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Teaching Fixturing For Manufacturing Processes Within The Learning Factory Between Worcester Polytechnic Institute And Pratt & Whitney

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.416.1 - 1.416.6

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Paper Authors

author page

III, John J. Bausch

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Fredric M. Gold

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

-—--, . . . . . - Session 1463 ‘

‘Teaching Fixturing for Manufacturing Processes within the Learning Factory between Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Pratt & Whitney

Fredric M. Gold, John J. Bausch, III

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Abstract: Engineering education is undergoing serious scrutiny by industry and academia due to perceived gaps in undergraduate education. Project based learning, at the undergraduate level, is an important facet of addressing this perception by acquainting students with new processes and tools. It requires students to understand not only the fundamentals of engineering science but also to be able to apply what they know to “real” problems and issues. Most undergraduates attend the university for four or five years, and it is not possible to teach the students everything that they might need to know in that time period. The fundamentals of tool and fixture design is an area that has not been emphasized in undergraduate education. Fixturing is one of the least understood and yet most fundamental of manufacturing processes. Undergraduate and graduate students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute(WPI) have been on site at Pratt and Whitney Aircraft (PWA) in North Haven, CT., working on some of their tixturing issues within the Learning Factory. This paper examines the importance of project based learning, how WPI and PWA have incorporated it into the Learning Factory and the difllculties of teaching fixturing and tool design.

Changing Engineering Education R has been noted that the technology used by some industries has surpassed that of the academic environment (Sisson 1996), This ilmplies that students who then go to work for these companies are not adequately trained to use the tools that are available. Engineers coming out of school have been trained for four to five years to be able to perform a job, if they then need fhrther training before they can become an effective member of the company team, companies may see this as a lack of education. As technology continues to change, particularly with the advantages of better computers and tools, indust~ and academia must change as well. The companies and universities that do not change will be Iefl behind by their competitors that do. Pratt & Whitney approached WPI to create the Learning Factory in order to improve undergraduate education at a fundamental level, creating a trickle down effect, where Pratt and Whitney will be improved fundamentally at several levels, The first is by sharing strengths of both industry and academia and by relying on the others’ strengths to overcome individual limitations, The second is by having students work on projects at Pratt and Whitney to provide new perspectives to challenging issues. This also introduces students to a different culture while they are undergraduates. This creates the third level, which is the company hiring students who have worked on their problems, been exposed to their culture and are familiar with their needs and requirements before they ever actually go to work there, making them a more productive e]mployee in a much shorter period of time.

-- .- -. - ?$!iii; 1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings ‘..,ellypc,f .

Bausch, I. J. J., & Gold, F. M. (1996, June), Teaching Fixturing For Manufacturing Processes Within The Learning Factory Between Worcester Polytechnic Institute And Pratt & Whitney Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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