Asee peer logo

A Framework For Student Learning In Manufacturing Engineering

Download Paper |


2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Manufacturing Education Innovation and Assessment

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

11.44.1 - 11.44.10



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

David Wells North Dakota State University

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Framework for Student Learning in Manufacturing Engineering

Abstract: The framework proposed in this paper offers a compact outline for transforming traditional process-dominated manufacturing engineering curricula into comprehensive learning in product realization. The outline includes four stages: product engineering; process engineering; quality engineering; production engineering. The paper presents an application of this learning progression that is implemented within a traditional set of courses -- an approach that can be adapted and adopted by other faculty virtually instantaneously. Also presented is a suggestion for thorough overhaul of manufacturing engineering curricula into a substantively new format. The paper concludes with observations and measures of student response gathered in application of the four-stage model in the author’s classes.

Context and Continuity: As a formal field for academic preparation, the discipline of manufacturing engineering has been evolving for only two or three decades. Through the sponsorship and leadership of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, documents offering curricular structuring, suggested course content and focused central learning objectives appeared from the mid-1980’s through the 1990’s.1,2,3 Likewise, over the past ten years, competency maps and gaps for various stages of manufacturing engineering careers have been published by SME and others.4,5,6

Following a landmark SME publications in 1985 and 1988,1,7 each of the historical documents has offered guidance for developing curricula and specific course content in an incremental evolution. These recommendations maintained a constant focus on manufacturing engineering as a dominantly process-oriented discipline, enhanced with soft-skills. This paper suggests a more comprehensive framework for the manufacturing engineering discipline encompassing the full spectrum of product realization.

The Essence of Manufacturing: The essential nature of manufacturing is the creation of products. Indeed, no products (outside of raw vegetables, perhaps) exist that are not manufactured. Although global information exchange and market competitiveness in all corners of the world are vital and pervasive issues, manufacturing enterprises exist to produce products - - and to do so in a fashion that generates current and continuing profit. Thus, it is contended that the learning of manufacturing engineering must begin with deep understanding of products of a variety of genres. Subsequent learning about value-added processes for material transformation, quality measurement and management, and design of production systems and enterprises are all, then, accomplished in the context of the creation of products and from the foundation of strong knowledge of materials processing.

Despite the plethora of management tools that have flooded the market-place over the past decade or so, manufacturing remains at root a materials processing enterprise. Manufacturing occurs when a material is altered in some way that adds value.8 The workpiece materials evolve into the product, and the product is the entire purpose of the manufacturing enterprise. The procedures through which the material is altered are what we know as ‘manufacturing

Wells, D. (2006, June), A Framework For Student Learning In Manufacturing Engineering Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--10

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015