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OU and UM team up for Engineering experience

OU instructor William Edwards said, “Trips like this really reinforce students’ knowledge.”
OU instructor William Edwards said, “Trips like this really reinforce students’ knowledge.”
Students in Industrial and Systems Engineering Department instructor William Edwards’ Flexible and Lean Manufacturing Systems class at Oakland University had some hands-on experience during a recent trip to the University of Michigan's Tauber Institute for Global Operations in Ann Arbor.

The opportunity allowed the students to apply lessons learned in the classroom to real-world situations. Students built Borg-Warner TurboChargers on an “assembly line,” and worked on a Hot Wheels assembly simulation to enforce the importance of standardizing production.

“There’s only so much you can do with academics in the classroom,” Edwards said. “Trips like this really reinforce students’ knowledge.”

While the class takes a trip each semester to a local company, this collaboration was the first of its kind, bringing together the two universities.

In the TurboChargers activity, students went through Yamazumi Charts which are “a breakdown of operations into elementary work units and standardized timing (Takt) at which the flow of the overall process should be conducted,” according to Edwards. 

Work loads could be leveled to create a more even flow of work pieces through the process by taking workable averages of each station element.

Next, Hot Wheel cars were used in a mock production line to discover how buffers and variations impacts the end product. 

At the end of the event, Dr. Matt Potoff, University of Michigan Operations Leadership Factory Director, spoke with the classes, covering concepts that were used in the interactive learning session.

“The students are coming in more educated with more real world experience than in the past,” Edwards said. “I think it was a great collaboration between the University of Michigan and Oakland University, sharing resources for the education of the next generation of engineers.”

Learn more about Oakland University's undergraduate and graduate programs in Industrial and Systems Engineering by visiting the ISE Dept. website at: oakland.edu/ise

About Oakland University School of Engineering and Computer Science: 
The School of Engineering and Computer Science leverages OU's proximity to the auto industry to provide faculty and students unique research opportunities. From GPS devices and communication systems to clean energy, SECS faculty are on the front lines of automotive research. In addition, the school's research centers, such as the Fastening and Joining Research Institute (FAJRI), allow scholars to collaborate with military units like the U.S. Army's Tank Automotive Research and Development Engineering Center (TARDEC). The School of Engineering and Computer Science will have a new home this fall when Oakland University's new Engineering Center opens on campus.


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