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A Project Based Electronics Manufacturing Laboratory Course For Lower Division Engineering Students

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Innovations in Manufacturing Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

13.90.1 - 13.90.16



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Paper Authors

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Jianbiao Pan California Polytechnic State University


James Harris California Polytechnic State University

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James G. Harris received his BS and MS in EE from UCB and the PhD in EE from Syracuse University. He was an Assistant Professor at Howard University, and an Associate Professor at the University of the District of Columbia, both in Washington, D.C. He is a Professor with the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Computer Engineering Program at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA. He served as the Department Head of the EE Department from 1982-89, and was Director of the Computer Engineering Program from 1993-97. From 1990-92, he was a Program Director in the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C. He worked for TRW in Redondo Beach, CA for 11 years, primarily on signal processing projects. He is a member of IEEE, ASEE, ACM, AAAS, and SHOT.

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Albert Liddicoat California Polytechnic State University

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Albert A. Liddicoat received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and his M.S. degree in Engineering Management from Stanford University in 1996, 2002 and 1999, respectively. Dr. Liddicoat worked for IBM’s Storage Technology Division from 1990 until 2002 where he held many positions in disk drive development including: servo system test and integration, ASIC development, system electronics and architecture, program management, and business line management. Currently, he is the Forbes Associate Professor and the Director of the Computer Engineering Program at Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo. His research interests include computer architecture, computer arithmetic, networks, and re-configurable computing.

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Dominic Dalbello Allan Hancock College

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

A Project-Based Electronics Manufacturing Laboratory Course for Lower-division Engineering Students


This paper presents a project-based laboratory course on electronics design and manufacturing. The goal of this course is to provide lower-division engineering students a hands-on experience involving actual printed circuit board (PCB) design, layout, fabrication, assembly, and testing. Through project-based learning, students not only learn technical skills in designing and manufacturing an electronic device, but also develop their project management and communication skills early in their course of study at the university. The course outline and examples of the student projects are presented in this paper as well as project evaluations and students’ feedback. This paper also presents the selection of a PCB design tool for the lower- division electronics manufacturing course.


The electronics industry in the United States and around the world continues to grow at a high rate due to the ever-expanding range of electronic applications. The $1.3 trillion electronics industry has become a major sector in the manufacturing industry. Thus, it is of critical importance to increase production of engineering graduates who are capable of keeping the United States competitive in these rapidly-evolving areas of electronics manufacturing.

However, electronics manufacturing is not traditionally taught in a manufacturing engineering degree curriculum. Out of the 300 engineering colleges in the United States, there are only 24 ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology)-accredited manufacturing engineering programs, and only a few of these programs offer electronics manufacturing related curricula. Based on a review of the curricula of ABET-accredited manufacturing engineering programs, only Boston University,1 Oregon State University,2 and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo have electronics manufacturing courses. Recently, the newly established manufacturing engineering program (not yet ABET-accredited) at Washington State University Vancouver began to offer a microelectronics emphasis area.3

It should be noted that electronics manufacturing is a multidisciplinary topic because it is relevant to the fields of materials engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, manufacturing, reliability, and statistical analysis. Therefore, various engineering programs may offer courses in electronics manufacturing as well. For example, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has a Microelectronic Engineering Department that offers the only ABET- accredited B.S. program in Microelectronics Engineering in the United States.4 Microelectronics Process Engineering degree program at San Jose State University,5 currently being phased out, is hosted in the Chemical and Material Engineering Department. While over a dozen research- intensive universities such as Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Maryland have graduate-level courses on semiconductor manufacturing and microelectronics packaging, to the authors’ knowledge, a very limited number of universities offer undergraduate-level electronics manufacturing courses, let alone a lower-division course.

Pan, J., & Harris, J., & Liddicoat, A., & Dalbello, D. (2008, June), A Project Based Electronics Manufacturing Laboratory Course For Lower Division Engineering Students Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3714

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