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LEGO Product Design and Manufacturing Simulations for Engineering Design and Systems Engineering Education

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

SED Technical Session: Instructional Experiences

Tagged Division

Systems Engineering

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Paper Authors


Paul T. Grogan Stevens Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16

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Paul Grogan is an Assistant Professor in the School of Systems and Enterprises at Stevens Institute of Technology. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Engineering Systems (2014) and an S.M. degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics (2010) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.S. degree in Engineering Mechanics (2008) from University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests develop and study interactive modeling, simulation, and gaming for collaborative design of infrastructure systems.

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Olivier Ladislas de Weck Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Olivier de Weck is a Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems at MIT. His research focuses on the technological evolution of complex systems over time, both on Earth and in Space . He is a Fellow of INCOSE and served as Editor-in-Chief for the Systems Engineering journal from 2013 to 2018.

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This paper describes a hands-on classroom activity to introduce students to engineering design and systems engineering concepts by simulating product design and manufacturing processes using LEGO bricks. Classroom simulations, especially those involving simple physical components, help to engage students and communicate abstract concepts. The proposed simulation platform requires modest one-time capital investment, supports real-time data collection, analysis, and visualization, and can be tailored to suit a variety of educational objectives and audiences ranging from pre-college to professional education. The activity models a three-tier vehicle manufacturing logistics system with suppliers, manufacturers, and customers. A simple software product lifecycle management system implemented using Google Forms and Google Sheets allows participants to record time-stamped events such as purchases or sales using phones, tablets, or laptops. Applications focus on specific topics such as product platforms, commonality, and design for manufacturing where participants experience tradeoffs between speed and quality, standardization and product variety, monotony and specialization, manufacturing learning curves, and how to identify and improve bottlenecks in production lines.

Grogan, P. T., & de Weck, O. L. (2019, June), LEGO Product Design and Manufacturing Simulations for Engineering Design and Systems Engineering Education Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33056

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