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Engineering : In the News

15 Engineering Articles | Page:

Oakland University receives $500,000 gift of robotics equipment

The emerging field of robotics is a wave of the future for the Great Lakes State.


"FANUC America Corporation recently presented Oakland with a gift-in-kind donation of robots, software and 2D iRVision equipment representing an industry value of $474,398. The gift promises to enhance the university's academic offerings and boost its impact on the regional economy...

The gift will support development of an Industrial Robotics and Automation program within OU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, which will train engineers for high-demand jobs in the field. Many of those jobs are located in Metro Detroit as the area is home to world-class robotics and automation companies."

More here

Automakers go head-on with Silicon Valley to recruit talent

As cars become increasingly software-driven, the automakers are recasting themselves as promising venues for software engineers.


"U.S. automakers have embarked on an ambitious drive to hire software "codaholics," an effort that is increasingly pitting Detroit against its technology partners in Silicon Valley...

Four years after a sweeping industry restructuring that included massive job cuts, Ford and its U.S. rivals need to hire thousands of engineers at a time when software is playing a much more prominent role in vehicle design than even a few years ago.

Millions of lines of computer code increasingly govern core vehicle functions like braking and air-conditioning. Electronic parts including sensors and microcontrollers, used in laptop computers and smartphones, are the backbone of such vehicles.

The shift has General Motors Co, Ford and Chrysler Group LLC vying for a new kind of talent — engineers with software, electronic and computer network skills — that has typically ignored Detroit...."

More here.

Auburn Hills ranks 5th nationally for engineering jobs

No question the Detroit economy is back. Auburn Hills is ranking right up with the major cities when it comes to jobs for gearheads.


"According to a survey by  Monster Worldwide Inc.,  owner of  Monster.com, Auburn Hills ranked No. 5, behind Houston; San Jose, Calif.; San Diego; and Chicago.

New York; Dallas; Irvine, Calif.; Atlanta; and Austin, Texas, rounded out the list."

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Troy-based Autobike's revolutionary gear shifters now available

Troy-based Autobike's brainy bikes are about to go public! Check out the promotional video for their automatic gear shifter below.

Metro Detroit has lots of engineering jobs that need to be filled

Flipping common wisdom about metro Detroit on its ear: the problem isn't too few engineering jobs. It's too few engineers.


Fifty-one companies, from Bosch to Hyundai to DTE Energy, looked to fill almost 3,500 positions. For the first time in a long time, engineers like Nancy Miron no longer were scared. The 54-year-old left Michigan during the recession for a job in Kentucky, only to be laid off there. She still owns a home in Royal Oak.

"The market is better than it was several years ago," she said. "I'm not worried."

Even so, a shortage of highly skilled workers is threatening to stall newfound growth for business and the state economy, even as millions across the country are looking for work.

Read the rest of the story here.

Chinese-owned auto supplier sets up shop in Troy, plans to hire 50

The hunt for advanced auto engineers is on as Nexteer Inc. moves into Troy with a plan to hire 50. That's a lot of high salary positions.


"The need for engineering talent to support growing contracts is leading Saginaw-based and Chinese-owned steering systems supplier Nexteer Inc. to set up shop in metro Detroit.

Nexteer said last week it would open a 30,000-square-foot customer service center in Troy in April. As many as 50 additional engineers will be hired ahead of its opening, said Dennis Hoeg, vice president of engineering. "

Read the rest here.

Metro Detroit's hiring, nation takes notice

The headline reads "Detroit's Hiring Surge Is the Economy's Only Bright Spot." Who'd've thunk it? More please. With a resurgent auto industry, SE Michigan is becoming a positive bump in the nation's employment graph.


Ah, the virtuous cycling of Americans building American things in America, and then selling them at a profit to other Americans, who will borrow American money to buy them and pay American interest which can then be productively re-invested in building more American things that will create American jobs.

Shooting rockets at the moon this isn't, folks. This is how the economy is supposed to work — and create the growth that's needed to bring down unemployment.

Read more here.

Metro Detroit challenges Silicon Valley for engineering talent

As the auto industry recovers and gains its footing top tier engineering jobs have become the coin of the realm. Aggressively courting talent, companies like GM and Ford are starting to take on Silicon Valley as the place to find work.


"Expertise in cloud computing, mobile software applications and energy management are in demand in the Motor City as automakers replace car stereos with Internet radio and gasoline engines with motors powered by lithium-ion batteries. Technology job postings in the Detroit area doubled last year, making it the fastest-expanding region in the country, according to Dice Holdings Inc. (DHX), a job-listing website.

"There's a war for talent out there, and it's only going to get worse," said Jim Bazner, vice president of human capital solutions at MSX International in Southfield, Michigan, which helps automakers find specialized employees. "There are hundreds of jobs, and all the automakers are hiring." "

Read the rest of the story here.

Boeing contract with USAF could mean $25M, 450 jobs for Michigan

It's the economic butterfly effect. A big contract win by Boeing in Chicago means money and jobs for Michigan's aerospace-related companies.


"At least four Michigan manufacturers are ready to produce components on the NewGen Tanker. One is Livonia-based LaSalle Electric Supply Co., which will provide electrical standards, lighting products and tie straps.

LaSalle currently stocks aircraft lamps for Boeing, including the 767 aircraft. The NewGen Tanker is a wide-body, multimission aircraft based on the Boeing 767 commercial airplane and updated with advanced technology.

"There's a lot of homegrown interest in this," said Jim Gatward, president of LaSalle Electric Supply. "It does two things for us: extends the lifeline of the Boeing 767 aircraft platform for many years and all ancillary product and support that go into that aircraft.""

Read the rest of the story here.

Ford's high-tech, 'flexible' production line spotlighted

The post auto industry bail-out narrative seems to be one of innovation and resurgence. USA Today takes a look at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne and how it represents the industry's way forward.


"The system is impressive in operation. At the step where the sides of a Focus are created, workers take panels from a rack and position them with other metal parts on a machine. Then robots take over, gripping and spot welding the body parts together electrically to create one side in an operation that creates almost no sparks, which would leave unwanted metal dust in the air. It could be a sedan or hatchback. Doesn't matter. The robots can tell them apart.

In the past, such assembly required specific machines built to repeat the same task. The tools had to be laboriously and expensively changed to build a new model. Now, most of the time, loading new software does the trick of telling the flexible robots how to do a new task.

"Instead of buying new tooling, we just program" the robot to recognize parts and weld them, says Jim Tetreault, Ford's vice president of North American manufacturing.
Other areas of the plant show similar flexibility. Vehicles on the line ride on "skillets," for example, that automatically raise and lower to the ideal height at each station for the task and model."

Read the rest of the story here.

Israel company helping Michigan to patch leaky pipes, create jobs

We got some leaky pipes here in Michigan and leaky pipes, unless patched, can really mess up your daily commute, or keep your kids out of school, or just plain destroy the infrastructure. So an Israel-based company is working alongside our state to help fix the problem.


Representatives from Israel-based Miya will work side by side with experts in Michigan to help identify faulty pipes, and leaks, and will together develop ways to go about fixing problems.

Project organizers say they plan to expand the program to the entire Michigan region to help stimulate jobs in water engineering, maintenance, installation and manufacturing.

"As these projects expand, we will train more Michigan workers and develop expertise that we can export nationally and globally as well," said Lt. Gov. John Cherry at the official opening of Green Jobs for Blue Waters.

The initiative will not only create new jobs, but will in the long term save taxpayers money, as water savings translates to energy savings.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor charged up for battery business

Battery development is charging ahead of the pack in the Ann Arbor region. A number of local companies, including the university, are developing new, improved, and innovated batteries, turning the area into a development hub.

The focus is mainly on car battery technologies to alleviate dependence on gasoline. These batteries, essentially, split the duty, allowing cars to go dozens of more miles before tapping into the gas tank.


Adding to the local battery technology boom is University of Michigan professor Ann Marie Sastry, whose startup company Sakti3 will "commercialize a manufacturing process in Ann Arbor for the development of high-power batteries that will withstand the rigors of automotive use, primarily in electric vehicles," according to a news release.

Sastry has been publicly quiet about the details concerning her company. But Ann Arbor SPARK CEO Michael Finney indicated that "she's got investors who are willing to help her grow her business." State tax credits were awarded based on projections that the company would eventually employ 112.

Meanwhile, the Ann Arbor division of A123Systems is helping GM develop the battery for the much-hyped plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, a vehicle that GM says will travel 40 miles on a single electrical charge.

A123Systems owns Ann Arbor-based T/J Technologies, which was co-founded by U-M professors Levi and Maria Thompson. Maria Thompson is now president of the Ann Arbor division of A123Systems.

Levi Thompson, director of U-M's hydrogen energy technology laboratory, said the university's intellectual property and innovative strength has driven the growth of local companies focusing on alternative energy and battery technology.

Read the entire article here.

The future may start with a go-kart

Lawrence Tech is participating in something that takes Formula-1 racing to the next level - albeit a smaller, futuristic level. It's called Formula Zero, it's an international zero-emissions race using hydrogen fuel cells strapped to go-karts.

The Lawrence Tech team, Element One, qualified for the competition in August in Rotterdam. The design of their hydrogen-powered zinger - inspired by F-22 and F-35 fighter planes - also took first place in design.


Formula Zero’s purpose is to use a racing competition to publicize the potential of hydrogen fuel cells to provide a zero-emission solution for transportation. The Formula Zero Championship, Student Edition, was created under the guidance of the Alternative Energies Commission of the Federation Internationale De L’Automobile, the worldwide governing body of major motor sports series. The long-term goal is to create a racing competition with full-scale race cars.

The university teams will be competing in smaller, essentially go-kart-sized versions that are capable of reaching 70 mph. The student teams had to design a kart with room for the driver as well as the fuel-cell package, a hydrogen tank, an electric motor and capacitors to provide rapid acceleration.

Read the entire article here.

Michigan's nerdiest nerds and geekiest geeks to converge in Penguicon

To paraphrase the Weird Al song "White and Nerdy", one doesn't need to be white but they should probably be nerdy to show up at the Penguicon 6.0. The science fiction and open source software convention will be held on April 18-20 in Troy.


To those of you familiar with the Linux and Free/Open Source community think of a weekend long Linux Users Group meeting with hundreds of other geeks, which also just happens to have nationally acclaimed guests, a LAN party, its own wireless network, hotel room parties, lots of folks talking about science fiction and fantasy, a place to buy cool t-shirts and buttons and such, amateur singing, anime, a costume contest and free caffeine and snacks always available.

Read the entire article here.

Wayne State program hopes to further girls' interest in math, science

Wayne State University's GO-Girl, now entering its sixth year, is accepting applications for the 2008 session. GO-GIRL - Gaining Options, Girls Investigate Real Life - is a free program geared toward promoting interest in science, math and technology among seventh grade girls.


Since its inception in 2002, GO-GIRL has helped more than 300 middle school girls from public and private schools in the Detroit metropolitan area develop mathematical confidence, skills and conceptual understanding by integrating mathematics and social science research into a single-sex, technology-rich environment supported by university student mentors.

Read the entire article here.
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