Enhancing Manufacturing Process Education via Computer Simulation and Visualization

Priyadarshan A. Manohar, Sushil Acharya, Peter Wu


Industrially significant metal manufacturing processes such as melting, casting, rolling, forging, machining, and
forming are multi-stage, complex processes that are labor, time, and capital intensive. Academic research
develops mathematical modeling of these processes that provide a theoretical framework for understanding the
process variables and their effects on productivity and quality. However it is usually difficult to provide the
students with hands-on experience of experimentation with process parameters which leads to disconnect
between engineering education and industrial needs. In order to solve this problem, interdisciplinary student
projects were undertaken at author’s institution to develop computer simulation tools that would facilitate
process visualization, experimentation, exploration, design and optimization. The hypothesis is that these new
computer-based tools would enhance educational experience for the manufacturing engineering students as
assessed by the ABET-derived educational outcomes and also based on Bloom’s cognitive outcomes modified
for STEM disciplines.
The first system described in this paper is the visualization of metal ingot production schedule in an industrial
setting that provides a basis for interactive decisions. The graphical user interface is created to visualize the
schedule according to the specific characteristics of the machines. Another example of process simulation
presented in this paper is the design and analysis of flexible rolling technology in industrial processing of low
carbon steels. Process simulation tools designed in both cases allow new process sequences to be generated by
breaking down existing process routes into key elements and then by recombining them to generate novel
alternative and more efficient hot processing sequences. This enables the identification of an optimal process
sequence for specified steel compositions that also satisfies simultaneous design criteria such as process
feasibility and property maximization. It is proposed that incorporation of such computer simulation tools in the
pedagogy would be highly effective to enhancing and enriching undergraduate manufacturing education.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/jel.v3n3p172

Journal of Education and Learning   ISSN 1927-5250 (Print)   ISSN 1927-5269 (Online)

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