Asee peer logo

Integrating Manufacturing Projects Into Mechanical Engineering Programs

Download Paper |


2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Closing Manufacturing Competency Gaps II

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.695.1 - 7.695.12

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Doug Ramers

Download Paper |

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

Main Menu Session 1351

Integrating Manufacturing Projects into Mechanical Engineering Programs

Doug Ramers

University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Students receive limited exposure to manufacturing in most undergraduate Mechanical Engineering programs - yet a significant number of mechanical engineers end up working in manufacturing operations or engineering support. The manufacturing discipline combines knowledge from a variety of subjects, such as statics, strength of materials, thermofluids, systems, electronics, etc., that are typically taught in isolation without considering interactions. Solving most real world problems requires integrating this knowledge. As a result of the evolution of standardized Mechanical Engineering programs, students are typically exposed to only one semester of manufacturing processes. Manufacturing problems are rarely used to teach students how to integrate their new knowledge and develop skills to solve applied problems.

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers Manufacturing Education Plan1 defines a set of critical competencies expected of engineering students entering manufacturing industries. The Plan is a result of workshops with automotive, aerospace, electronics, and other industries. Competencies such as project planning and management, communication, problem solving, teamwork, engineering science, and design apply to all organizations where engineers work. Solving manufacturing problems is a good way to develop these and additional competencies in problem identification, prediction, managing ambiguity and trade-offs, decision-making, DFM, product and process design, and materials applications. The multi-disciplinary nature of manufacturing problems requires concurrent engineering and a systems view often missing in problems used to teach basic, discipline-oriented engineering principles. Manufacturing problems help students understand that most of the analytical skills and knowledge they have been acquiring during their engineering education is intended to support physical realization of objects and systems manufactured by real processes with real materials.

This paper describes some approaches undertaken to help students develop the competencies listed above within a traditional Mechanical Engineering program at Gonzaga University. The approaches involve adding hands-on projects to existing manufacturing related courses, enhancing non-manufacturing courses with manufacturing issues and projects, and using manufacturing problems as senior capstone design projects.

Enhancing Manufacturing Related Courses

In many traditional Mechanical Engineering programs, the only exposure students have to manufacturing is to one manufacturing processes course. This course is often very focused on

Main Menu

Ramers, D. (2002, June), Integrating Manufacturing Projects Into Mechanical Engineering Programs Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2002 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015