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A New Approach To Teaching Manufacturing Processes

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Closing Manufacturing Competency Gaps II

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.72.1 - 7.72.6



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Paper Authors

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John Farris

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Jeffrey Ray

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

Main Menu Session 1491

A New Approach to Teaching Manufacturing Processes Laboratories

John Farris, Jeff Ray Grand Valley State University


The manufacturing processes laboratory taught in the Padnos School of Engineering at Grand Valley State University has been modified to focus on part and process design. Machining, injection molding and lost foam casting have been taught using the new approach. First, students design a part for a specific process. Then the required tooling is designed and fabricated. When it is appropriate, process parameters are determined using designed experiments. Finally, the parts are produced and inspected. Inspection results are compared to the original design intent. Discrepancies between inspection results and the design are investigated. The new approach has forced students to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the manufacturing processes and the relationship between part design and manufacturing process design. Another advantage of this approach is that students have an opportunity to apply design of experiments knowledge to concrete problems. Other advantages and challenges of this approach will be presented.

I. Background

The Padnos School of Engineering is a four-year ABET accredited engineering school offering engineering degrees in mechanical, electrical, manufacturing, and computer engineering. The curriculum emphasizes design while preparing students for careers in industry. All students are required to complete three four-month cooperative education experiences before graduation. A four-credit manufacturing processes class is offered to junior level mechanical and manufacturing engineering students. The class consists of three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory work each week. In the past, the laboratory experience has consisted of traditional laboratory exercises and tours of local industry. In the laboratory students gathered data and then compared the data to theoretical predictions. Unfortunately, this approach lacked relevance to students with industrial experience. On the other hand the tours of local industry were very relevant to the students. Interesting manufacturing facilities and knowledgeable tour guides are easy to find in the Grand Rapids area. But the faculty has grown concerned that too many tours result in students retaining little information while they passively trudge through factories.

Fortunately, a new laboratory building and changes to the first year curriculum enabled fundamental changes in the laboratory portion of the manufacturing processes course. In the summer of 2001 construction of The Fred M. Keller Engineering Laboratory building was completed. The two story, 30,000 square-foot building was built to support the Padnos School of Engineering's practice orientated, hands-on, design and build centered curriculum. The 7 million dollars required to erect and equip the building was donated by local industry and other private sources. The metal processing lab moved from cramp quarters on the sixth floor of an office building to a large space designed for machine tool instruction. Modern equipment, most Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Farris, J., & Ray, J. (2002, June), A New Approach To Teaching Manufacturing Processes Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10341

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