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Experiences In Continuous Improvement Of Computer Aided Manufacturing Systems

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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

3.276.1 - 3.276.11

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Richard Jerz

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Session 2563

Experiences in Continuous Improvement of “Computer-Aided Manufacturing Systems”

Richard Jerz St. Ambrose University

Abstract The development and continuous improvement efforts for the industrial engineering course “Computer Aided Manufacturing Systems” at St. Ambrose University are described in this paper. This course has undergone major changes to stay current with computer-aided manufacturing technology and to meet ABET accreditation guidelines for design and integration. Open-ended laboratory assignments were introduced to stimulate thinking and to add design content. Integration with other engineering courses was carefully considered. Improvements in the classroom lectures and laboratory assignments were made.

St. Ambrose University’s industrial engineering program is small and operates on a limited budget. The small budget presented a particularly difficult challenge in determining which equipment and software to use or purchase. Course development has been financed through creative use of existing laboratory equipment, internal department funding, faculty redevelopment initiatives, educational discounts for software products, in-kind gifts, and low cost upgrades of existing laboratory computers. It was discovered that course objectives could be met without having to spend much money, but that improvements had to be phased in over the years. An overview of the course objectives, laboratory equipment and assignments, funding methods, professor and student’s observations, and plans for future improvements are provided. Introduction The use of computer-aided technologies by industry has grown enormously in recent years. Practically all modern manufacturing organizations use computers in one form or another: to design and test product ideas (CAD - computer aided design), to control industrial processes (PLCs - programmable logic controllers), to inspect parts (industrial vision systems), to automate material handling and certain repetitive tasks (industrial robots), to operate machine tools (CNC - computer numerical control), and to integrate processes and systems (CIM - computer integrated manufacturing). Engineers are challenged to understand these technologies and their strengths and weaknesses, and apply them in a cost-effective manner. It is also very important that these technologies be integrated to maximize their effectiveness.

In 1991, this author joined St. Ambrose University and was assigned to teach the course IE375 – Computer Aided Manufacturing Systems. The school’s industrial engineering program was seeking ABET accreditation, and the department was carefully reviewing all courses to determine how to meet ABET guidelines. Two aspects of ABET guidelines, the course’s “design” content and course integration, were of most interest. Many years of industrial experience with computer-based technologies prepared the author to teach this course. IE375 had been previously taught by an adjunct professor. With the author being new to the teaching


Jerz, R. (1998, June), Experiences In Continuous Improvement Of Computer Aided Manufacturing Systems Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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