Gabe Eiteljorge has always been interested in the fields of computer science, engineering and robotics.
Today, the 19-year-old Terre Haute South Vigo graduate is helping launch a new program at Ivy Tech Community College that trains students in what is described as the fourth phase of the industrial revolution, called Industry 4.0.
Industry 4.0 allows machines or robots equipped with smart microprocessors and sensors to connect together in smart factories / systems so that they can communicate with each other and with people, via the cloud.
Smart systems can be controlled remotely through a computer or device, programmed to do things automatically, or provide employees with real-time updates on what those systems are doing.
The changes are important because they improve safety, productivity and efficiency, experts say.
More and more industries are transitioning to Industry 4.0, but there is a lack of skilled labor in this area, according to Ivy Tech officials.
In response, the community college has a new program called Smart Manufacturing and Digital Integration, or SMDI. Molly Joseph is the president of the Terre Haute program and Eiteljorge was the first student to enroll in the program this past semester.
The SMDI program “looks like a good new career path,” said Eiteljorge. âIt might be good for the industry to incorporate [Industry 4.0]. “
The degree will train students to integrate new digital technologies into manufacturing that increase efficiency, he said.
Prepare the workforce
More and more manufacturers are embracing the changes, although today it is mostly large industries, including automakers. As businesses transition, âthey need someone to figure out what to do with the data they’re getting from sensors and how to analyze it,â Joseph said.
The new program is offered on the Terre Haute, Columbus, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette, Madison, Sellersburg and South Bend / Elkhart campuses.
It’s only just getting started in Terre Haute, with a few courses available in the spring and all SMDI courses will be available next fall.
âWith this program, we teach our students about networking, data analysis, automation and control, but we envision greater integration of smart technologies,â Joseph said. âTechnically there is a bit of maintenance, but we don’t train these people to go out and be able to fix something. It’s a bit between maintenance, engineering, and information technology.
Those trained will be able to integrate smart technologies into a company’s already automated assembly line, Joseph explained.
In a classroom at Ivy Tech’s Center for Workforce Development, the college has its own mini âsmart factory,â a small, classroom-based version of an automated assembly line.
According to Joseph, “Our students will be able to go to the smart factory at Ivy Tech’s Lafayette campus remotely and be able to diagnose it from Terre Haute. … It’s the network part and the cloud-based system part.”
A report published by the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte estimates that 2.4 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled between 2018 and 2028. âIvy Tech graduates skilled in Industry 4.0 technologies will be employable in new interdisciplinary career areas that will help Indiana employers bridge this gap, âaccording to Ivy Tech.
Ivy Tech’s program is associated with applied sciences and graduates will have the opportunity to achieve 19 industry-recognized certifications.
Among the career options for graduates will be a digital manufacturing engineer, a job that pays a median salary of around $ 39 per hour.
In Terre Haute, the new program already has two students and a third is considering enrolling. All courses in the SMDI program will be available in fall 2022, and some of the courses will be available this spring.
Advances in Industry 4.0 do not reduce the need for employees. âWhat we’re going to need are people with a next-level skill set,â said Sue Smith, Ivy Tech vice president for the School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering and Applied Science.
For the industry, the changes mean increased productivity and competitiveness, Smith said.
By offering the new program, Ivy Tech’s role is to help people get better careers and also help employers have a better workforce, Smith said.
While some of Indiana’s biggest companies have already embraced it, others are getting started. âWhat we want to do at Ivy Tech is prepare the workforce before it’s in high demand,â Smith said. “We are trying to get ahead of that curve.”
Great Dane turns to Ivy Tech
The program has the interest of Andrew Thraen, control engineer for Great Dane in Terre Haute. “This is very timely because Great Dane is doing a pretty big expansion in Terre Haute” which will create around 125 jobs over the next few years, “all very high tech and well paying jobs”.
He anticipates that the company will hire graduates from the new Ivy Tech program and that current employees will also receive training.
âThe good thing is that we are able to create these jobs that are more desirable – high-end type technology with a pretty good paycheck,â Thraen said.
Production equipment will be highly automated. “Great Dane is not really new to automation, but the level of automation that we will bring in-house is at a level that we haven’t really reached in the past,” he said. he declares.
The advancements are in the ability to collect data from machines, which the company has done to some extent, but “we’re really getting into the expansion in Terre Haute.”
The changes will make the process more efficient, he said.
âIt usually makes the job a lot easier for the individual, because maybe instead of having to manually move parts by hand or lift heavy objects, we have a machine that does it, and [the employee] just makes sure the machine is working properly, “Thraen said. Industry 4.0” allows employees to use their intelligence and focus on solving bigger problems instead of constantly focusing on how to do it operate the machine day after day. “
Another advantage is that much of the work can be done remotely, he said.
For example, if he got a call from someone who didn’t know how to fix a problem, instead of having to go in and diagnose, he can check it wherever he is, advise the employee on what he needs to do and maybe solve a problem in 15 minutes rather than an hour or two.
The launch of Ivy Tech’s program is timely, said Thraen, who received an engineering degree from Purdue.
âI’ve noticed a pretty good gap between the end of a typical manufacturing engineer and that of a computer scientist. And that’s really a gap that this program intends to close,â he said. “I’m really excited about this because I’ve personally tried to tackle some of these challenges myself.”
Endress + Hauser in Greenwood is a company seeking employees with Industry 4.0 skills.
The need is growing as more companies and industries attempt to integrate Industry 4.0 into their operations, said Nicole Otte, Director of Workforce Development at Endress + Hauser.
âWe need people who can come up with this skill set and who can help sell the product,â she said. The company also needs people who can troubleshoot and maintain its products.
The company sells instruments that help other manufacturers automate and measure their processes in industries such as food / beverage, oil / gas, and pharmaceuticals.
Right now, “it’s more about educating all of our industries about the possibilities,” Otte said. “I think a lot of companies want to do it, but they have to be able to figure it out.”
The benefits of Industry 4.0 are that it should increase productivity and reduce downtime, she said. This can help businesses anticipate problems or concerns before they arise and prevent them from happening.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or [email protected] Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.
For more information on the Smart Manufacturing and Digital Integration Program, visit ivytech.edu/smdi. In Terre Haute, questions can be directed to Molly Joseph at [email protected] or 812-298-2335.