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Applied Chemical Process Statistics Bringing Industrial Data To The Classroom

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.104.1 - 3.104.9



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Milo D. Koretsky

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

Section 2213

Applied Chemical Process Statistics - Bringing Industrial Data to the Classroom

Milo D. Koretsky Department of Chemical Engineering Oregon State University

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics. -Mark Twain

ABSTRACT Alumni, co-op interns and the department's Industrial Advisory Board have all identified Analysis of Process Variation, Statistical Process Control, and Design of Experiments as important elements missing in OSU’s undergraduate chemical engineering curriculum. Even though many students had, in fact, taken introductory statistics, they were unable to apply it in an industrial setting. In response to this input, a 1 credit elective course, Chemical Process Statistics, was introduced in Fall 1996. It was offered again in Fall 1997. The initial course offerings were well received (3.77/4.00 and 3.91/4.00 on student evaluations). The intent is to integrate this course into the ChE core as a 3 credit course.

This course provides a brief introduction to the use of applied statistics in the chemical process industry. Whenever possible, concepts are introduced through examples. Industrial data has been provided by Merix and Hewlett-Packard, on copper and tantalum etch processes, respectively. Thus, concepts discussed in class are immediately applied to real industrial data. Statistical analysis of the data is discussed in terms of the physical process. In this way, the statistics and the science are coupled. In the case of the copper etch for Merix, student email accounts are linked to the process control software so that students get “Process Out of Control Messages” in real time. Course concepts are cemented with a plant trip at the end of the term to see statistics in action.

INTRODUCTION Undergraduate chemical engineering education emphasizes analysis and, then, design. In the typical curriculum, the majority of the technical credit hours are devoted to fundamental science (e.g., general chemistry, physical chemistry, and organic chemistry) and engineering sciences (e.g., mass and energy balances, thermodynamics, transport processes, reaction engineering, process dynamics and control). The student is then asked to synthesize this material in unit operations and then the capstone design course. However, the majority of graduates are hired as Process Engineers whose main focus is on production. Topics such as statistical process control, process capability and capability indices are essential to manufacture quality products at reduced costs.1 In fact, upon accepting their first job offer, most entry level engineers, enroll in in-house statistics related courses such as Practical Data Analysis, Statistical Process Control, and Design of Experiments.2

Koretsky, M. D. (1998, June), Applied Chemical Process Statistics Bringing Industrial Data To The Classroom Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--7537

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