Asee peer logo

Lean Six Sigma Principles In Capstone Aeronautical Engineering Technology Courses

Download Paper |


2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Capstone and Senior Design in Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.837.1 - 14.837.12



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Mary Johnson Purdue University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Mary E. Johnson is an Associate Professor in the Aviation Technology department at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

visit author page


Sergey Dubikovsky Purdue University

visit author page

Sergey Dubikovsky is an Assistant Professor in the Aviation Technology department at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Lean Six Sigma Principles in Capstone Aeronautical Engineering Technology Courses


The Aeronautical Engineering Technology program has senior level capstone courses that integrate knowledge gained through undergraduate courses. Three of these capstone courses require the students to plan, design, build, test, and implement product or process improvements. Faculty members have designed these courses in the curriculum to focus students on product design and process improvement. The courses use Lean Six Sigma (LSS) methodology and techniques as a structured approach to problem-solving, product design, and process improvement. This combination of design project experience and LSS knowledge is an advantage for graduates seeking careers in aerospace and aviation, as the LSS methodology is widely used across multiple disciplines to achieve dramatic performance improvements. Many aeronautical engineering technology graduates apply for jobs at major aircraft manufacturers. LSS is one of many valuable skills valued to meet the challenge of filling the gap between engineering, manufacturing, and support. In addition to manufacturing liaison and field engineering positions, these graduates may be hired for positions in scheduling, tooling, design, or purchasing. To better prepare students for these careers, three new courses were developed for capstone design where the students learn and use problem-solving methods and techniques that help them understand the design and improvement of products and processes. Specifically, the courses use two major Lean Six Sigma methodologies: DMAIC and DMEDI. DMAIC is a methodology for process or product improvement with five phases: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. DMEDI is a methodology for process or product design with five phases: Define, Measure, Explore, Develop, and Implement. Both of these LSS methodologies emphasize a data-driven approach to improving processes and the products delivered to customers through reducing waste, reducing variability, and improving speed. This paper discusses the relevance of these methodologies and the implementation in the capstone courses.


The Aeronautical Engineering Technology (AET) program is one of three programs in Aviation Technology offered at Purdue University. The AET program has a long history of transforming its curriculum to meet the changing challenges of the aviation and aerospace industries. Evolving from successful aviation operations and maintenance technician program, the program changed its curriculum to become an aeronautical engineering technology program. The first AET students graduated in May 2008. Guiding the curriculum redesign was a strategic decision of the faculty that identified ABET Technology Accreditation Commission (ABET TAC) accreditation as a key competitive advantage for its baccalaureate graduates. One part of the ABET TAC requirements is that graduates can apply technical skills and knowledge “to the analysis, development, implementation, or oversight of aeronautical/aerospace systems and processes1.” Three senior level courses were developed where students conduct product design, process design, and process improvement projects. The focus of these courses is product design, process design and process improvement. The faculty chose to incorporate Lean Six Sigma (LSS) as an underlying structure for the courses primarily due to the structured methodologies and the wide

Johnson, M., & Dubikovsky, S. (2009, June), Lean Six Sigma Principles In Capstone Aeronautical Engineering Technology Courses Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5646

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: © 2009 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