Cerritos, CA, has been recognized as the first community college in California
to offer a “Coordinate Metrology” certificate of achievement approved by the
The program was made
possible through the collaborative efforts of the teaching staff and donations
of product and curriculum support from Verisurf Software and its industry
partners, Faro Technologies and API. The program is significant in that it
closes the loop for students in the concept of model-based manufacturing,
including design, reverse engineering, manufacturing, quality inspection and
Metrology program is a crowning achievement for Cerritos College as it
relationally and digitally connects practical elements of the department’s
applied technology curriculum. In industry this is commonly referred to as
“maintaining the digital thread.”
To fully appreciate
the significance of the Coordinate Metrology certificate program we must look
back to 2000, when Yanick (Nick) Real, Instructional Dean—Technology Division
at Cerritos College, joined the staff and laid out his vision for the applied
technology program. Real identified early on that the industry was rapidly
changing and designed coursework to reflect the times.
Technology was taking
on a greater role as manufacturers began to migrate from 2D drafting and manual
processes to 3D Model-Based enterprises with more automation. The education
program was behind the industry curve and required revamping. The coursework
lacked scalability. Students needed more options and flexibility to move into
the workplace at various levels.
The realities of the
industry were reflected in the job market, as well.
Teaching parts are machined and
inspected on the shop floor following today’s trend towards in-process
“In the beginning,
there were still manual manufacturing/machining jobs, but the decline had
started. For people that could pick up extra skills, there was opportunity to
move into machining technician positions; for others, their jobs were
eliminated or replaced by technology-driven manufacturing,” Real said. “The
days of line workers are rapidly being replaced with technicians. The
difference between a line worker and a technician is technicians have expanded
skillsets, increased responsibility and accountability—with this comes
Trade skills used to
be inherited: If your dad was a machinist, you were probably going to be a
machinist. Today, things are different. Through applied technology and
communications, more people are exposed to the wonders of manufacturing. They
are able to develop a passion for it, even if it has not been a part of their
family history. The applied technology programs at Cerritos College are giving
more people than ever before access to the opportunities afforded trained
Right Sizing Education
Cerritos College by
design has placed its coursework offerings at the heart of manufacturing
technology, with strong ties to supporting educational institutions, industry
and community advisory committees. The program gives students of all ages,
starting as early as ninth grade (about 14 years old), the opportunity to gain
an introduction to manufacturing technology. Based on interest level, aptitude
and career choice, students can go as far as they want, from certificate
programs to an Associate degree or Bachelor of Science degree.
The High School
embraces a National program called Project Lead The Way (PLTW). In essence, the
program allows high school students to take specified courses in applied
technology, while receiving college credit. Lynwood High School, Lynwood, CA,
is one of the most active high schools in the program, under the direction of
Engineering Instructor Christian Munguia. PLTW has been in place at Lynwood
High School for seven years; the goal is to get to students earlier and
introduce them to manufacturing. “The value of learning through doing gives
students a practical point-of-view, which helps them to better assimilate
concepts,” Munguia said.
“This is evident by
increased math and science scores among students participating in the program.
The Design Engineering Lab at
Cerritos College utilizes a popular 3D CAD software and the latest in additive
and subtractive prototyping equipment.
“In addition to
introducing students to manufacturing, the program teaches them how to work,
how to live and how to contribute. Subsequently, they articulate better and are
more likely to see project through to the end.”
Certifications available to high school students through PLTW include Verisurf
Software, Solidworks Software, AutoDesk Inventor Software and NIMS (National
Institute of Metalworking Skills) Certification.
PLTW serves as a
primer for students considering manufacturing as a career path. It also
provides an introduction to college-level certificate programs and college
credits toward degree programs.
Years ago, industrial
arts programs at the high school level were nearly eliminated. Today, many of
these programs are being reintroduced, with closer ties to real-world
applications and industry relevance. For many, the path to becoming a
manufacturing technician now begins in high school. With the right exposure, a
student can gain a real interest in manufacturing and gain a greater
appreciation for subjects like math and science. Applying these subjects
through the practical applications of machining, robotics, 3D design and
engineering makes the light burn bright for many students: They are now
purpose-driven. The concept of combining practical application along with
theoretical teachings is powerful.
Associate's Degree and
offers classes with standardized curriculum on many aspects of manufacturing,
including Machinist, Numerical Control Machine Operator, Numerical Control Tool
Programmer, Coordinate Metrology, Tool and Die Maker, CAD Designer, CAM Programmer,
Plastics and Composites Technology, Fabricating and Woodworking. Many of the
courses offer certificate programs, as well as credit toward an Associate
Bachelor of Science
partners with Northwood University to offer students who want to continue their
education and receive a B.S. in Applied Management with a technical emphasis in
Machine Tool Technology. Northwood offers cost-effective, accelerated degree
completion, and the eligibility criteria is in line with the Associate degree
in Machine Tool Technology offered by Cerritos College.
“The whole idea behind
the programs at Cerritos College is to enlighten students, as early as
possible, about manufacturing technology as a vocation and viable career path,”
Real said. “Once the passion has been ignited, we want to provide students the
most comprehensive and practical education we can—learning by doing.”
and the Digital Thread
Second-year student Steve Dorado is
studying to earn his Associate's degree and become a Certified CNC Programmer.
In addition to his studies he holds a job in the industry as a machine operator.
manufacturing and quality engineers are becoming increasingly accountable to
maintain a digital workflow, end-to-end. To this end, modern manufacturing is
rapidly adopting model-based definition (MBD). When employing an MBD strategy,
the CAD model becomes more than the nominal to which all parts are measured and
inspected against. MBD keeps the all-important digital thread intact—from
design to manufacturing to inspection and quality reporting. Everything that
defines the part exists in a single digital archive, including how to
manufacture and inspect the part. Of course, a comprehensive deployment of MBD
in manufacturing can go far beyond this to complete Product Lifecycle
Management (PLM), but it is important for students to understand the concept.
metrology, reverse engineering is taught for use in determining best fit,
producing legacy parts with missing CAD data, or manufacturing complex surface
profiles—in each case adding value to the all-important digital thread. These
are just a few examples of providing students with relevant and modern concepts
that will increase their value as technicians in the workplace.
Quality inspection and
reporting used to be a disparate process isolated in a quality lab. Today, it
is much more integrated with the production floor through in-process
inspection. Students are taught the importance of cross-platform compatibility,
starting with deployment of an enterprise inspection software and extends to
all coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) and accessories. Today’s inspection
software solutions are capable of serving the entire manufacturing enterprise.
In order to maintain the digital thread, software must be rooted in CAD and
have the ability to import from, manipulate, annotate, model, inspect against,
and export to virtually any CAD file format. At the end of the day, it is the
job of inspection software to align and compare the nominal CAD model with
measured points collected from the finished part, whether that includes a
relatively small number of manually triggered contact points, or noncontact
scanned point cloud data containing millions of points.
This article was first
published in the November 2016 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine.
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