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Curriculum Development In Aerospace Manufacturing

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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

1.133.1 - 1.133.5

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Paper Authors

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William H. Mason

author page

Michael P. Deisenroth

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

I .— . . . .. Session 0402 .

Curriculum Development in Aerospace Manufacturing

Michael P. Deisenroth, William H. Mason Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

This paper describes a new course being developed in aerospace manufacturing technology. The course was offered for the first time in the Spring of 1996 as a senior/graduate level elective for Aerospace and Ocean Engineering (AOE), Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE), and Mechanical Engineering (ME) students. We are developing the course in response to industry requests that aerospace engineering students learn about manufacturing. The purpose of the course is threefold. First, it serves as an introduction to manufacturing for AOE students. Second, it permits ISE students and ME students to extend their knowledge of manufacturing into an industry specific area. Finally, it brings together students with design and manufacturing interests into a commo~ focused course to discuss interrelated issues.

The course was to begin by focusing on the product -- a design of a specific aircrafl. (More will be said about this later.) Next, various manufacturing processes and technologies were introduced and discussed with respect to individual components and subsystems of the aircraft. Industry is helping us to develop case studies illustrating the manufacturing processing sequences associated with particular components. The lectures then focuses on manufacturing cost analysis and cost drivers in aerospace manufacturing. This was followed by a discussion of the manufacturing environment as an integrated system. Finally, concepts in design for producibility were addressed in light of the materials already presented. Laboratory demonstrations, field trips, and a term project served to reirdlorce class material and provided the students with some hands-on experiences.


In the last few years, it has become clear that aerospace engineers need to learn more about manufacturing as part of their formal education. Something vital was lost in the post-Sputnik rush to emphasize science in the engineering curriculum. To accommodate more physics and math the “shop” courses were eliminated. This was understandable at the time, the aerospace business was performance driven and cost was secondary. We have been told repeatedly that cost was rarely a factor during the Apollo Program. However, the business has changed. Today the aerospace business is market drive% and cost and product design cycle time are critically important.

A government study conducted to understand how to improve US competitiveness concluded that more importance had to be placed on design and manufacturing education. Design had already been identified as a weak part of aerospace engineering education by many engineers working in indust~, e.g., 2 McMasters and Ford , and Nicolai3. Today, the consensus seems to be that design education is improving. However, as “design” improved, it became clear that students needed to understand the cost implications of their designs. They needed to understand that somebody had to build the design! Emerging concurrent 4 engineering processes that promise to drastically shorten product development time and cost , make it even ----- $iiii-’1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings } ‘.J~yM1’.?

Mason, W. H., & Deisenroth, M. P. (1996, June), Curriculum Development In Aerospace Manufacturing Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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