Brigham Young University has established a manufacturing engineering program, offering bachelor's and master's degrees, to begin fall semester 1990. A doctoral degree program is being developed.
"Manufacturing engineering is viewed as an essential element in maintaining and increasing the competitive position of the United States in the international arena," said L. Douglas Smoot, dean of the College of Engineering and Technology.The new program will focus on such areas as process design, quality assurance, production simulation, cost justification, automation, computer-aided integration, tool design, composite manufacturing and organizational issues such as human relations.
To reflect the addition of this program, the technology department's name will be changed to "the department of manufacturing engineering and technology," department Chairman John J. Kunzler said.
The department's manufacturing engineering technology program, which recently was reaccredited, will be closely coordinated with the manufacturing engineering program. They will share faculty, space, some interdisciplinary courses and other resources.
The nation's serious lack of qualified manufacturing engineers was highlighted recently by the National Science Foundation and the American Society of Engineering Education.
Lawrence P. Grayson, society president, believes the United States is losing its trade battles on the factory floor, not in the laboratory.
"It is a serious national failing that allows Japanese firms to put American ideas into production and sell us the resulting products while we still are celebrating our creative achievement," Grayson said.
The profile of a manufacturing engineer also is changing to one who can move quickly from theory to practice and a finished product, Kunzler said.
In a nationwide survey, commissioned by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers to explore its members' future role in industry, it was determined that manufacturing engineers of the 21st century will work in teams, rather than as individuals.
"Manufacturing engineers of the future will not resemble engineers of today," the report says. "They will be less scientific and mathematical and more management and business-oriented. They will have to cross over into more disciplines than today and work in multi-disciplinary teams."
Kunzler said BYU's new manufacturing engineering program will provide this direction to its graduates as they look to the future.
Seniors from both manufacturing and mechanical engineering programs will work together on design projects that integrate elements of design and manufacturing.
"Our college has the reputation of having outstanding, computerized facilities and innovative education programs in manufacturing engineering technology," Smoot said. "This new companion program will provide an even greater opportunity for students to contribute to this critical national need."
In 1967, BYU's manufacturing engineering technology program became the nation's first fully accredited program. The newly-created manufacturing engineering program also will meet national accreditation standards.