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Introducing Hands On Manufacturing Experience To Students

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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

CAD Applications in MET Courses

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.747.1 - 7.747.7



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Mukasa Ssemakula

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Session 3649

Introducing Hands-on Manufacturing Experience to Students

Mukasa E. Ssemakula

Division of Engineering Technology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202.


This paper describes a laboratory-based course in Manufacturing Processes that provides hands- on manufacturing experience to students in Engineering Technology. The theoretical part of the course provides a general understanding of the behavior of the materials commonly used in manufacturing, the basic techniques used in processing them into useful products, the scientific theory underlying those processes, and the criteria for selecting particular processes. The laboratory portion involves team projects that help students gain hands-on experience with selected manufacturing processes. The projects start with simple components that can be made on a single machine such as a lathe or a mill, and progress to the manufacture and assembly of a fully operational model engine. This approach introduces students to the issues involved in putting together a non-trivial assembly. The projects also expose students to the idea of working in teams, a skill that is highly sought by industry.


The high cost of setting up a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility means that universities usually have to make difficult choices about the resources they dedicate to courses in manufacturing. Consequently, many university courses in manufacturing processes or related subjects are skewed towards theoretical concepts and offer limited hands-on experience for the students (if any). Frequently, students' exposure to actual processes is limited to observing demonstrations by the instructor, or simply watching video tapes, but with the students not getting their hands on the equipment. There is also the possibility of using simulations but these are still primarily in the research stage and they do not yet offer sufficient realism1.

Another way to overcome these constraints is to arrange for cooperative experiences that allow students to work in a manufacturing facility as part of their degree program2,3. This requires extra commitment from the students, since it normally entails at least one semester away from school. Moreover, it can be challenging to find appropriate placements for all students participating in the program.

Wayne State University (WSU) is subject to the same economic pressures as other universities. Nevertheless, the author has developed an innovative course - MIT 3510 Manufacturing

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

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Ssemakula, M. (2002, June), Introducing Hands On Manufacturing Experience To Students Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10140

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