Source: College of Technology Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing (Connecticut Community Colleges)
This video adapted from Connecticut's College of Technology/Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing features Jeff Hotaling, biomanufacturing supervisor for a leading medical device maker. Jeff talks about the challenges and opportunities he faces in his factory workplace, which assembles retractable safety syringes. He explains that all assembly equipment is software driven, and that machine operators need to know how to run the program and interact with the computer interface. He also details his typical day in a supervisory position, which involves leading group meetings, discussing product quality and equipment issues, preparing production reports, and managing both payroll and inventory.
Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools, and labor to transform raw materials into finished goods. Today, most manufacturing systems used in a wide range of industries are essentially the same. Whether the product is a jet engine component, a small toy, or cereal, most manufacturing facilities rely on a mix of skilled workers and automated, computer-controlled machines.
Manufacturing jobs fall into one of the following categories: design, planning, operations, or quality control. Once a product has been designed, production planners must devise an efficient way to produce it. Operating the manufacturing system involves making the parts, assembling the product, packaging it, and shipping it. Quality is measured at several points in the process, and corrections are made if the system is not operating properly and the established internal or external standards are not being met.
High school students can prepare for a career in manufacturing by understanding how technology can be applied to solve problems, and by familiarizing themselves with the most commonly used tools, machines, materials, and processes in their area of interest. They should acquire a strong foundation in math—including algebra, geometry, and trigonometry—and develop the computer skills needed to quickly master a variety of software programs they’ll be expected to use. In addition to gaining technical knowledge through classroom learning and training programs, people seeking manufacturing jobs need to develop good teamwork skills as well as effective communication skills, both written and spoken. These will be essential to maintaining internal relationships with fellow employees and external relationships with vendors and customers.
As the video demonstrates, during the course of a day at a manufacturing facility, production teams, quality control teams, engineers, and maintenance workers routinely meet with one another. For a manufacturing system to function efficiently, all workers must know how to identify problems within their departments and develop solutions for them. This is called troubleshooting. For example, if there is a production problem with a piece of equipment, an operator needs to be able to explain exactly what is happening—or not happening—with that stage of production. An equipment technician can then use this information to determine the cause of the problem and then fix the malfunctioning equipment. The products in a production line flow like water in a river—upstream to downstream. Workers anywhere along this production line must be able to communicate problems to one another. For example, employees upstream need to communicate with workers downstream any problems they are having in their area, especially if the product moving downstream may be affected.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.