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Teaching Manufacturing With Group Cell Practices

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Teaching - Best Practices

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1147.1 - 23.1147.10



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Paper Authors


Wayne P Hung Texas A&M University

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Dr. Wayne Hung graduated from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Hung is currently an Associate Professor at Texas A&M University. Dr. Hung's research interests include novel materials and micromanufacturing.

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Wm Adam Farmer Texas A&M University

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TEACHING MANUFACTURING WITH GROUP CELL PRACTICESABSTRACTIn traditional manufacturing lab exercises, students lean to operate one type of machine tool at atime. After learning each machine type, they then move to another type and learn all operationson new machine tool. There is little connection and interaction among students since each personwill produce his/her own individual part. At the end of training lessons, it is up to students torecognize the link of different processes and how a product would flow among those processes.A manufacturing department typically has to purchase many identical machine tools anddifferent tooling sets for variety of possible operations on each machine type. The operating costof such manufacturing laboratory is high and students do not see the link among differentprocesses. This model is popular among community colleges or vocational schools, but may notbe best for engineering students since the latter only need to understand the manufacturingprocesses rather than acquiring hands-on manufacturing skills.We revolutionize the manufacturing teaching practice at our university by introducing groupcells and mini production line concepts. A group of students is responsible to produce productsfor the whole group. After seeing the demonstration of basic machine tool operations in a cell(lathe, mill, sawing machine, grinding machine, and specific manual operations), each subgroupof two students operate a machine tool and produce identical components for the whole group. Astudent keeps time record of each operation for the time study. When all components areproduced to drawing dimensions and tolerances, students then assemble components to form thefinal products that are carefully designed for process integration while having meaningful valueand ecstatic appearance for students to keep. In the conclusion session, a teaching assistant leadsthe discussion and highlight the capabilities of each machine, flow of parts from one machine tothe next, identify the bottle neck station and let students suggest corrective actions at theconclusion of the lab exercise. Component dimensions and part shape are modified for differentgroups to illustrate how a family of parts is produced in group cells and the advantages offlexible manufacturing concept.Teaching manufacturing through mini production line and group cell would (i) simulateindustrial practice, (ii) provide opportunity for students to interact and be responsible, and (iii)reduce floor space and expenses when having less number of identical machines and tooling.

Hung, W. P., & Farmer, W. A. (2013, June), Teaching Manufacturing With Group Cell Practices Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22532

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