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An Application-Based Graduate Course in Advanced Quality Tools

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Manufacturing Poster Session

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

22.162.1 - 22.162.6

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Paper Authors


Craig T Evers P.E. P.E. Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Craig T. Evers: Currently, I am an assistant professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in the Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering department. I have over 30 years experience in the manufacturing industry, mostly in automotive related positions. Some of my past employers include John Deere, Robert Bosch Corporation, Intel and IBM. Previous positions include tooling manager for a Fortune 500 electronics company, production engineer for fuel components line with $125 million annual sales, manufacturing engineering manager, and supplier development engineer working with companies in North America, Europe and Asia. I am a registered Professional Engineer (Indiana) and a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt. I have also taught at Purdue University in their Mechanical Engineering Technology program and Auburn University in their Industrial and Civil Engineering departments. B.S.M.E. (Manufacturing Engineering), Utah State University, M.I.E. (Occupational Safety & Ergonomics), Auburn University, and Ph.D. (Ergonomics) Auburn University.

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“An Application-Based Graduate Course in Advanced Quality Tools”This paper examines in detail the development of a graduate-level Manufacturing EngineeringTechnology course in advanced quality tools. All areas of modern industry have adopted astandardized set of tools and methods used in designing processes and communicating theirperformance. These cover a wide range of individual tools, from Process Failure Mode EffectAnalysis (PFMEA) and Control Plans through the Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP)and Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) to techniques such as 8 Disciplines (8D) andrelated tools. These, combined with project management elements defined by the Six Sigmamethodology such as Define, Measure, Analyze, Implement and Control (DMAIC) and Define,Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify (DMADV) can create a confusing jumble of alphabet soup inthe minds of new practitioners, whether the tools are being used in health care, nuclear,manufacturing or process industries, or any of the many others segments which have adoptedthem. From personal experience the author has seen the need for teaching fresh collegegraduates how to employ quality tools effectively, and has had to account for the time of thetraining curve in planning when new hires can start performing effectively with them. Thepresent course combined research with practical application exercises to familiarize a class ofgraduate students with a collection of over a dozen of the more widely-used quality tools. Smallteams of students were tasked to develop complete manufacturing processes for an assignedproduct and employ these tools in communication and interaction with their customer (played bythe professor, a long-time industry veteran). Every week a new tool was introduced and theteams incorporated it into their planning and reporting structures. At the end of the semester,each team gave a final presentation to the customer, utilizing as many of the tools as theydetermined to be appropriate. Some of these students had worked or were working at that timein industry. Their feedback was very positive and confirmed the need for such a class to expandtheir personal body of knowledge. This paper will describe the class and its evolution.

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