E-Cubers is an initiative that promotes the career of Equipment Systems Engineering. It also encourages the study of this field of engineering at all levels, from secondary school to PhD.
Why is this career important?
Technology is changing the world rapidly in a number of important ways. One of the most significant is the switch from the third industrial revolution, which introduced automation to manufacturing, to the fourth industrial revolution, known as Industry 4.0.
Industry 4.0 involves the creation of the Smart Factory where manufacturers become digitalised businesses that output physical products.
In practical terms, this means machines and equipment in factories interacting with each other autonomously. It also involves integrating production lines with supply and distribution chains all the way to the end user/customer, and it means integrating factory floor operations with all units in the business.
The Lights Out Factory Concept
The endpoint of this technological advance is the lights-out factory. This is where a factory can run without any human input whatsoever. The reality of this concept is still a long way off, at least on a large scale. However, manufacturing companies are implementing technologies that are moving them closer.
The roles of people working in the manufacturing sector are, therefore, going to change. Some roles will, inevitably, become obsolete, but new roles will also be created. One of the most important is that of the Equipment Systems Engineer.
Equipment Systems Engineers will conceptualise, create, develop, enhance, install, commission, manage, and support the technologies that will help manufacturers benefit from the possibilities presented by Industry 4.0.
Why Is E-Cubers Needed?
The field of Equipment Systems Engineering is very new. In Ireland, there are currently only a handful of courses available for post-graduate students. Those courses are new, though, so are only starting to produce graduates with the required skills and knowledge.
There are people currently in industry who do the job of an Equipment Systems Engineer, but they have different titles. Plus, they almost always acquire their skills and abilities on the job through development programmes, formal and informal, with their employer.
Contrast the above with the immediate need we have right now for people with the skills and knowledge of an Equipment Systems Engineer.
We simply are not producing enough. In addition, not enough young people are aware of the need for Equipment Systems Engineers, and there aren’t enough courses available across the country for them to enrol on.
If we don’t change this, Ireland will struggle to remain competitive.
E-Cubers goal is to be at the forefront of this change.
What Does E-Cubers Do?
E-Cubers wants more people to become Equipment Systems Engineers. It promotes this at all levels from secondary school-age children to working engineers who want to upskill to doctoral level education.
So, E-Cubers spends time in schools, at recruitment fairs, in universities, and at other events and locations where it can inform people about the changing nature of manufacturing and the growing need for Equipment Systems Engineers.
We also communicate with careers officers, so they can inform the young people they encounter.
In addition, we work with universities and colleges across Ireland, helping them develop graduate and post-graduate courses in the field of Equipment Systems Engineering.
Finally, E-Cubers is a central resource for information, communication, discussion, and collaboration involving engineering students (and those hoping to get onto an engineering course), engineers, industry, and academia.
Who Is Behind E-Cubers?
E-Cubers is a not-for-profit initiative that is industry-led. It was started by the senior management team at Sligo-based company SL Controls, specifically Shane Loughlin and Keith Moran.
It is supported by other companies in the manufacturing and services sectors as well as the University of Limerick, IT Sligo, DIT and Coola post-primary secondary school in Co. Sligo.
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