Festo Didactic Discusses Preparing for Industry 4.0 at NJIT

Festo Didactic, the world-leading equipment and solution provider for industrial education, presented a colloquium at the Albert Dorman Honors College on Industry 4.0, Smart Factories, and Growing the Next Generation Automation-Capable Workforce.

Mike Nager, Business Development Manager for Festo Didactic in Eatontown, NJ, spoke about disruptive technologies throughout history, presenting the students with the question, “What will be the next disruptive technology in manufacturing?”  Looking at the “D” words typically associated with manufacturing (Dirty, Dull, and so on),  Mr. Nager pointed out that the Smart Factories of today are quite different, with clean, brightly lit environments and specialized robots performing most of the mundane tasks.  Festo Didactic’s mission is to train capable individuals to maintain these elaborate systems and be able to integrate advances such as RFIDs and machine-to-machine communications into manufacturing environments.

Mike_QAMr. Nager ended his presentation with a series of thought-provoking slides about industry disruptors, citing that the largest cab company in the world owns no cars (Uber) and the largest room rental company owns no vacation properties (Airbnb).  After the presentation, students asked a variety of questions, including whether or not manufacturing would return to the US.  Mr Nager stated that manufacturing is indeed returning to US and will bring with it new jobs, but not the jobs of the 1970s assembly line, and that is the gap that Festo Didactic is committed to filling with its learning factories, training and e-learning programs that directly evolve from technologies and innovations in automation.

Torsten Schimanski, also in attendance that day representing the Festo Didactic Learning Center in Eatontown, NJ, published a LinkedIn blog post about the upcoming colloquium, the continuing growth in robotics, and opportunities for those willing to learn the skills required to be a part of Industry 4.0.  You can read Mr. Schimanski’s blog post here.

Washington D.C. Study Tour – Part 3

This post concludes Honors student Ryan Merluza’s retrospective of the 2015 Washington D.C. Study Tour.

“The following day, we took a trip to Capital Hill to visit the House of Representatives side first, then to the Senate.  They kept us active and engaged for the most part of the day, but I enjoyed every minute of it.  You felt the history walking through the marble-floored hallways and basement tunnels that connected the different buildings of Congress.  We met with two of New Jersey’s Congressmen, Albio Sires and Donald M. Payne, Jr.  They spoke in great detail about their responsibilities and the difficulty of how their decisions made in D.C. can bear the weight of affecting their communities back home.  In between meetings while walking through the basement tunnels, we met Georgia’s Congressman John Lewis.  He is the last of the “Big Six” that led the Civil Rights Movement that is still alive today.  He told us how he met Dr. King when he was only fifteen and how what they started back then is still not finished as he continues the fight towards a greater good.IMG_6515

After completing our meetings with staffers and Representatives, we moved over to the Senate side of Congress to meet with Senator Booker and attend a hearing in a Senate gallery.  Meeting with our Senator I believe was inspirational for the group as a whole.  He shared with us how he was able to achieve great things while still being true to himself.  During the recent history of police violence in our nation, I remembered finding an article that Senator Booker wrote as a young Stanford undergraduate speaking on the issues of racial profiling that he has experienced personally, even while being an Ivy League student.  With the message still being relevant today, I asked him how it felt looking back to where he was when he wrote the article, to now being in a position where he can invoke real change.  He replied that in order to create change, we must first look in the mirror as it begins with oneself.  He stated since then, every decision, how he impacts others, and how he carries himself must be done in a way that invokes positivity and carries the core values that he believes in.”

Washington D.C. Study Tour (Part 2)

IMG_6498This post continues with Honor student Ryan Merluza’s retrospective of the 2015 Washington D.C. Study Tour.  The first stop during the tour was the Office of Naval Research described previously.  Next, the students went to the National Mall, followed by dinner with NJIT alumni.

“Following the Office of Naval Research, we ventured to the National Mall to visit the Lincoln Memorial.  It was my second time there, but this time around I noticed an engraving on one of the steps that I didn’t see when I was a kid.  From where I stood, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.  Standing there, I tried to envision the millions of people surrounding the Reflection Pool and I took a moment to reflect on the progress we have made as a society.  Here I was, surrounded by a diverse group of scholars that come from all different walks of life.  Even with the negativity and imperfections that are still prevalent in today’s society, I am able to stay optimistic that Dr. King’s dream will still fully come to fruition.  Perfectly fitting, the memory of Dr. King gets brought up again in a later experience during this study tour.

Next on the agenda was the Alumni Dinner at Pinstripes in Georgetown.  Meeting with the alums and scholars from different generations that work in D.C. was of great value to me.  To hear them discuss where their education at NJIT was able to take them professionally allowed me to realize that my limits to where I can go are really endless.  They provided wise advice to my peers and myself that the focus, dedication, and sacrifice needed to complete a rigorous curriculum at NJIT provided them the necessary tools for success in life after undergraduate studies.”

(to be continued)