Industrial exemption, eCAD

Industrial exemption issues Nuts. The Industrial Exemption has been a sop to industry long enough [Legalities: Does PE licensing matter? June 2008]. I hear a lot of crying from so-called engineers who are afraid to take the exam. I knew, back when they were still around, some fantastic engineers who were not college graduates.


Industrial exemption issues

Nuts. The Industrial Exemption has been a sop to industry long enough [Legalities: Does PE licensing matter? June 2008]. I hear a lot of crying from so-called engineers who are afraid to take the exam. I knew, back when they were still around, some fantastic engineers who were not college graduates. They were able back then to prove their professional ability by becoming licensed. As a green young draftsman, I learned to trust them more than a lot of the college graduates I worked with. If the Industrial Exemption did not exist, would the Pinto gas tank have happened? How about the DC-10 engine nacelle? Just one of those engineering errors prevented would be worth the effort those crybabies would have to expend to get their licenses, and the pride and feeling of responsibility that holding a license brings.

John Schott PE, CAP, and damned proud of it!

I am not out of work. I have a lot of work to do cleaning up messes left over by technicians working under the Industrial Exemption. What I see here is that any high school drop out can log on to a computer and make changes to a PLC program. Sometimes, there are deadly accidents and equipment damage. In the 15 years that I have been working, I know of one guy that was cut in half, one guy had his leg bone shoved out his hip, and another guy had his lungs burnt by chemicals. All of these "accidents" where caused by control system changes made by technicians that where working under the Industrial Exemption.

Jeff Smith,
Electrical Engineer, Washington

I believe that basically what’s going on is a bunch of out-of–work-without-projects, licensed engineers [are] complaining about these types of exemptions (Industrial). The problem is that they don't really want to respect an unlicensed, college-educated engineer, and there is growing tensions between the groups. However, unlicensed engineers need to also goback to Unionism and Association for strong lobbying, using the federal courts to make uniform control and to keep these exemptions intact using class action lawsuits, right to work/anti-trust laws to stop these monopolies. Both groups of engineers have earned the right to be called engineers, because last I checked colleges are not giving engineering degrees away....The Scale is already uneven and separated enough. Licensed engineers can open their services to the public and demand overwhelming compensation for services. While the unlicensed engineer can only work for manufacturing companies, construction companies or for support services to a licensed engineer with less compensation for the same work....

Rod Whitfield,
Design Engineer/paralegal, Louisiana

Shortage of engineers? No

Re: Skills gap: Retirement squeeze manufacturing labor; tech students get help, News June 24, 2008. We can recruit, mentor, train, upgrade, and optimize for improved profitability, better quality, and increased security without importing all the workers. I think the Gen X and Y Generation will surprise, and in some ways surpass, the more experienced engineers in previous generations with the right mentoring and operator training systems in place. The other key to this equation is better and smarter systems, along with good simulation throughout the process lifecycle. Skills Gap Fix, Part 1: Simulation & Operator Training:

Jason Covington,
MiMiC Simulation Solutions, Chesterfield, MO

There is no shortage of engineers. There has been an over surplus of engineers in America for almost 40 years, since the moonshot programs ramped down. There are plenty of American engineers who are willing to work, but only if the jobs have reasonable pay, with reasonable working conditions. Because there aren’t many engineering jobs like this anymore, many American engineers have gone into alternate pursuits. What there is a shortage of is: young, gullible engineers who will remain with their current employer, work long hours of overtime, not complain, and work very cheaply (often at less per actual hours worked than an American worker with just a high school degree). The H1b workers fill this description perfectly.

R Potter,
Mechanical Engineer, Los Alamos, NM

R Potter makes some great points here. I have seen some of this in my work with software engineers. At one development house here in the St. Louis area, most of the developers were here on special visas at very low rates, displacing other qualified engineers. This is not an ideal "fix" to the "skills" gap. There are underemployed engineers here in the U.S. Fixing the skills gap in the automation industry, especially on the control side, will require more than warm bodies.

Although I am a strong proponent of free trade, loosening our immigration policies even more and creating special legislation to introduce more labor is not the right fix. The industry does not need an army of workers from other countries, but rather some well-trained innovative engineers who receive some mentoring and training before all the Baby Boomers retire. Let the laws of supply and demand play out naturally...the industry is in fact "fixing" itself.

Jason Covington,
MYNAH MiMiC Simulation, Chesterfield, MO

When a wire is more than a line

Re: Electrical Design Software, June 2008. Preaching to the choir for me. I left a stable job (partly) because they wouldn't buy me VIA or Promise-E ten years ago. I had a canned set of electrical drawing symbols, but they were simple ACAD blocks, not intelligent devices. To CAD, a wire is a line; to an eCAD package, a wire is a polyline that knows what it is connected to and where it goes. Beautiful!

John Schott, Control System Engineer

Robotics University online

Re: Summer school: Online education credits useful for engineering, News June 30, 2008. Does SolidWorks Robotics University does it really exist? When I used the link from the article to the SolidWorks Webstite and pasted “SolidWorks Robotics University” into their search engine, the Solidworks search engine could not find any info. What a shame it sounds like a great course for high school students.

Michael Webster,
Engineer, MD

Sorry for the confusion. The free, online, independent-study robotics academy is by invitation only and, according to Solidworks, as of mid May 2008 more than 1,400 students had pre-registered. Other interested students can request an invitation via e-mail to .—The editors

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