The deep, technical skills and knowledge of today become the building blocks of tomorrow. Naturally evolving layers of technological applications allow us to build and make progress, layer by layer, rather than staying relatively stagnant with only incremental improvement. To gain ground in manufacturing, we need to embrace next-layer hardware and software technologies now, which have accumulated knowledge built in, so that we can focus on applying these solutions as part of a digital factory. A whole new set of skills and knowledge is required to learn and become an expert in evolving strategies and techniques to do this, attracting a whole new generation of manufacturing career opportunities.
Layers of Technologies
Not so long ago, relatively speaking, the people who were at the forefront of inventing the humble transistor were very excited. Numerous applications of transistorized applications appeared on the horizon that would revolutionize the electronics industry. Once the use of transistors had become established, however, the focus quickly changed towards the packaging of multiple transistors into standard encapsulated functional blocks, which became known as integrated circuits (ICs). These put hundreds, thousands, and then millions of transistors together in a little black plastic package. The need for knowledge of how to make a transistor faded into becoming a common understanding; the active focus in the industry was now on chip design.
Product designers today have over 95% of their designs done for them—embedded within the complex chip-sets that they utilize and apply as a commodity—without a lot of thought about the complexity of the internal design and content.
To read this entire column, which appeared in the December 2019 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.