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Teaching Integrated Manufacturing Systems With Programming

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.949.1 - 6.949.8



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

Session 3663

Teaching Integrated Manufacturing Systems with Programming

Hugh Jack (

Grand Valley State University


This paper describes a novel approach to teaching an Integrated Manufacturing Systems course. The first offering of the course focused on the use of C++ programming on Linux based machines to create a fully integrated manufacturing workcell. The workcell created used a material handling system, two CNC machines, a robot and a PLC. An SQL database was used for central storage of data and coordination of operations. To control the sensors and actuators in the workcell the stu- dents developed ladder logic for the PLC that could communicate with a remote computer via an RS-232 connection. They then wrote a corresponding driver to connect the PLC to the database. They wrote similar drivers to connect the robot, CNC machines and motor controllers in the mate- rial handling system to the central database. The product of the workcell was a penholder with a choice of two logos that could be ordered at one computer that had an ASCII input screen. This would create an entry in the database table. Individual devices using the database would then retrieve or update the order status as the order moved from a raw block of wood to a final product ready for pickup.

Lectures and laboratories were combined so that topics could be presented and used immediately. Early in the semester the students were given detailed tutorials that guided them towards the knowledge needed to build the workcell. In the last half of the semester the project was assigned so that they could integrate their knowledge into one working system. There are several benefits to this pedagogical approach. First, the students gain an awareness of the issues involved in the architecture and design of an Integrated Manufacturing System. Second, the use of a database makes them acutely aware of the structure of data and events in an integrated system. Third, the students gain a firsthand knowledge of the details that would be hidden if a Graphical User Inter- face based package were used. Fourth, the project integrates the individual topics into a unified subject. This course was well received by the students, and will be expanded in following years.

The paper will describe the course and final project in detail so that others wishing to integrate some or all of the concepts into their own courses will be able to do so.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Jack, H. (2001, June), Teaching Integrated Manufacturing Systems With Programming Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9869

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