4 answers

New Methods and innovation in Manufacturing?

Asked New York, New York

Hey guys,
As a mechanical engineering student, I'm interested in the manufacturing industry and want to know about any new innovations or methods in manufacturing? I know 3D printing is on the rise but I'm not sure of what other things to look out for. Thanks!
#engineeringstudent #3dprinting #industrialengineering
#cnc #robotics

4 answers

Ken’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

You are referencing a wide variety of important and in demand areas. The key to determining which you should enter is which one is the one for which you are best suited based upon how your personality traits relate to people who are successfully working in those areas. Then, when you have an idea from the testing, you can do face to face in person networking to determine if there is a match.

Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

  • The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
  • Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
  • Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
  • It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
  • Here are some sites that will allow you to learn more about the application of engineering: ## https://www.engineergirl.org/ ## ## http://www.futureengineers.org/ ## ## https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43zVcmTJSKM ##
Thanks for the valuable information Ken, but do you know about any new specific things on the rise of innovation in the manufacturing industry that stand out/I should look out for?
The best way to keep up with current developments is through the professional associations related to the specific career area. Their purpose of those organizations is to keep those professionals up to date with their career area and either provide educational opportunities or inform their members of such opportunities offered by reputable sources. Good ways to find such organizations are to talk to your teachers/professors and the reference librarian at your local or school library.
Ok. Thanks again Ken!
When you make contact (live interpersonal contact instead of messaging, texting, etc) you will meet some very interesting people very eager and willing and able to help you, especially since you are a student.

Luis "Lou"’s Answer

Updated Saint Petersburg, Florida

3D printing (the correct term to use is: Additive manufacturing) is a new up and coming field with many opportunities, but you should not discount the "traditional" methods of manufacturing, since not only these are well established and understood methods, but they have well establish support infrastructures to support them.

Additive manufacturing is just another tool for the engineer to use to create new products with.

So learn about casting, molding, forging, stamping, machining, grinding, welding and all the rest, as well as additive mfg. and you'll be a better engineer for it.

Awesome, definitely something to take note of. These days the first thing that comes to mind when I think of manufacturing is 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing, so these other traditional methods that are prominent helps to give me a bit of insight into manufacturing as a whole. Thanks Luis!
Excellent response Lou!

G. Mark’s Answer


The tags listed on this question cover some biggies. Rapid Prototyping -- e. g., 3D printing, Computer-Aided Manufacturing --- are exploding. Artificial Intelligence, specifically Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Neural Nets, etc., are finding practical applications in everyday life far faster than even I, an avowed optimist, would have predicted. Internet of Things and essentially all ways of tying systems together to use Big Data, control robotics, control the manufacturing environment and the shop floor -- this is making business a giant intelligence constantly monitoring successes and failures. You need to keep abreast of developments in these areas, get advice whenever you can and keep watching the internet and media in general for new developments and new players.

This is an awesome answer! I definitely need to keep up with the scope of things you mentioned. Thanks Mark!

Rich’s Answer

Updated Menlo Park, California

I believe one of the best sources for information on leading edge innovations is the MIT Technology Review magazine (my wife is the MIT graduate but I read the magazine cover to cover). Many local libraries carry this magazine so you might check there and see if you find some good ideas. It can be very exciting getting in on the front end of something new - say nanotechnology which has yet to show its full potential. Good Luck

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