CIC - Spring 2020

Advanced Manufacturing: Engineering

Engineers play a vital role in virtually every industry in Canada. In the advanced manufacturing sector, they are essential.

Electromechanical engineers are needed to design, manufacture and maintain an abundance of equipment from computer monitors to satellites in space.

Chemical engineers combine chemical, material, physical and digital curriculum to help create such things as reactors and membrane separators.

Mechanical engineers are needed in the growing health technology industry and aerospace field.

The increasing demand for consumer electronics and electric vehicles will require the work of electrical engineers.

Next-generation advanced manufacturing needs keen minds with extensive knowledge, and innovations that use emerging technologies.

Andrew Davis is an electromechanical engineer working as an Accelerator Systems Specialist. Davis studied computer engineering for a few years but still didn’t feel like he had found his niche. It wasn’t until his four-month electromechanical work placement during his studies at Durham College that he discovered his passion.

Andrew Davis believes integrating automation and robotics with engineering is the way of the future. Photo credit: Andrew Davis

He says, “The merger of electrical and mechanical engineering technology is a relatively recent development and fueled the creation of new job positions that are an essential part of the Advanced Manufacturing field in Canada. Electromechanical Engineers learn a valuable spread of mechanical and electrical technologies that intertwine in the field. This contributes to the Advanced Manufacturing field in Canada by having a workforce that has a broader understanding of many different components and how they work together to make a machine.”

“I believe that Electromechanical Engineering is a growing portion of the established Automation and Controls sector of Canada’s economy,” Davis continues. “A growing global population leads to a greater need for goods and services, the industry must adapt to this increased demand. In order to compensate, businesses have begun integrating automation with their current processes such as ordering products online or replacing humans with robots to complete repetitive tasks. As more industries incorporate a robotic component the need for a skilled workforce of individuals who can program, install, and repair these machines arises.”

Herman Kabungu, a 3rd Year Student Chemical Engineering Technologist Student at Durham College agrees, “I believe that the chemical industry has always played an essential role in Canada’s economy. From petroleum to natural gas processing, as well as the refining of coal and ores, these chemical industries have managed to provide an economic boost in Canada. When I did my research, I discovered that in Canada, chemical industries are among the top three sectors of the manufacturing industry in revenue, value-added, and exports.  Canada’s economy is still highly dependent on resource industries such as Forestry, Mining, Metallurgy and Energy. Chemical engineering underlines a significant role in those fields mentioned.”

The opportunity to obtain employment in the field is growing by leaps and bounds as achievements in advanced technology increase.

Herman Kabungu is a 3rd Year Chemical Engineering Technologist Student. Photo credit Herman Kabungu

Davis says, “The jobs which are in the highest demand are focused around industrial automation. For example, the cosmetics industry is a booming area that requires automated product lines for mixing, sorting, and packaging products in a hygienic environment. These product lines are essential to their business and require skilled technologists to maintain and fix issues with the complex equipment. The career outlook in this field is promising, many companies are looking to find efficiencies in their processes and realize that integrating automation and robotics is the best route.”

“One of the largest employers of chemical engineers, in my opinion, is research and development,” shares Kabungu. “The leading role of chemical engineers is to design and troubleshoot processes to produce chemicals, pharmaceuticals, fuels, food and biologicals and many more. Production and innovation are made from research and development of ideas. Industries cannot solve some of their problems by chemical engineers alone; they need researchers. The employment outlook for a chemical engineer in Ontario, based on the next three years, will be good, according to Canada’s Job bank website.”

Potential students of engineering would be well advised to research all areas of the profession before deciding which area they wish to pursue.

Davis advises, “Electromechanical Engineering Technology is a great fit for someone who likes to have an understanding of all aspects of a machine. Automation is the right fit for students who love all things mechanical. If the ability to program, build, troubleshoot, and repair robotic components sounds appealing then this program may be a great option. One piece of advice that I would have liked to receive when I was beginning my education would have been to follow your passion and what interests you and a career will follow. If I had chosen to research more about the Electromechanical field instead of choosing engineering right out of high school because I felt like it was the only option, I would have found my calling sooner. Attending lectures about topics you care about rarely feels like work and the same concept applies in the workplace. If you choose to follow a passion you may discover a position or career opportunity that you didn’t know existed.”

By Jackie Fritz