May 082013

By Julie Wiessner
Northland Pioneer College has rolled out their new Mechatronics Engineering Technology (MET) course of study and is enrolling now for this fall. The two-year degree is in demand, by not only the up and coming area potash mining companies, but also for industries like, power plants, various utilities, communication companies, small to medium manufacturing companies, and electrical engineering positions in general.
Instrumentation, mechanical and electrical studies are the areas of focus in MET classes. Department Chair of Industrial Maintenance and Operations Kenny Keith stated, “This course of study is very broad and covers a lot of ground in order to make a person with this degree very hirable.”
The MET skills set provide the required knowledge for the newly emerging manufacturing currently trending in America, according to the Department of Labor and Energy.
The new learning system that was purchased with a grant from Arizona Sun Corridor Get Into Energy Consortium Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training Grant from Amatrol comes with its own curriculum, however, Keith notes, it will be combined with the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCR), which is the nationwide construction program utilized by NPC.
According to Keith, NPC is getting ready to hire faculty needed to teach these courses and then will send them to Jeffersonville, Ind., for a week of training on the new equipment.
Within the MET courses are 44 core credit classes in particular, focusing on the specific MET requirements. Core MET classes include Manufacturing Fundamentals, Industrial Mechanics I and II, Industrial Electrical Systems, Introduction to Programmable Logic Controllers, Rotating Electrical Machines, Robotics and Motion Control, Process Control and Instrumentation, Advanced Programmable Logic Controllers, Integrated Manufacturing Systems, and a student’s own Mechatronics application project. The other 22 credit hours for the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree will consist of general requirement classes.
Mark Vest, Vice President for Learning and Student Services, noted, “This program was created at the request of local industry advisory panels, concentrating on electronic control processes and combining mechanical and robotic skills used in multiple industries.”
The campus in Holbrook will provide computer-based and hands-on instruction. A federal grant will supply nearly half a million dollars of state-of-the-art, hands-on training equipment and online curriculum for national certification in energy related and mining occupations, as well as opportunities to continue studies toward a bachelor’s or higher degree. Keith noted, “The Mechatronics degree can be a stepping-stone into an engineering degree.”
For more information, contact Kenny Keith at NPC at (928) 524-7360, or toll free (800) 266-7845.