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Robotic Cell Usage in Industry: The Rebirth of a Frontier for Manufacturing Engineering Education

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Progress in Manufacturing Education II

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Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1134.1 - 25.1134.13



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Paper Authors


Alister McLeod Indiana State Uniersity

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Alister McLeod is an Assistant Professor at Indiana State University in its Applied Engineering Technology Management Department. He is also the Program Coordinator for the Advanced Manufacturing Management program. In 2009, he obtained doctorate of philosophy in industrial technology from Purdue University. His research interests span the widespread adoption of operational improvement strategies, as well as technologies in the manufacturing sector. Previously, his research has made contributions to the sustainability of lean improvement strategies for first time implementers. In essence, his research aids in the training of a modern manufacturing workforce to cope with both internal and external competitive pressures. One of the main impacts his work has had on the body of knowledge pertaining to lean manufacturing has been in the developing and teaching an introductory lean manufacturing course.

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Jim Smallwood Indiana State University

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Jim Smallwood is a professor in the Applied Engineering and Technology Management Department at Indiana State University (ISU) in Terre Haute. He taught for 14 years at Morehead State University in Kentucky. Smallwood primarily taught courses in manufacturing and robotics. He has been at ISU for the past 10 years teaching courses in technology management and manufacturing.

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A Systematic look at Flexible Robotic Cell Design: The new Frontier for Manufacturing Engineering EducationAbstractThe American manufacturing workforce is currently not well-trained to undertakeincreased modern day usage of robotics usage in the workplace (CCC & CRA, 2009). Inthe past robots and computers were primary used to aid or undertake routine, anddangerous tasks. The skill level necessary for operators on these systems was veryspecialized in nature, as different manufacturers had different coding and operatingschemes. The robotic systems employed were generally inflexible to changes in theproduct itself, product demand or even working on a queue of products in the samefamily. In the past decade there has been a major push in the field of robotic design forintegrated robotic systems that work in tandem with human operators, making them moreflexible and also imbuing them with an innate ability to produce multiple products insmall lots and in a just-in-time manner. This added ability allows robots, that in the pastworked independently, to communicate with other robots in flexible robotic cells andwith human supervisors, sharing information, such as cycle time, work-in-progress, andproblems associated with the undertaking of a routine. As more manufacturing firmscontinue to adopt operational improvement strategies like lean or agile manufacturing thefocus will now shift to the integration of robots into the manufacturing system. Ourcurrent Manufacturing Engineering Education programs, nationwide, need to be aware ofthis impending change and how to embark upon introducing these concepts into thecurriculum. This paper sets forth a framework for which systems engineering androbotics can coexist in our current pedagogical environments. The framework is based onthe modification of the Manufacturing Engineering Program at Indiana State University.By utilizing, an academic advisory committee, made up of managers from small tomedium size manufacturing enterprises, manufacturing consultants, and researchers inthe field, the framework established seeks to find common ground for all manufacturingengineering programs nationwide.Keywords: Robotic Systems, Manufacturing Engineering, Systems-based-Curriculum development, Curriculum Enrichment. ReferencesCCC, & CRA. (2009). A Roadmap for US Robitics: From Internet to Robotics. In H. Christensen, I (Ed.). Washington D.C.: Computing Community Consortium & Computing Research Association.

McLeod, A., & Smallwood, J. (2012, June), Robotic Cell Usage in Industry: The Rebirth of a Frontier for Manufacturing Engineering Education Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21891

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