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Rapid Prototyping Project For Manufacturing Engineering Technology Program

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.517.1 - 5.517.13

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Paper Authors

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Andrzej A. Markowski

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Harry Petersen

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

Session 2663

Rapid Prototyping for Manufacturing Engineering Technology Program

Andrzej Markowski, Harry Petersen Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering Technology Minnesota State University, Mankato


Development, presentation and evaluation of a Rapid Prototyping class for Manufacturing Engineering Technology (MET) students at Minnesota State University, Mankato is presented. The two credit (400/500 level) class has been designed as an open-ended one-semester project in which students work in small groups following the typical stages of product development - designing, prototyping and manufacturing - in one continuous project. Students are required to apply in practice what they have learned from other classes. CAD, Manufacturing, Automation and Management classes are prerequisites. In-class instruction is limited. Students will often independently follow class guidelines but must meet the all milestones of the project. One goal is to train students to approach and solve problems on their own, with guidance from an instructor as needed.

1. Introduction

Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Technology Programs are challenged with a rapidly changing industrial environment, emerging new technologies, and new methods of production. MET graduates are faced with a demanding work environment at the shop floor, in the designing office, and on a management level. To meet the mission of these programs, and the expectations of graduates and industries, universities need to prepare “industry-ready” students as much as it is possible. This is not an easy task, because of the wide variety of different industries in which graduates may be employed. Recent surveys show [1] that knowledge of new processes and technologies, and the ability to work in teams, are the most often mentioned competency gaps of engineering and engineering technology graduates. Some reasons are obvious. In traditional classroom teaching, industrial projects can be analyzed theoretically but simulated only to a certain extent, never fully reflecting the complexity of conditions existing in industry. Additionally, traditional classroom teaching focuses narrowly on subjects directly related to the class currently being taken, and it is difficult to incorporate a wide range of knowledge and experience from other courses, even the prerequisites. Particular difficulty is encountered in the format of class assignments. Rather than following the conventional linear instruction, in the Rapid Prototyping class it is desirable to simulate a more real-world working and learning environment where students must develop their own methods to meet class guidelines in the most effective way. To be successful they have to use many technical tools from different areas. In introducing this class, we had two major goals. The first was to prepare students to work in teams to solve open-end designing and manufacturing problems and to develop the necessary skills for using modern computer integrated manufacturing in an industrial environment. The second goal was to develop a course so closely linked to local industry that current projects could be picked by students directly from problems submitted by the cooperating companies.

Markowski, A. A., & Petersen, H. (2000, June), Rapid Prototyping Project For Manufacturing Engineering Technology Program Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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