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Mechatronics at PackExpo

PMMI has been hard at work creating their new mechatronics certificate program, the next phase of which is being rolled out at PackExpo.

Be sure to stop by the PMMI U booth to take a "demo" test and learn more about the certificate program. Visit the education pavilion and speak with the colleges that are offering the training and education that will prepare your workforce for our multi-skilled world.

The first two certificates in the PMMI program are introduction to Industrial Electricity and Mechanical Components. The test for mechanical components has just been completed in time for PackExpo. The domains and competencies for each test are listed on the PMMI University web site under the heading Certificate Details.

Although I maintain and caution that mechatronics is much more than learning skills from within existing silos (see Words are Important - Mechatronics ), the most straightforward way of getting started is to learn skills from the electrical, mechanical, computer and control domains. Once these fundamental skills are mastered, learning must turn to a more integrated use of skills and knowledge. The next test in the series will be on PLC's as the PMMI team adds the third leg, the computer leg, to the 4-legged mechatronics stool.

Preparing these tests is no small undertaking. PMMI staff, a test preparation consultant, representatives from community colleges and universities, and the Mid-Atlantic Mechatronics Partnership are engaged over a period of several months preparing each test. Test preparation begins only after the competencies for each certificate are defined and vetted, an activity that was completed last year.

No similar set of certificates is available to the industry for Industrial Maintenance and Mechatronics. As a result, our education system struggles to prepare new students for these important jobs and industry struggles to find appropriate training to upgrade the skills of their workforce. PMMI is taking a leadership role which not only will aid packagers and packaging machinery builders, but manufacturing as a whole!

You may not have heard the clamor for this sort of thing, but trust me, it is coming. One major global consumer products packager is revamping their trades program worldwide around this new skill set. High schools, community colleges and universities across my home state of Pennsylvania are putting up their own money, not grant money, to create an industrial maintenance and mechatronics powerhouse to support manufacturing. If your company and your state or region isn't looking into developing mechatronics technicians for the immediate future, you'll be left behind.

P.S. Yours truly has taken and passed both tests.
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