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Rebuilding A Manufacturing Processes Laboratory

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Manufacturing Lab Experience

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.972.1 - 8.972.10



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Paper Authors

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James Higley

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

Session 2963

Rebuilding a Manufacturing Processes Laboratory

James B. Higley, P.E.

Purdue University Calumet


Manufacturing laboratories always seem to lag behind other laboratories in obtaining new equipment, especially machine tools. Since 1990, Purdue University Calumet totally revamped its manufacturing laboratory from a World War II vintage laboratory to a modern laboratory with both conventional and CNC machine tools. This paper discusses the types of courses that use the manufacturing laboratory, other lab constituents, funding sources, and choosing equipment based on the author’s experience of attending seven International Manufacturing Technology Shows (IMTS) and purchasing approximately a quarter- million dollars worth of equipment.


Purdue University Calumet (PUC) is an educationally autonomous regional campus in the Purdue system located in Northwest Indiana just 25 miles from downtown Chicago. Being a regional campus, PUC’s mission is, primarily, to serve the needs of local constituents. Northwest Indiana is also home to the nation’s largest integrated steel mills, so PUC has served their needs as well. Indeed, the campus was originally started in WWII to provide technical training for the steel mills. While PUC’s service base has expanded considerably since then, it still has a strong technical base with well established programs in mechanical engineering (ME) and mechanical and industrial engineering technology (MET and IET), all with a long history of ABET accreditation.

The manufacturing laboratory was originally installed in 1969 with the construction of PUC’s Anderson Building. At that time, most engineering programs, including PUC’s, had removed manufacturing processes from their curricula as engineering programs became more science based as a result of the space race. Technology programs stepped in and took over most of the application-oriented courses, including manufacturing processes. The MET and IET programs at PUC started in 1969, and they have been the primary users of the manufacturing laboratory ever since. However, industry slowly applied pressure, and in the mid and late 1980’s, many engineering programs began adding manufacturing processes courses back into their curricula. PUC followed suite as well. Hence, more technology and engineering students are using manufacturing processes laboratories now than two decades ago, a prime reason to rehabilitate and modernize a laboratory.

When the Anderson Building was initially constructed, funds were included in the original building proposal to equip a modest manufacturing laboratory with a lathe, milling machine, drill

Higley, J. (2003, June), Rebuilding A Manufacturing Processes Laboratory Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12308

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