Student Paper: Abstract
The implementation and effective utilization of advanced computer controlled machines and processes depends on a concerted effort by industry, machine and software vendors, and educators. Specialized and multipurpose machines such as 5-axis mills, turn-mill, and Swiss style lathes are becoming more popular and affordable. Furthermore, their controllers are becoming more versatile and integrated with sensors, probing capabilities, data collection and enterprise level software. Although trade schools do a good job at training operators and CAD/CAM technicians, there is a growing need for mechanical, manufacturing, and aerospace engineering graduates to have experience and a working knowledge of all aspects of component design, process planning, CNC programming, and process improvement so that companies realize a competitive edge from their investments. This is especially true in the aerospace industry, where factors such as part geometry complexity, difficult to machine materials, single setup fixture design, computer simulations, and reduced cycle times through optimization determine the difference between potential and realized gains in capability and efficiency. In this paper, the authors present a set of course modules that address some of the challenges mentioned above and propose a low-cost platform (hardware/software/tutorials) for other educators to get started. As Industry 4.0, the IIoT, Human Machine Interfaces (HMI’s), and Machine Control Units (MCU’s) become more sophisticated, the need for skilled personnel and good pedagogical tools will grow as well. Finally, the authors developed some tools to evaluate the effectiveness of the modules and gather feedback from students for future improvements.
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