June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.59.1 - 12.59.15
Manufacturing engineering capstone design course: Moving with the real world Abstract A capstone course in manufacturing engineering has been offered to undergraduates majoring in manufacturing engineering at Texas State University for four years. In this course students experience all aspects of the design/development cycle: product design, prototyping/verification, manufacturability analysis, and the manufacturing design of the product. This course has been continuously updated to offer the latest tools, software, and teaching and evaluation techniques. Students are assigned to teams based on their learning style, technical and academic background, and schedule. Students must complete an industry-supported project. In this course, students are evaluated both individually through performance on homework, quizzes, and exams; and also as team members on the basis of a design and prototype review, final report, presentation, peer evaluation, and comments by a panel of experts. Course assessment is based upon a variety of surveys and feedback mechanisms. This paper describes several of this year’s projects. The overall conclusion, on the basis of these projects, is that the outcome of this course has been satisfactory in all aspects. This success is due to appropriate project, sponsor support, students’ efforts, faculty performance, departmental support, and the feedback from the panel of experts.
1- Introduction In recent years, owing to the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements and business globalization, a new era of global trade has emerged. Industries today have to compete not only with local and regional rivals but also with competitors from all over the world. Global competition has created major challenges and opportunities for industries. On the one hand, many previously unknown and nonexistent companies now offer goods and services of competitive quality and price, on the other, a huge global market is now available to companies. The keys to success in this competitive environment are high product quality, low cost, and rapid response to customers’ needs. This new condition has considerably affected the United States manufacturing sector. Total employment in manufacturing in the United States declined from 17 million workers in 2000 to 14.2 million in 2005 . According to Bivens et al., three main factors are responsible for the problems in the US manufacturing sector:
A- Overvalued US dollar and the large trade deficit: The overvalued dollar combined with the trade agreements that “included investment provisions to ease relocating production facilities abroad,” was a major factor in manufacturing firms’ decision to outsource their jobs out of the United States, and especially to China. B- Retiree health and pension costs are a burden on US firms: Large job losses in manufacturing sector in recent years have led many eligible workers to retire early. This, combined with high pension and health benefits for retirees (compared to those of retirees in other sectors) is putting more pressure on US firms. C- The shortage of workers with skills needed in the US manufacturing: Bivens et al. reported that a survey conducted by the National Association of Manufacturers (www.nam.org) and Grant Thornton, LLP in 1997 showed that 88% of American manufacturing firms suffer from a shortage of qualified workers. In addition, the skills requirements for workers have significantly increased for all manufacturing industries, “from the most labor-intensive (apparel) to the most technology-intensive (medical instruments manufacturing)” . While the first two factors, in
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