CES EduPack—Customer Report

Professor Trevor Harding, Kettering University, MI, USA

CES is currently used at Kettering University in a Materials and Process selection course. Kettering University is a unique private undergraduate school in the sense that every student must participate in an industrial co-op experience from the freshmen through senior years. This provides our students with a truly realistic impression of how industry handles product design and manufacturing.

The material and process selection course is an elective for senior engineering students. It consists of six topics: 1) Functional design strategies, 2) Design for the Environment strategies, 3) Safe and reliable design strategies, 4) Material selection, 5) Process selection and 6) Production cost estimation. The course is designed to integrate both mechanical design concepts and practical manufacturing issues in a single, project oriented course. Assessment primarily involves completion of three design projects which progressively incorporate the six topics mentioned above.

CES is used by the students in the course to assist with material selection, process selection and cost modeling. Students frequently comment that the course is so practical and relevant to their industrial co-op work that they think it should be required of all students. And they felt that the CES software makes an invaluable contribution to this. CES actively engages the student in open-ended design projects that require careful consideration of design requirements and critical analysis of results. Students seem to truly enjoy working through complex design projects within the CES software.

In particular, students are blown away by the ability to model production costs, and actually go to great lengths to investigate the influence of numbers of shifts, automation of equipment, labor costs, etc.

Our industrial advisory board has commented on the remarkable thoroughness of student project reports. They are impressed by the fact that students are able to incorporate so many of the critical design issues (e.g. functionality, safety, environmental impact, materials, production and cost) into a single project. CES has made this possible.

And as an instructor, I must say that CES has made the course "fun" to teach. Setting these students loose on a complex design project, rather than lecturing in front of a blackboard, makes the course more engaging for the students and the instructor.