Computer-Integrated Manufacturing

Innovation and advances in technology have radically changed the manufacturing field. From the introduction of the assembly line more than 100 years ago through the invention of the microchip (over half a century ago) to current developments in the field of robotics and automation, the business of making things is constantly evolving.

With the increased technology contribution, modern manufacturing more than ever needs talented and highly skilled people to fulfill specialized and challenging roles, ranging from precise CNC machining to designing, programming, and maintaining automation systems.

If you're interested in learning how to perform these tasks and many others, the field of Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) offers you many satisfying and rewarding career choices. To get started, you'll need top-quality, hands-on training in these high-tech disciplines. Oakton Community College offers the foundation you need to begin or enhance your career in Computer Integrated Manufacturing fields corresponding to CNC machining, mechatronics, industrial automation or automated supply chain warehousing. 

We offer associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degrees and certificates in Manufacturing, Mechatronics and Automation. Our courses are affordable and accessible, meeting during the day, evening and weekends. Some of our classes are also offered online. Our instructors bring years of professional experience in their disciplines to the classroom.

The Manufacturing program focus is on machining, teaching skills related to the operation, setup, and programming of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine centers. The Mechatronics program is dedicated to automation systems design and programming utilizing industrial robotics, vision systems, and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC). The Automation program emphasizes maintenance, troubleshooting, and repairing of automation systems equipment.

Students who complete our programs find employment in a wide variety of modern manufacturing, mechatronics, and automated distribution organizations throughout the Chicago area and beyond. Recent graduates hold diverse technical positions, from programming CNC machine centers for high tolerance part creation to designing products with rapid prototyping equipment to programming, and troubleshooting highly sophisticated automation lines. 

Oakton was the recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to support the collaborative Advanced Technological Education (ATE) partnership between Oakton, Columbus State Community College and Sinclair Community College through September 2021. Funds were used to support the expansion of pathways for next-generation automation technicians in the region.

Oakton offers a wide array of industrial programs that prepare you for a career in Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM). Implementing high-tech systems to stay competitive and thrive in the global marketplace, these businesses seek talented employees with advanced technical skills. If you're ready to take the next step, Oakton will give you the skills and knowledge you need to start or advance your career in one of the CIM fields described below:

Manufacturing

Almost all types of modern manufacturing utilize computers to control the position and speed of tooling and material during the production process. Computer Numerical Controls (CNC) machines allow for high tolerance part creation at high production rates with proven reliability and repeatability. Historically divided into two groups, Turning Centers and Milling Centers, the capabilities of these machines are constantly improving to allow for precise machining of complex parts at a level never seen before. Oakton offers a number of hands-on CNC courses starting from basic machining, through CNC operation and setup, all the way to advanced CNC programming.

Mechatronics

Mechatronics is an exciting new multi-disciplinary field that combines mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering for the development of modern electro-mechanical automation equipment. The Mechatronics program at Oakton Community College prepares students for designing, programming, and troubleshooting of sophisticated industrial automation systems. Students enrolled in the program acquire a wide range of technical skills from multi-disciplinary areas including electronics, robotics, machine vision, programmable logic controllers (PLC), and human-machine interface (HMI) devices.

Automation

The Supply Chain Automation program at Oakton, although similar to Mechatronics, relates more to the practical application of industrial automation. The program prepares students for challenging careers in industrial maintenance and repair of automation systems equipment including automated warehousing and distribution. Technicians in this field, work with a wide range of automation equipment and a variety of technology platforms, including hydraulics, pneumatics, robotics, sensing, and control systems. With a high level of problem-solving abilities and hands-on skills, these technicians are capable of troubleshooting and repairing broken or malfunctioning automation equipment.

Note: Some skills including technical print reading, hydraulics and pneumatics, robotics, and basic PLC are required for technicians in all three of the above-described areas. Therefore, some of the manufacturing courses are included in more than one of these programs.

Degrees and Certificates

We offer a number of different paths and specializations in the manufacturing technology field.

An advanced Manufacturing degree is designed to prepare students for positions in modern manufacturing. The program teaches a comprehensive set of skills including occupational safety, technical print reading, precision machining, manufacturing processes, fluid power, and machine controls. Students will learn to operate, setup, program, and troubleshoot high-tech production equipment including CNC machine centers and industrial robotics.

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Advanced Mechatronics degree is designed to prepare students for exciting careers in systems integration. Mechatronics is an emerging field that blends mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering to design, build, program, and operate smart industrial machines. Students will learn to operate, setup, program, and troubleshoot high-tech automation equipment by integrating electronics, mechanical systems, fluid power, industrial robotics, and programmable controllers.

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The Supply Chain Automation degree is designed to prepare students for inspiring careers in industrial automation. The program teaches a comprehensive set of skills including electronics, mechanical systems, welding, fluid power, industrial robotics, and programmable controllers. Students will learn to operate, setup, maintain, troubleshoot, and repair various high-tech equipment including automated production lines, robotic integration, and warehouse system automation.

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The advanced certificate prepares students for positions in modern production and precision machining. The program offers a broad range of skills from occupational safety, technical print reading, precision machining, and manufacturing processes to fluid power, welding, and machine controls. Students will learn to operate, setup, and program high-tech production equipment including CNC machine centers and industrial robotics.

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The advanced certificate prepares students for exciting careers in systems integration. Mechatronics is a new field blending mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering to design, build, program, and operate smart industrial machines. Students will learn to operate, setup, program, and troubleshoot high-tech automation equipment by integrating electronics, mechanical systems, fluid power, industrial robotics, and programmable controllers.

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The certificate prepares students for entry-level automation technician positions. Program content includes occupational safety, technical print reading, basic electronics, and concepts related to fluid power and electrical motor controls. Students will learn how to operate, setup, and maintain various industrial automation systems. If taken in spring, this certificate can be completed in one semester.

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This dual credit certificate established in cooperation with Technology and Manufacturing Association (TMA) prepares students for inspiring careers in industrial automation. Students will learn to operate, setup, maintain, and repair high-tech automation equipment using skills related to electronics, mechanical systems, fluid power, industrial robotics, and programmable controllers. Upon program completion, students who register with TMA can apply to receive a second certificate and job placement assistance from TMA.

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This intermediate-level certificate prepares students for technical positions in Computer Numerical Control (CNC) and advanced manufacturing. The main focus of the program is the development of CNC programming skills by students who already have basic machining/CNC experience. Students will learn advanced techniques related to setup and programming of CNC turning and milling centers.

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This certificate prepares students for entry-level Computer Numerical Control (CNC) positions. The material taught in the program includes technical print reading and concepts related to precision machining processes, tooling, and fixtures. Students will learn how to operate, setup, and create basic G-code programs for CNC lathe and mill machines. This certificate can be completed in one semester.

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This certificate provides fundamental knowledge and skills for entry-level production workers seeking jobs in modern manufacturing. Graduates will have an understanding of manufacturing processes and the technical skills required for the position. This certificate can be completed in one semester.

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This intermediate-level certificate prepares students for technical positions in modern automation and mechatronics fields. The main focus of the certificate is the development of programming skills by students to run sophisticated automation systems managed by various controllers. Students will learn to design, program, monitor, and troubleshoot automation systems ranging from basic equipment to complex industrial systems.

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Welding is used by various trades ranging from artistic sculptures to heavy metal fabrication of bridges and ships. The certificate follows the standards of the American Welding Society (AWS). It covers training of major welding technologies including Shielded Metal (SMAW), Gas Metal (MIG), and Gas Tungsten (TIG) with emphasis on OSHA safety regulations. This certificate can be completed in one semester.

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Certificate expands beyond skills traditionally taught in Computer Numerical Control (CNC) program. It includes additional classes such as industrial robotics frequently used for machining tending and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) which serve as the brain of any modern manufacturing cell. Upon certificate completion, students should be ready for advanced positions in the CNC field.

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Job Outlook

Employment of electro-mechanical and mechatronics technologists and technicians is projected to decline 2 percent from 2020 to 2030.

Despite declining employment, about 1,200 openings for electro-mechanical and mechatronics technologists and technicians are projected each year, on average, over the decade. All of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

The median annual wage for electro-mechanical and mechatronics technologists and technicians was $59,800 in May 2020.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Yong Yoo
"Oakton made my career happen. The professors were really willing to help me. They connected me directly to companies in the manufacturing industry."

Yong Yoo

Oakton Alum

Yong's Story

Meet Your Faculty and Experts

Oakton's Manufacturing Technology faculty is experienced in the classroom and in the manufacturing field. The Manufacturing Technology program curriculum is overseen by an expert advisory committee composed of industry veterans, innovators and educators.  

Joseph Cirone, Chair
Professor of CAD/Mechanical Design and Manufacturing
CCAI
B.S. Northern Illinois University
M.S. Northern Illinois University
jcirone@oakton.edu
847.376.7612
Office: P131, Skokie

Boguslaw Zapal
Associate Professor and Coordinator of
CAD/Mechanical Design and Manufacturing
A.A.S. Oakton Community College
B.S. University of Rzeszow, Poland
M.S. University of Rzeszow, Poland

bzapal@oakton.edu
847.376.7707
Office: P135, Skokie

Ken Albert
Teacher – Industrial Arts
Niles North High School

Josh Altergot
Adjunct; College of Lake County
Technical Support
Computer Aided Tech Inc. - SolidWorks

Denny Bahl
Engineering Manager
SolidWorks Users Group – Des Plaines
President
Innovative Plastech, Inc.

Keith Cahill
Director of Operations
ITW Signode Service Business

Michael Cotton
Marketing Manager
Keiko Mimuro
Marketing Specialist
OSG Tap & Die Inc.

Jackson Harlan
Architect

Steven J. Huy, President
Ultra-Metric Tool Co.

Greg Korack
Unit Leader
Avon Products, Inc.

Olya Koteva
Manufacturing Engineer
John Crane Inc.

Jacques Krikorian
Associate Professor-MFG
Harper College

Richard Leopold
RIGHTech Fabrications

John Manfredy
Interior Design Faculty
Illinois Institute of Art
Animated Division

Hank Ofenlock
Anthony Stulpinas
Ken Johnson
Tempel Steel

Chris Sikora
Associate Professor – Computer Aided Design

Cody Starr
Advanced Process Engineer

Richard Stein
GIS Project Management

Gregory Turnowski
Engineer - Woodward

Erik Voight, PMP
MGP, Inc.

Ron Worth
Principle Flashcut CNC

Kristen Hanes Zelazo
Director of Human Resources

Joe Cirone
Chair, MEC/CAD/Manufacturing
Oakton Community College

Robert Sompolski
Dean, Mathematics, Engineering, and Computer Science
Oakton Community College

What's Next?

We are glad you are considering attending Oakton Community College. No matter where you are in your decision-making process, we are here to help you with your next steps. Whether you're ready to apply now, need information on paying for college or have questions and want to contact someone, we're here to help.

Contact Us

Joseph Cirone
Department Chair
847.376.7612
jcirone@oakton.edu

Boguslaw Zapal
Program Coordinator
847.376.7707
bzapal@oakton.edu