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Integrating Laser Machining Applications Into A Quality Course For Engineering Technology Students

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Industrial Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.919.1 - 12.919.16



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Paper Authors


Wesley Stone Western Carolina University

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Wes Stone is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology at Western Carolina University. He earned his B.S. at the University of Texas at Austin, his M.S. at Penn State University, and his Ph.D. at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His industrial experience includes manufacturing and six sigma quality, which are current areas of interest. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in solid mechanics, quality, and numerical methods at Western Carolina.

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Zachary Kuhn Western Carolina University

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Zak Kuhn is a graduate student at Western Carolina University, pursuing his Masters of Science in Technology with a focus on laser and CNC processes. He earned his B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering Technology at Western Carolina in December 2006.

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

Integrating Laser Machining Applications into a Quality Course for Engineering Technology Students


The graduates of Western Carolina University’s Engineering Technology program find themselves in fields that increasingly require that they improve both their hard and soft skills. The recent acquisition of a high-precision, dual-wavelength, five-axis laser machining center from Oxford Lasers in Oxford, England has provided those Engineering Technology students the opportunity to learn and practice high-tech skills related to laser machining, part marking, data matrices, and computer-aided design and manufacturing. Additionally, the data from this multi- faceted machine can be used to develop soft skills that are transferable across industrial fields, such as those practiced in the six sigma quality methodology. The results presented in this paper show some of the capabilities of this machine, as well as two DOEs (design of experiments). The DOEs illustrate the relationship between data matrix quality (2-D barcode) and process input parameters, namely pen style, power, hatch, and frequency. Interactions also show a significant effect on the quality of the data matrix.


Western Carolina University (WCU) is a comprehensive state university situated in the mountains of western North Carolina with approximately 8,900 graduate and undergraduate students. WCU serves a region that continues to employ heavily in the manufacturing sector, which ranks number one with 19.3% of all jobs in western North Carolina1, which is why the Engineering Technology (ET) program continues to prepare its graduates through both its on- campus and distance education degree programs. The ET program exposes its students to a multitude of industry-related courses, including CAD/CAM (Computer-Aided Design & Manufacturing), polymers, rapid prototyping, fluid power, numerical methods, occupational health and safety, automation, and quality. The adoption of six sigma techniques in the past decade has placed a high priority on quality in the workplace, and accordingly in the classroom2.

Presently, the Engineering Technology curriculum offers one undergraduate course, Quality Systems, and one graduate course, Quality Assurance, in the area of quality. Based on input from the industrial advisory committee, there are plans to add a second undergraduate course in quality to provide more of those industry-sought six sigma skills. The emphasis on the existing undergraduate course is the application of statistical fundamentals to basic quality tools, such as statistical process control (SPC), gage repeatability and reproducibility (GR&R), and sampling. The graduate course covers a wide array of six sigma tools, such as the DMAIC methodology (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control), design of experiments (DOE), regression analysis, quality function deployment (QFD), failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA), and mistake proofing. The intent of the proposed new undergraduate course is to introduce some of the six sigma tools that are not covered in the introductory quality course, most notably DOE and regression.

Stone, W., & Kuhn, Z. (2007, June), Integrating Laser Machining Applications Into A Quality Course For Engineering Technology Students Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2948

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