BYU-Idaho has added Manufacturing Engineering Technology as a new major for Fall 2019 semester.
The new major will be part of the engineering technology department. Kyle Kinghorn, chair of the engineering technology department, said there are two reasons for the addition.
“There’s a lot of manufacturing jobs available right now.” Kinghorn said. “If you look at Boeing’s website, for example, they’ve got a seven-year backlog on making aircraft … so there’s a lot of positions that need people that understand how to manufacture a product.”
The second reason for adding the new major was to provide other options for the students who want to work in an engineering field, but don’t want to take difficult math and science classes.
“We have a very large mechanical engineering program and there’s quite a bit of attrition. … This will be a place where we can scoop up some of those mechanical engineering students that want to be in that kind of discipline,” Kinghorn said.
According to Kinghorn, there is a significant difference between manufacturing engineering technology and manufacturing engineering. Manufacturing engineering technology is a hands-on degree, whereas manufacturing engineering focuses on engineering theory.
Kinghorn said the first two years of manufacturing engineering technology is really mechanical engineering.
“After the first two years, it starts to separate, MET will take on more hands–on courses in manufacturing of plastic goods and composite goods… the traditional mechanical engineering students will take more engineering type courses,” Kinghorn said.
Some of the hands-on projects for students in the new major include designing tools, parts and complete pieces.
“(Students) designed a bicycle stem made out of carbon fiber.” Kinghorn said. “They not only designed the part but the tooling to make the part.”
According to Kinghorn, students have already designed remote control car shells, grocery bag carrying handles and other items.
“(Students) are going to learn how to make pieces out of plastics or composites or metals; it’s very hands-on,” Kinghorn said.