AUG 17, 2023 2:00 PM PDT

Preparing Tomorrow's Engineers: Industry 4.0 Lab Launches at University of Missouri

The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development recently awarded two researchers at the University of Missouri (MU) a one-year, $1 million grant to develop an Industry 4.0 lab for the next generation of engineers and slated to open in the fall 2024 semester within MU’s College of Engineering. Industry 4.0, also called the “fourth industrial revolution”, involves a digital-first outlook to engineering as advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and smart devices continue at a breakneck pace in the manufacturing industry.

“The Industry 4.0 lab gives us the ability to integrate skills at a higher level and the capabilities to continually keep students at the state-of-the-art level for industry,” said Dr. Jim Noble, who is a professor and chair of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at MU, and one of the two researchers who was awarded the grant. “It’s what industry is already starting to do.” The other researcher awarded the grant is Dr. Yi Wang, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at MU.

MU currently has two core labs focused on manufacturing, one lab that emphasizes a mixture of conventional and modern manufacturing while the other lab emphasizes a blend of industrial controls and automation. Both labs will work to prepare undergraduates for the work they will conduct within the Industry 4.0 laboratory.

Dr. Jim Noble (left) and Dr. Mike Klote (right) from the University of Missouri College of Engineering are seen discussing a piece of equipment in one of the College of Engineering’s two manufacturing core labs. (Credit: Zac Anderson/University of Missouri)

Portions of the grant will be used for designing and developing coursework for both an undergraduate certificate and industry extension certificate for industry workers. Development of the course curriculum will be backed by an industrial advisory board comprised of a multitude of manufacturing industry leaders, including Rockwell Automation, Hubbell Power Systems, Gates Corporation, Tri tech Automation, and 3M.

From left to right: Dr. Jim Noble, Dr. Mike Klote, and Dr. Yi Wang from the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering are seen examining equipment in one of the College of Engineering’s two manufacturing core labs. (Credit: Zac Anderson/University of Missouri)

“There are some industries in Missouri that are moving toward greater integration and digitization, but there’s still a lot that haven’t yet,” said Dr. Noble. “So, we want them to come to us and let us train them to be thought leaders as they go back and work in their companies. That also applies to our students as well. We want to give them the foundation to be able to be leaders of this latest industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0.”

How will these Industry 4.0 labs help prepare students and industry workers in the coming years and decades? Only time will tell, and this is why we science!

As always, keep doing science & keep looking up!

Sources: EurekAlert!, World Economic Forum, IBM, Show Me Mizzou

About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
Laurence Tognetti is a six-year USAF Veteran who earned both a BSc and MSc from the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Laurence is extremely passionate about outer space and science communication, and is the author of “Outer Solar System Moons: Your Personal 3D Journey”.
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