New courses, equipment to advance Engineering Department

By Steven Adamo

The Engineering Department is currently developing an advanced manufacturing course that will provide students with the skills required to become highly competitive in the workforce.

“Advanced manufacturing is using current technology to its fullest,” Kamyar Khashayar, assistant professor and director of the Engineering Department, said. “What has changed is we have new technology to manufacture things.”

The East Los Angeles College lab is equipped with laser scanners that can scan anything from small objects to people, to large objects like the wing of an airplane.

“Southern California is the motherland for aerospace. 67 percent of all fasteners, rivets, bolts and nuts used in the aerospace industry in the world is manufactured in Southern California,” Khashayar said.

In 2014, the International Space Station (ISS) installed their first 3D printer in space, which allowed technicians to send files from Earth to be printed in space.

The first object printed in space was a wrench. It took a week to design and to be approved by NASA. After being sent to the ISS, it took only four hours to make.

According to Khashayar, the time it takes to 3D print depends on the number of components and the density of the required part.

If thousands of parts need to be printed, an aluminum mold is required. If only a few are needed, then a silicon mold is used. Though the print time varies, both methods take less time compared to traditional methods.

Engineering is “design, build and test,” Khashayar said. “We have to design it to see the analysis behind it, or else it’s modeling. But with design, automatically all the calculations, the applied math, analysis and simulation have to prove the design behind it. How do you validate the design? It’s the calculation behind it.”

No longer dependent on mail order, engineers are now able to print out the missing part that they would have to wait days, weeks or months for.

This allows more time to be spent on designing, building and performing tests rather than waiting for the postman.

The original engineering program started with the creation of East Los Angeles College in 1945, when it was located in a wing of Garfield High School.

ELAC currently has the largest engineering program among community colleges in California, with roughly 1,800 students enrolled in the variety of courses offered.

Another reason for its popularity is the number of transferrable courses to Universities of California and California State Universities. “ELAC has 14 courses which are transferrable course to course, compared to other community colleges in the state which has only four to five,” Khashayar said.

Jose Ramirez, chair and professor of the Engineering Department, said that ELAC’s current engineering programs are the most comprehensive in California.

Elans who have completed their Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Foundation engineering courses can transfer to a CSU/UC at a junior level under three types of Career and Technical Educations (CTEs): Engineering Graphics & Design Tech (Mechanical Engineering, ME), Electronics (Electrical Engineering, EE) and Engineering Support (Computer Engineering, CE).

Last December, ELAC hosted the first Manufacturing Technician Boot Camp, a five-week accelerated program aimed at training students for entry-level manufacturing positions.

“The program was successful in 40 percent placement within the first week and grew to 50 percent in a month after the graduation. The certificate program consists of five-credit courses developed and taught by ELAC and three-credit courses by UCLA Extension, having total contact hours of 216,” said Khashayar.

To learn more about Advanced Manufacturing, the next Manufacturing Technician Boot Camp is planned for this Summer.

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