In our experience chemical engineers make outstanding industrial automation engineers… I’m not just saying that because my boss is a chemical engineer (but really, that’s the only reason). “Chem-Es” have a knack for understanding the big picture of our client’s processes, and can also readily engage in the detail of unit / process operations. Ultimately automation is the implementation of processes. This mindset, and EA teaching the technology, is one of our proven wining formulas.
The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE) has an annual competition for Chem-E-Car. College students design and construct a car powered by a chemical reaction of their choosing. The car has to safely carry a specified load over an assigned distance and must have a stop mechanism.
The Western Regional competition was hosted by USC AICHE this year. Enterprise Automation sponsored the event, I attended to meet and interact with future engineers, and see what chemical engineers do on Saturdays. There were 15 schools in attendance and 17 cars in competition, each car entered has two attempts. The top 3 go on to the National competition. The tank shown in the picture was Long Beach State’s car, they ultimately won Western Regionals with a run that was nearly perfect.
This was our first significant engagement with AICHE. To my mechanical engineer eyes much of it looked like Breaking Bad on wheels. But I was highly impressed by the participation level, the notable diversity represented in the teams, and the wide range of design approaches.