University of Wisconsin Madison College of Engineering

Flexible Manufacturing Cell Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory

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2145 Mechanical Engineering Building
Thomas Yen, Shiyu Zhou


The state-of-the-art is exemplified in the industrial engineering department's flexible manufacturing cell teaching laboratory. The process it supports, from computer design to manufacture and assembly, is completely automated using CAD and CAM systems, a material-handling conveyor and robots, and an assembly robot able to recognize parts with the help of tactile sensors and up to six vision cameras. Advanced coordinate measurement hardware and software allow for quality control and reverse engineering, where an exiting part can be measured and either checked against original design specifications or duplicated through the computer-aided design and manufacturing systems. Such complete integration of technology prepares students not only to keep pace with industry but also to help lead industry in developing world-class manufacturing systems. Students learn all the major steps of manufacturing, from product design to final product assembly and quality inspection. Students also learn to design and manufacture complex three-dimensional shapes such as those required in developing dies for metal and plastic forming processes.