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Incorporating A Flexible Manufacturing System Into A Design Course

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Innovative Curriculum Development in MET

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.648.1 - 7.648.9



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Paper Authors

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Salvatore Marsico

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

Main Menu Session 1447

Incorporating a Flexible Manufacturing System into a Design Course

Salvatore A. Marsico Penn State University


The Associate Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology program as offered by Penn State University requires a series of three courses in industrial engineering technology. The educational objectives of these courses are to provide students an understanding of fundamental concepts in manufacturing, materials processing, and production design. To promote a working knowledge of production design students are required to take an accompanying course production design laboratory. During the pre-bench top era this laboratory course was offered during a summer session at the end of the freshman year. This format provided students with a common laboratory experience. However, the summer laboratory experience lacked the capacity to correlate lecture materials with actual laboratory exercises. This disjoint provided stimulus for change, and change did occur in the form of two concurrent course offerings. In response to these changes each campus location of Penn State University offering the associate degree in mechanical engineering technology was required to procure equipment for these course offerings. In conjunction with a grant received from The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), donor contributions, state vocational money, and matching funds from the local campus administration bench top equipment was purchased. The equipment included a CNC milling machine, a CNC lathe, a conveyor belt, gravity feeder, and a linear slide base mounted six axis robot This paper documents how the bench top equipment was arranged into a flexible manufacturing system, integrated into the laboratory course, and used for a robotics competition sponsored by SME.


The changes brought about by technology place great pressure on universities to integrate technology into educational programs. It is no different at Penn State University. The University is comprised of a number of campuses geographically dispersed throughout the state. At many of these campuses associate degree programs in technology are offered. Prior to the advent of bench-top machining and robotic equipment associate degree students were required to attend a summer institute. The institute focused on industrial engineering processes and equipment with an emphasis on laboratory exercises. This format placed an additional financial burden on location bound students. Not only did they have to attend but also were required to pay room and board.

With the advent of bench-top technologies faculty saw an opportunity to make changes to the delivery of course content within specific technical programs. In this instance, these changes included the removal of the summer institute as a required course and replaced it with a course during the fourth and final semester of the associate degree program. While this change provided a winning combination for students, it caused great financial hardship for each of the campuses offering technology programs. The equipment was purchased with the aid of a vocational

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Marsico, S. (2002, June), Incorporating A Flexible Manufacturing System Into A Design Course Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10599

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