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Adaptation Of The Learning Factory Model For Implementation In A Manufacturing Laboratory

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Unique Laboratory Experiments & Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.163.1 - 8.163.7



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Mukasa Ssemakula

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

Session 2526

Adaptation Of The Learning Factory Model For Implementation In A Manufacturing Laboratory

Mukasa E. Ssemakula and Gene Y. Liao

Division of Engineering Technology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202.


The Learning Factory concept was first developed as part of the TRP/NSF funded Manufacturing Engineering Education Partnership (MEEP). The objective of the Learning Factory (LF) is to integrate a practice-based engineering curriculum that balances analytical and theoretical knowledge with physical facilities for product realization in an industrial-like setting1,2. The LF model emphasizes practical experience and consequently, Engineering Technology (ET) and other programs that emphasize hands-on experiences for students are well suited to implementing the LF model. This paper describes a project whose goal is to adapt the LF model for implementation in regular academic programs oriented to practical applications without having to build an actual factory.

This work is being accomplished by modifying five carefully selected courses in our programs, leading to the use of coordinated projects across those courses. The projects focus on the making of functional model engines. In the various courses, students will generate CAD drawings of all the engine components, produce process plans for and make those components, and assemble and test the engines. This will afford students a good understanding and experience of the full range of issues involved in product design, manufacturing planning, fabrication, assembly and testing of functional products. Because the project is based on modifying existing courses rather than developing new ones, we expect the results of the project to be easily adaptable to a wide range of programs.

1. Introduction

The high cost of setting up a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility means that universities usually have to make difficult choices about the resources they dedicate to courses in manufacturing. Consequently, many university courses in Manufacturing Processes or related subjects are skewed towards theoretical concepts and offer limited hands-on experience for the students (if any). Frequently, students' exposure to actual processes is limited to observing demonstrations by the instructor, or simply through video tapes, but with the students not getting their hands on the equipment. There is also the possibility of using simulations but these are still primarily in the research stage and they do not yet offer sufficient realism 3.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2003, American Society for Engineering Education.

Ssemakula, M. (2003, June), Adaptation Of The Learning Factory Model For Implementation In A Manufacturing Laboratory Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11822

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