to start planning student tours. 
Check out our website and wiki sites for resources for MFG DAY 2019 student tours.  New resources for 2019 will be available by July 1st. In the meantime, you can see what was available in 2018 and read about the impact these tours had on students, teachers, and parents.  Don't hesitate to contact us for more information!

FLATE' Summer Workshop Series a Great Professional Development Opportunity for Florida Educators

FLATE's professional development workshops support the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) goals for advancing technological education emphasizing on hands-on technical training along with development, application, assessment of technology-related curriculum, and strategies for recruitment and retention of students in technology programs. FLATE works with key partners such as the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC), the Florida Association for Career and Technical Education (FACTE), Hillsborough County Public Schools, and the new NSF partnership with College Lake County (Illinois), Anne Arundel Community College (Maryland), and Florida State College at Jacksonville.

From 2005 to 2019, FLATE has provided 47,736 hours of professional development to 36,382 educators and 13,062 workforce, economic and manufacturing personnel in multi-day workshops, presentations, and through online webinars at hundreds of events in Florida, nationally, and worldwide.
Among all the workshops, the most popular is the FLATE-FACTE Project Based Summer Workshops Series for career and technical educators (CTE) in Florida.  The first two of these two-day workshops’ series, which was held at Hillsborough Community College-Brandon Campus, were Robotics & 3D Printing on May 9th to the 10th, and Integrated Technology Projects on May 16th to the 17th.  During the first workshop, Robotics & 3D Printing, participants learned how to build and code the Lego EV3 robots; used Sketch Up CAD software and the Makerbot 3D printer. The second workshop, Integrated Technology Projects, participants were immersed in a variety of technology education projects in fields such as civil engineering, aerospace, and electronics technology.

Educators from around the state who answered the survey, 100% (13) found both workshops to be of great professional development value, and anticipate that as a result of attending the workshop they will share and use FLATE, Made in Florida available educational resources. Additionally over 95% of the attendees agreed that the overall workshop was very good or excellent.

Here are some comments from participants:

“Best workshop of the year, worth the 3-hr drive”
“Great training. I loved learning about 3D printing and robotics. Also, it was fun and engaging”

Additionally, FLATE will be hosting two more summer workshops: the FANUC Robot Training Workshop for teachers on June 17th through 19th at Central Florida College (CF) in Ocala, and the Summer Working Connections Introduction to Mechatronics on July 8th through 12th at Florida State College-Jacksonville (FSCJ).

The four-day FANUC workshop, sponsored by FACTE, at CF will focus on how to deliver instructions on robotics in the classroom using FANUC’s Certified Education Robot Training (CERT) program. The CERT is the ideal platform for teaching how to program a real industry-grade robot, in real time, in a safe and controlled environment.

The Summer Working Connections introduction to Mechatronics at FSCJ is a key element of CollaboATE, a NSF funded project in partnership with Anne Arundel Community College (Maryland), College of Lake County (Illinois) and Florida State College at Jacksonville (Florida). This workshop will provide hands-on activities in mechatronics concepts including basic electrical theory, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and pneumatics.
For more information about CTE workshops contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org or visit flate-professional development opportunities

Florida Colleges Participate in the Make More Summit to Focus on the Future of Florida’s Manufacturing

The second annual MAKE MORE Manufacturing Summit was a leadership-focused meeting designed around connecting ecosystem stakeholders with the needs and realities of industry leaders from the manufacturing sector. The Summit is produced by FloridaMakes, the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP) in Florida. Well over 200 stakeholders and attendees participated in the event in Orlando the last week of May. The Summit agenda included dynamic keynote speakers, TED-style talks coupled with panel discussions that laid the foundation for Florida’s manufacturing stakeholders, public and private, begin to leverage their collective assets and capabilities. Ted talks and panel sessions focused on workforce, business climate, and emerging technologies. The goal of the annual event is to strengthen the industry collectively for a more competitive manufacturing sector.
FLATE together with five of its community college partners attended the MakeMore Summit.  Sam Ajlani from the College of Central Florida, Lara Sharp from St. Pete College, Dante Leon from Daytona State College, Erik Christensen from South Florida College and Rick Frazier formerly from Tallahassee Community College attended to learn more about the state of manufacturing in Florida and, especially to learn more about statewide current and future workforce needs. “Most manufacturers just don’t know what great 2-year technical programs we have in Florida that support manufacturers.  Not only do we have state-of-the-art labs, but we also have subject matter experts teaching every course in every program. We offer flexible delivery, hybrid (in class and online), and 100% online courses. However, all manufacturing courses do have a hands-on component, but most are offered at flexible times. Not only do the programs offer strong technical skills, but students enrolled also learn important workplace skills. And, the colleges provide many important wrap-around services for students to help with transportation, child care, scholarships, and advising. Finally, the colleges all have strong articulated pathways to 4-year engineering technology and management bachelor’s degrees for graduates from their programs for continued upward career mobility. All these industry representatives should contact FLATE to get connected to their local community or state college Engineering Technology program if they are not already working with them.”

Sam Ajlani was interested in the emerging technologies which generated discussions about what new core and fundamental skills we would need to integrate into our engineering technology and manufacturing degree programs.  “Technology is changing so fast and is relatively cheap that the ROI for implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies can be fast realized. But companies must be up to speed, invest in not only the technology and expertise to implement but also in training and educating its workforce to get the maximum return on investment.”  Again, this is an issue right at the sweet spot of the 2-year technical manufacturing programs.”

Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE gave one of the TED talks in the Talent Development session. Its vitally important the manufacturers learn more about their state, community and technical college programs. The college house great state-of-the-art laboratories for advanced manufacturing that the taxpayers of Florida have paid for!  She urged all attendees to get to know their local college programs and program managers who can help each manufacturer meet talent needs. She also urged everyone to help change the perception of manufacturing.  Our communities need to know that manufacturing careers and jobs are high skill, high wage and now provide work on the cutting edge of technology.

Kevin Carr, CEO of FloridaMakes, is singularly focused on improving the productivity of Florida’s small and medium manufacturers. He was excited to share an improvement in Florida’s manufacturing productivity and urged the attendees to keep focused on improvements that could continue the upward trend.  This leading indicator of the industry’s “health” reflects the strength of the business climate, talent development, and new technology integration.

The event showcase provided a place for networking and for visiting the finalists of the annual Small and Medium Business Excellence annual awards. Thirty-three Florida companies were named as finalists after a rigorous Sterling review and comprehensive site visit for this year’s Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards. The awards, recognizing high performing manufacturers in six categories, are announced and presented at this prestigious statewide formal event.  You can learn more about the SMBE awards at the FloridaMakes website and learn about this year’s winners!

You can learn more about the 2-year Engineering Technology degree that supports manufacturing by contacting Dr. Marilyn Barger (barger@fl-ate.org) or visiting the FLATE website.

NSF's Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Program Resources for 2-Year Technical Programs

 As the deadline for NSF ATE proposals approaches (October 3), here are some reminders about the NSF ATE Community, its many resources for all technician educators and stakeholders and dissemination platforms. Most all resources and opportunities are FREE for partially subsidized.  FLATE encourages everyone to take advantage of these and reach out to the grantees at any time for information. Here is a message from ATE Central with a  great summary of the NSF ATE Community resources.
One of the things that really sets the NSF's ATE program apart is the amazing amount of support baked into the community through a variety of informal and formal pathways. There are so many ways to get support, whether you're writing your first proposal, looking to improve your project or center evaluation, or considering better ways to sustain the valuable deliverables created with your NSF funding. A number of ATE initiatives focus on supporting and amplifying the work of those in the ATE community, which means you can almost always find help on a wide variety of topics by perusing a website, picking up the phone, or crafting an email.
First of all, let's start with the ATE home page on the National Science Foundation site – a great place to visit as it provides an overview of the ATE program, contact information for the associated program officers (and their contact info), and examples of recent awards. And of course, the ATE solicitation provides detailed information about the program and outlines key concerns of the funding agency, budgetary guidelines, and programmatic requirements.
Now let's take a look at a variety of ATE projects, centers, and events designed to support, showcase, and/or amplify the work of ATE grantees.
·         With three key deliverables – the ATE Impacts book (order free copies here), and the ATE Impacts blog as well as the ATE Community booth - the ATE Collaborative Outreach and Engagement Project helps showcase the impacts of the ATE program. The book and blog are great sources of information about what others in the community are doing and a great way to find collaborators and mentors. The Community Booth showcases ATE materials at a number of national and regional conferences each year.
·         EvaluATE is the evaluation support center for ATE and provides webinars, resource materials, newsletters, workshops, and opportunities for ATE community members to engage around issues related to evaluation in the pursuit of excellence in technical education.
·         The Mentor-Connect project, spearheaded by South Carolina Advanced Technical Education (SC ATE), provides support for leadership development and knowledge transfer by developing and supporting potential, current, and former ATE grantees. The Mentor-Connect website provides an extensive library of materials related to ATE proposal preparation and grants management.
·         Another great mentoring program is MentorLinks, from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), which sponsors national grant competitions that pair community colleges seeking guidance in developing or strengthening technician education programs with experienced mentors in the field. Through professional development opportunities and technical assistance, MentorLinks impacts numerous fields, from biotechnology to renewable energy.
·         Another excellent resource is TeachingTechnicians that provides "state-of-the-art, faculty development in advanced & emerging technologies, teaching methods, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)." The site provides links to online and onsite events, and boasts an impressive archive of previous events with files, links, and contact information.
·         And of course, there is also ATE Central, which acts an information hub and archive for the ATE Community. Visit the portal to explore grantee resources, learn about ATE events (and push your own activities out to the community) and dive into critical topics like sustainability. The map on the ATE Central home page can help you find other projects and centers doing work in your field of study or that are close by geographically – it's a great tool to use in considering potential collaborators or mentors.
·         Finally, the Annual ATE PI Conference held each October in DC (the 2019 program isn't up yet so we've linked to the 2018 information here) is a wonderful source to learn more about any number of innovative ATE-related topics, meet up with collaborators and connect with your NSF program officer. The HI-TEC conference is another great opportunity to connect with ATE community members – held in July each year in a different city (this year the conference is in St. Louis).

Who do you turn to for help and support or conversely how are you supporting others in the ATE community? We'd love to hear your stories and share your resources through ATE Central's Connection newsletter or the ATE Impacts blog – please drop us a line!

Future Technician Preparation: Micro and Nano Technologies

Our presentation on Future of Work issues this month is like the script of a 1950's cowboy movie.  (Those movies were only interesting when they cut to the chase.) Thus far this FLATE Focus series has touched on the Future of Work related to the NSF-ATE program's focus on advanced manufacturing technologies, agricultural and bio-technologies, energy, environmental technologies and Information technology. This month our " Work to do for Future Technician Preparation theme" shifts to micro- and nano- technologies.  As in previous issues, the question is how new technologies influence the technical workforce and what do future technicians have to do to secure knowledge of and comfort level with related specific subsets of existing STEM connected skills.  We will address, security technologies, and geospatial technologies as the year progresses.

  Our motivation for this series has a twofold intent.  One is for you the other is for us.  First new technology in the workplace does generate different expectations for the technician workforce.  Second, we want to engage as many people interested in the development of the nation's technician workforce into the conversation as to how NSF can facilitate lowering the impact of that skills gap.

 Technician duties within micro- and nano- technologies can easily slide into one of three broad activity categories; manipulation, metrology, and maintenance.  In all three of these classifications, new technology will impact what the technician needs to know.  However, these new technologies impact the technician differently in each category.

 “Manipulation” is the broad term that best describes what technicians and advanced operators will be doing inside the clean room as the wafer is manipulated into finished devices.  Human operations inside the cleanroom are and will continue to dramatically (but just not easily noticeable) change.  If you have ever looked through a cleanroom window, what you saw was people walking along sometimes long aisle between rows of equipment working at operator interface stations.  If you look through one of those windows today, people are still walking around in “bunny suits” working at operator stations, however, you will not see anyone moving wafers between process step anymore.  The wafer size (weight) and its value (very large number of very small devices on the wafer) now require no human contact with the product.  Many other industries are newly exposed to robotics but production scale manufacture of micro and nano-devices anywhere in the world is now completely automated.

 Does that mean that tomorrow’s technicians and advanced operators inside cleanrooms don’t have anything new to learn or need to know what previous technicians knew?  That is absolutely not true, however, they still will not have to know much about robotics.  A new skill set they will need is part of the theme of the next episode of this FLATE Focus series.

“Metrology” is another classic technician workspace with an equally steady state portfolio of skills and knowledge requirements.  Even so, there are new expectations of those technicians because of the insertion of new technology into that environment.  As analytical chemistry related instrumentation becomes more sophisticated, different wafer inspection and device quality control tools are being integrated into the same workstation interface.  This requires the technician to have a broader perspective of what the limitations of each tool has relative to quality control decisions as the wafers move from initial substrate purity to final device operation characterization.  In addition, advanced computer augmentation of some spectroscopy methods makes those tools now applicable outside the research and development (R&D) mode and useful as part of device production processes.  Raman and atomic force spectroscopies are just two examples.  The most interesting impact of this change on technician education is the need to incorporate focused STEM components from chemistry and physics into their curriculum. However, as with technicians within the “manipulation” career path, what else they will need to know is part of the theme of the next episode of this FLATE Focus series.

Finally, technicians that are involved in the “maintenance” category.  It is this technician workspace that brings us back to those great cowboy movies. Maintenance technicians in micro- and nano- technology production facilities work in the long hallways, the Chase, outside the cleanroom.  Just as sure as the “boy meets girl”, “boy falls in love with girl”, “bad guy kidnaps girl” scenes of those movies triggered the “cut to the chase” where our hero rides his trusty steed to save the damsel in distress, similarly a process disturbance generated in the “manipulation” and/or “metrology” technician workspaces triggers the maintenance technicians to perform “chase” activities in that maintenance workspace. 

Now that almost total automation dominates the cleanroom, the area connected to but not in the cleanroom (the Chase) is where all maintenance operations begin and most often conclude.  This reality will drive time duration constrained micro and nano technician education programs to attenuate the device technology portion of their curriculum to allow an increased focus on cross-technology mechatronics skills training.  The manufacture of small-scale devices requires specific low-pressure environments and precise delivery of reaction and masking chemicals and films. Faults in the production line often stem from improper pressure and chemical environments.  The proper combination of those additive and subtractive manufacturing process requirements is controlled (adjusted) and/or returned to expected steady state values via equipment resident in the Chase.  Thus, decisions technicians make in the Chase are critical to production and the industry’s zero downtime (ZDT) manufacturing practices.      

"The work to do starts with you." is and will continue to be our “cut to the chase” exit approach for each of these Focus Future of Work explorations.  Micro- and nanodevice production will require less personnel in the “manipulation” processes with additional people working in and around the Chase to remove equipment downtime. The “metrology” crews will have to adjust to smarter analytical tools and appreciate the impact of the overlapping information they provide.  However, to adjust technician education to these general realities requires more specific guidance from this industry.  So, as you might have expected, the last message now is that we need the people that are in this industry (floor engineers, supervisors, and technicians across the plant) to tell us what is needed.  What should technician preparation programs spend the time and money on?

NSF-ATE is listening and can put its resources into action in response to what it hears so now is the time to speak up.  Think about the skills needed. Contact us.  Send us your thoughts.

What Cobots Can Do for Your Business - Download the NIST MEP’s new infographic!

Manufacturing industries as varied as automotive, electronics, chemical products and food already use collaborative robots (cobots) for tasks such as assembly, loading and packaging. The partnership between humans and cobots is an important one that combines tasks and drills with thoughts and skills.
Manufacturers may choose to invest in cobots to achieve consistency in quality, increase response time or meet market demand. Regardless of the reason, it is apparent that collaborative robots are playing a big part in the advancement of manufacturing. Learn more about “What Cobots Can Do for Your Business” with this infographic.

Six Florida Manufacturers Recognized with 2019 Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards

Over 110 companies from around the state were nominated for consideration as candidates for the Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards.  The Awards are run by FloridaMakes and include an application form, a screening call with a panel of judges and examiners, and finally a half-day site visit. Thirty-three finalist were named in six categories from very small to large (over 200 employees). FLATE congratulates all the winners, finalists, and companies that participated in the rigorous process to become a better business organization.  FLATE also encourages its educator partners around the state to reach out to these exemplary companies for guidance in their programs and partnerships for recruiting students into manufacturing.  You can find the full article and the winners listed on the FloridaMakes website: https://www.floridamakes.com/news/news-releases/news/six-florida-manufacturers-recognized-with-2019-florida-sterling-manufacturing-business-excellence-awards.stml