Dismayed by the shortage of engineering graduates who had much—if any—exposure to motion control or fluid power in school, Parker Hannifin decided to take matters into its own hands. Over the past decade, the company has donated nearly $1 million to engineering schools to fill that void. "In the past, we could hire a business major with a high mechanical aptitude for a sales position. Today, we need engineers who are trained to solve problems and are technically knowledgeable in what we call the tri-technologies: electrohydraulics, electromechanical technology, and electropneumatics," says Larry Schrader, global motion and control training manager for Parker. To date, Parker has given funds to nine engineering schools to establish programs and laboratories in the tri-technologies. The schools, which include Purdue and the University of Illinois, are selected on the basis of their willingness and ability to make a long-term commitment to the program. To date, Parker estimates that hundreds of students have benefited. So, presumably, has industry.
A new federally sponsored manufacturing innovation center to strengthen US manufacturing abilities in fiber-reinforced composites has formed, bringing together materials suppliers, OEMs, university R&D labs, and national labs.
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