Digital Adaption Key To Manufacturing Industry

Embracing new technologies will be an important avenue as growth is projected to continue in the manufacturing industry.

U of Arizona: An Advanced Manufacturing Investor

The University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ has invested heavily in providing opportunities for faculty and students to pursue advanced manufacturing, research, education, and careers. While most initiatives in advanced manufacturing occur in the University’s College of Engineering, an interdisciplinary team of faculty and students from the colleges of science, optical science, and medicine promotes advanced manufacturing across campus and beyond.

The College of Engineering offers 17 undergraduate degree programs and just as many graduate and doctoral degree programs. These range from aerospace engineering and materials science engineering to optical sciences engineering. More than 3,200 undergraduate students and 1,000 graduate students are currently enrolled in these degree programs, which have more than 30,000 alumni.

University of Arizona
An 18b Coordinate Measuring Machine is among equipment available to students at the University of Arizona. (Photo: Courtesy University of Arizona)


The College of Engineering’s research portfolio includes more than 100 projects, with an annual expenditure of $63 million (fiscal year 2023). Core institutional partners include NASA, the Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation. Private industry partners include Tucson-based Raytheon, Honeywell, Texas Instruments, and Tucson Electric Power.

To give engineering students hands-on experience addressing real-world engineering challenges, the College of Engineering developed the Craig M. Berge Engineering Design Program.

Students tackle team projects in their first semester, helping them understand engineering theory and application, and then learn manufacturing and commercialization as they culminate their studies with a year-long, interdisciplinary capstone design project.

The UArizona Center for Innovation (UACI) is part of the University of Arizona’s 1,300-acre Tech Parks Arizona, one of the country’s premier research parks bringing together small startups and industry leaders.

The assignment familiarizes students with the Engineering Design Center, a workspace where they can print 3D objects, build circuit boards, and learn fabrication skills using plastics, wood, and metal. Requiring students to fully participate in design, internships, and research, the program has involved 114 senior design teams and more than 60 industry sponsors, including Caterpillar Inc., Paragon Space Development Corp., Rain Bird Corporation, and Roche Tissue Diagnostics.

The University of Arizona College of Engineering has a graduation rate of 75%, with 91% of graduates receiving job offers before or at graduation.

These skilled engineers go on to work across the globe in a variety of fields, and many remain in Tucson to take advantage of the city’s high concentration of aerospace and defense companies along with a strong cluster of photonics and optics employers.

Graduates who continue their ties to the university go to work for the school’s advanced manufacturing industry partners or developing their entrepreneurship at the UArizona Center for Innovation (UACI), which provides startups access to wet and dry labs, 3D printers, and other advanced tools.

UACI is part of the university’s 1,300-acre Tech Parks Arizona, one of the country’s premier research parks bringing together small startups and industry leaders. Tech Parks is also home to world-renowned companies such as IBM, Raytheon, Applied Energetics, and NP Photonics.

More than 6,000 knowledge workers are employed at Tech Parks, many in advanced materials and manufacturing.

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