June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.298.1 - 13.298.12
CNC Machining: A Value Added Component of a Mechanical Engineering Technology Education
While computer-numerical-controlled (CNC) machining is often a part of a manufacturing engineering technology program, Arizona State University (ASU) believes it is an important, value-added component of its mechanical engineering technology program. Students in ASU’s aeronautical and automotive engineering technology concentrations benefit greatly from expertise gained from exposure to this technology. In part, this is because it enables students to live up to the expectation that engineering technology students can both design and build their design. The parts that they design and create are much more complex than those of students that may only have experience with manual machine tools.
At ASU, all students in the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Technology program learn the basics of machining in a challenging manual machining processes course. However in addition, all students take a second course that teaches them the basics of CNC machining. This course is not just a textbook/demonstration course but instead moves students through manually writing CNC code for a two-and-a-half-axis part to using CAD/CAM software to program a three-axis part. In addition to the programming expertise, students individually use a state-of- the-art CNC machine to make each part. Following this course, students have the option of taking a second CNC course that has them make a more complex three-axis part, a mold, and a three-and-a-half-axis mill part (CNC lathe parts are also made by the students). Following this course, students can also take either a high-performance-machining course and or a four- and five-axis machining course.
The paper briefly describes the CNC courses and the software and equipment used by the students. But, most importantly, the paper describes the benefits realized by the mechanical, aeronautical, and automotive engineering technology students from taking these courses. The sophistication of the student’s design and build projects in their capstone class has seen a dramatic increase since the students have begun to acquire the CNC machining experience. Thus, the paper builds a case for the value-added aspect of CNC machining within Mechanical Engineering Technology.
The authors believe exposing Mechanical Engineering Technology students to a manufacturing processes course sequence in their curriculum improves their ability to design and build. This is currently taking place at Arizona State University’s Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering Technology (MMET) Department where all of the engineering technology (ET) students are required to take a minimum of two manufacturing processes courses.
The MMET department offers two different TAC of ABET-accredited B. S. degree programs; manufacturing engineering technology and mechanical engineering technology. The manufacturing engineering technology degree offers a manufacturing concentration or a mechanical concentration while the mechanical engineering technology degree offers four
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