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Lego Factory: An Educational Cim Environment For Assembly

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Manufacturing Laboratory Experience

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.887.1 - 10.887.11



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Paper Authors

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Derek Yip-Hoi

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Zbigniew Pasek

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Zbigniew J. Pasek, Derek Yip-Hoi University of Michigan / University of British Columbia


This paper describes a general concept for a computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) environment intended for the design and assembly of “products” built out of Lego blocks. These “products” are conceptualized and designed within a Lego CAD System from a small set of the most commonly used Lego building blocks. Process planning and trajectory planning software is used to determine the build sequence and robot program for assembling the model directly from the 3D CAD model. The robot program is fed into a cell controller to perform the physical build of the “product”. This paper also describes student projects designed to explore the feasibility of the technical concepts necessary for such a system. These include a robot gripper, a block sorting mechanism, and an assembly planning system integrated with the Lego CAD system and the physical assembly cell.


Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) is typically defined as the use of Computer and Automation Systems to operate and control production. This definition breaks the production activities into two major categories: the information processing performed by Computer-Aided Design and Planning systems and the physical activities performed by automation systems. Information processing tasks include: the design of components; planning the production of the components; controlling the operations in production and performing various business related functions necessary for running a manufacturing enterprise.

The physical activities are performed by a wide range of devices, often automatically controlled, including machine tools, assembly stations, robots, material handling and storage systems and quality inspection systems. These devices perform material transformations according to predefined process steps, move about a factory, take measurements, and ultimately feed back information to the human operators. They automate the physical activities.

In the same way that the devices on the shop floor automate the physical activities, the CAx (x = Design, Process Planning etc.) systems automate the information processing functions assuming that these different functions are closely integrated. To achieve CIM, all aspects of the manufacturing enterprise must be integrated so that they can share the same information, communicate with one another and provide a global picture as to the state of the entire manufacturing facility at any time.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Yip-Hoi, D., & Pasek, Z. (2005, June), Lego Factory: An Educational Cim Environment For Assembly Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14867

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