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Concurrent Engineering: A Partnership Approach

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.120.1 - 1.120.5



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Paper Authors

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Russell R. Barton

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Robert P. Smith

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José L. Zayas

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Craig A. Nowack

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

Session 2625

Concurrent Engineering: A Partnership Approach Robert P. Smith / Russell R. Barton, Craig A. Nowack / Jose L. Zayas-Castro University of Washington / Penn State University / University of Puerto Rico Mayagiiez

Introduction There is an increasing focus on product development in engineering education. This change is a response to the need for engineering graduates to be able to provide immediate and tangible benefit to manufacturing companies in an era of heightened competitiveness. The focus on integrative product development aspects in the manufacturing process have been termed concurrent or simultaneous engineering, a focus which echoes long-standing themes in product development practices.1’lz Nevertheless, presenting these ideas in undergraduate engineering education calls for a departure from the usual content and pedagogical approaches.

The goal of this paper is to describe the development of a new course in concurrent engineering. Teaching concepts in product development benefits greatly from a hands-on approach. We have attempted to establish this goal in three ways: by developing and using a number of laboratories and demonstrations, by inviting speakers from industry who can make classroom lessons concrete, and by using cases as the basis for class discussion. This paper includes a discussion of the curriculum, of existing teaching materials, and of specillc methods and materials developed for the course. The course was developed jointly by faculty and research assistants at the University of Washington (UW), the University of Puerto Rico’s Mayaguez campus (UPRM), and at Penn State (PSU), as part of the Manufacturing Engineering Education Partnership g (MEEP), funded through the ARPA Technology Reinvestment Program.

Course Curriculum Several important constraints affected the development of the curriculum. First, MEEP objectives call for a curriculum that is practice-based, using the Learning Factory (a hands-on design/prototyping/ manufacturing laboratory) at each institution to provide hands-on activities. Second, the curriculum should stimulate team initiatives and interdisciplinary participation. Third, the curriculum should provide a comprehensive coverage of concurrent engineering topics. Finally, the curriculum must be flexible enough to meet the differing needs of the MEEP partner institutions. All three institutions share some common characteristics: class enrollment made up of a multidisciplinary group of electrical, industrial, and mechanical engineers, and local industrial support that has been active and enthusiastic. At the same time, some differences exist: the partner school’s academic programs show different requirements, program lengths are different (four versus five years), and terms are different (quarters vs. semesters). In addition, the industrial sector has a different composition at each of the institutions.

As a consequence, we adopted a modular to allow flexibility. Modules have been developed for the following topic areas:

1. Concurrent engineering: definitions and philosophy 2. Teamwork

{hxi~ 1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings Z@l&..$ .

Barton, R. R., & Smith, R. P., & Zayas, J. L., & Nowack, C. A. (1996, June), Concurrent Engineering: A Partnership Approach Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--5935

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