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Integrating The Product Realization Process Into A Mechanical Engineering Curriculum Using Desktop Manufacturing Equipment

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.620.1 - 6.620.9

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Robert Wells

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Jeffrey Mountain

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Donald Goddard

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

Session 2463

Integrating the Product Realization Process into a Mechanical Engineering Curriculum using Desktop Manufacturing Equipment

Robert Lindsay Wells, Donald L. Goddard, Jeffrey R. Mountain The University of Texas at Tyler


This paper describes how desktop manufacturing equipment can be used to help students experience the full Product Realization Process, and understand how production considerations inevitably impact the design process. Curriculum development has included the enhancement of an Introduction to Manufacturing course with demonstrations and laboratory exercises, the creation of a new hands-on elective course in Computer-Aided Manufacturing, and the addition of practical content in several design courses. It is shown that presentation of the production aspect of the Product Realization Process can be significantly enriched using relatively inexpensive desktop manufacturing equipment.

I. Introduction

The Product Realization Process (PRP) encompasses the entire cycle of production, from initial conceptual design to the finished manufacture of products. Key elements of the PRP have been studied from both academic and industrial viewpoints, and familiarity of engineering students with manufacturing methods has consistently ranked high among the PRP best practices.1

Mechanical engineering students are usually introduced to the PRP through courses in the design sequence, and perhaps an introductory manufacturing course. The various aspects of product design are usually well covered. However, students do not necessarily get the chance to see their designs actually produced -- thus completing the full product realization cycle. This makes it difficult to effectively teach how a product evolves from initial design concept through final production.

The trend in engineering education has been away from shop-based manufacturing courses, driven in part by factors such as equipment cost, liability and reduction of curriculum credit hours. However, as educators we are still confronted with the challenge of supplementing the theoretical aspects of analysis and design with substantive hands-on engineering experience.

Since full-sized production equipment can be prohibitively expensive, we have used portable desktop equipment in this project. Initial costs for individual apparatus have ranged from $4,000

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Wells, R., & Mountain, J., & Goddard, D. (2001, June), Integrating The Product Realization Process Into A Mechanical Engineering Curriculum Using Desktop Manufacturing Equipment Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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