As students head back to school, Advanced Clean Air Technologies Global (ACAT Global), manufacturer of lightweight and efficient catalytic converter substrates, is placing a high priority on education by supporting students at universities in Michigan and California, employing interns and starting a local training program to instruct a new generation of workers in advanced manufacturing technology.
ACAT Global is actively involved with three collegiate programs, engaging students in real-life projects that have a positive impact on the business. ACAT works with the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, providing real-world experience for students in engineering and metallurgy. ACAT’s sister company, Oliver Racing Parts of Grand Rapids, Michigan, also works with the engineering program at U of M. ACAT also works with students at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and the University of California at Davis, in developing and defining surface structure and metallurgical properties of ACAT’s products.
“We want to provide educational opportunities that will develop and train future engineers for manufacturing careers,” said Joseph A. Moch, president and CEO of ACAT Global and Oliver Racing Parts. “The advancements in manufacturing technology that have occurred over the last ten to twenty years make it imperative that students get as much hands-on experience as possible, and we’re fortunate to be able to provide opportunities to students. It’s a true investment in our future.”
To that end, two University of Michigan engineering students worked this summer as interns for ACAT (Dennis Arutyunov of Cleveland, Ohio) and Oliver Racing Parts (Harlan Dannenberg of Cincinnati, Ohio). Dannenberg, who wrapped up his internship in August, received hands-on experience in research and development, documenting manufacturing processes and also studied Finite Element Analysis (FEA) results from Roush Advanced Engineering on connecting rods made by Oliver Racing Parts.
“It was great to see and experience an FEA report in real life, to see the testing and results, to analyze how the connecting rods were tested, and to ensure the data was correct, which verified Oliver’s high quality,” said Dannenberg. “This has given me a chance to apply some of what I’ve learned in school, plus it’s confirmed that mechanical engineering is the right career choice for me.”
ACAT Global is also making an impact on education in their local area, having partnered with educators, manufacturers, economic development groups and Chambers of Commerce throughout the region to launch a computer numerical control (CNC) program in northern Michigan. The “CNC Center for Excellence,” located in the Charlevoix High School machine laboratory, will offer certificate and associate degree options for students beginning this fall.
The new CNC program addresses a critical issue for Michigan’s workforce by providing education for workers in the advanced manufacturing technology field, supplying skilled labor for the numerous manufacturing companies located in the state, with specific plans to target veterans.
“Veterans are a tremendous resource for employers, and I feel we can address the shortage of skilled CNC machinists by creating a program that brings together veterans retraining programs, educators and industry,” said Moch. “We need to create a new image of 21st century manufacturing and encourage more people to consider advanced manufacturing, CNC and CAD/CAM engineering as a career.”