New equipment trains students for future of manufacturing

The ECU College of Engineering and Technology on Feb. 11 unveiled new Haas computer numerical control machining tools that symbolize the start of an effort to create a unique advanced manufacturing lab in the high bay of the Science and Technology Building.

Students and industry representatives demonstrated the use of two CNC lathes and two CNC mills, which were funded in part by a $100,000 contribution from the Wells Fargo Foundation.

The Haas CNC machines are only the first step toward the ultimate goal of creating an integrated advanced manufacturing space in combining robotics, 3-D printing, production line and warehousing technologies – and the cybersecurity necessary to ensure the integrity of internet- connected manufacturing operations.

“We want ECU to be the school that people talk about when they think advanced manufacturing, especially with regard to cybersecurity protection,” said Tijjani Mohammed, chair of the Department of Technology Systems. “This space represents the first step in creating a complete environment for education and workforce development in advanced manufacturing.”

The College of Engineering and Technology is forming an advanced manufacturing advisory board to help understand the industry’s needs and provide advice on future investments in equipment and educational programs, said Dean Harry Ploehn. “Our industry partners, now and in the future, need engineers, technologists and computer scientists with not only a solid theoretical foundation, but also practical hands-on experience with cutting-edge advanced manufacturing technology.”