Asee peer logo

Peanut Butter Cracker Sandwich Manufacturing Module

Download Paper |


2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

First-Year Design Experiences

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.993.1 - 10.993.10



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Michelle Sabick

author page

John Gardner

author page

Patricia Pyke

author page

William Knowlton

author page

Amy Moll

Download Paper |

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

Peanut Butter Cracker Sandwich Manufacturing Module Amy J. Moll, William B. Knowlton, Michelle B. Sabick, Patricia A. Pyke, and John F. Gardner

College of Engineering Boise State University


For many engineers, their first position after obtaining a B.S. degree is in manufacturing. Job titles like process engineer, product engineer, and quality engineer are common and are directly involved in manufacturing. Most engineering curricula do not cover manufacturing concepts. A student may not even have an opportunity through electives to study manufacturing since smaller engineering colleges rarely have a department of Manufacturing Engineering.

A module on peanut butter cracker manufacturing was developed for the Introduction to Engineering course taken by most engineering students in their freshman year. The objective for the students is to design, build and then run a process to manufacture peanut butter cracker sandwiches. The culminating activity is a pilot production run where the students are assigned human operators for their process. The goal for the students is to make a profit during the pilot production run. Material costs, labor costs, quality specifications and selling price all determine whether or not the process was successful. The module includes activities where the students perform calculations and use Excel graphs to determine the process time required to make a profit, the impact of the number of operators on production, the interplay between fixed and variable costs, and the effect of yield on their profit. Students are required to write operating procedures and order supplies based on predictions of the quantity of sandwiches they will produce. Students also learn about quality control and process control, the cost of automation, development costs, and challenges in training operators. After more than two weeks of preparation, the students have 10 minutes to train their operators, and then the operators run the process for 10 minutes. After production day, the students write a report that includes an analysis of their production performance and suggested process modifications. Overall, the module provides a fun and informative introduction to some fundamental manufacturing concepts.

Introduction Process Engineers, Manufacturing Engineers, Quality Engineers – a search on any of the common job hunting Internet sites will turn up numerous positions across the United States for these classifications of engineers. Manufacturing activities contribute significantly to U.S. industrial vitality and to research and development of products and services that drive economic growth.1 The requirements for an entry level position in these fields include degrees in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Chemistry, Physics, Chemical Engineering, and related degrees. Manufacturing, process, and quality engineering job

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

Sabick, M., & Gardner, J., & Pyke, P., & Knowlton, W., & Moll, A. (2005, June), Peanut Butter Cracker Sandwich Manufacturing Module Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14875

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: © 2005 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