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Implementation Of An Integrated Manufacturing & Controls Laboratory

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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

1.244.1 - 1.244.6



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Paper Authors

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Ph.D., Lora S. Spangler

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Ph.D., Kourosh Rahnamai

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John P Farris Ph.D.

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Ph.D., John Maleyeff

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

Session 1626

Implementation of an Integrated Manufacturing & Controls Laboratory

Kourosh Rahnamai, Ph.D., John P. Farris, Ph.D., John Maleyeff, Ph.D./ Lora S. Spangler, Ph.D. Western New England College/ Monsanto Corporation


This project will provide the means to initiate an integrated manufacturing and controls laboratory in the School of Engineering at Western New England College. The laboratory will have a major impact on manufacturing and control courses, and provide a means for developing an interdisciplinary senior laboratory exercise. The objectives of the integrated laboratory are: (1) to provide a laboratory environment where interdisciplinary experiments relating to integrated manufacturing and control can be performed, (2) to provide an opportunity for each of the engineering programs (electrical, industrial, mechanical, and bio) to conduct independent experiments relating to manufacturing and control, (3) to provide for the students necessary experience in the interdisciplinary nature of engineering practice, and (4) to provide a facility for the design, development, testing, and manufacture of plastic products.


American industry is well aware of the necessity for effective teamwork in competitive businesses. Teams have become a common form of organization for activities that range from business planning to product design to work improvement projects. In many cases, these teams must transcend traditional boundaries imposed by departments within companies. Often, a major obstacle to effective teamwork are traditional departmental walls, which relate not to physical boundaries, but to cultural boundaries that inhibit effective communication. It is fair to say that companies making effective use of interdepartmental teams have overcome this obstacle. It is also true that these walls are the main barrier preventing many companies from utilizing effective teamwork.

One key use of interdepartmental teams that involves engineers is product design. Here, team members from functions that may include marketing, design, manufacturing and finance (among others) work together. Their work starts early in the design process and extends through the time of full scale production. These teams are known to decrease time-to-market, reduce costs, and improve quality. Terms such as concurrent engineering, simultaneous engineering, and integrated product development have been used to describe the work performed by these product design teams.

Engineering education has been slow to follow this trend. For the most part, students take courses and perform laboratory exercises in their chosen major, with little exposure to other disciplines. They rarely, if ever, work together with students from other disciplines. There are numerous reasons for this phenomenon. On one hand, the scope of required topics has increased dramatically. It is more and more difficult to cover

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Spangler, P. L. S., & Rahnamai, P. K., & Farris, J. P., & Maleyeff, P. J. (1996, June), Implementation Of An Integrated Manufacturing & Controls Laboratory Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--6096

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