TitleManufacturing Center Equipment Evaluation Request Date2012-11-28
DepartmentMechanical & Industrial Engineering
RequestorKevin Cook Phone994-6503
Campuses Bozeman Billings Havre Great Falls FSTS Extension MAES
Cross Depts Supports 3 programs (MET, ME, IE) within the largest department in the college of engineering.
Proposed Dates Start: 3/1/2013 End: 2/20/2014
This proposal will fund improvements of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department’s student laboratory space to accommodate large and growing enrollments. Funds will be used to test equipment - that will modernize current manufacturing facilities - through incorporation of state-of-the-art, dual-purpose manufacturing equipment. These funds will help ensure that the current generation of MIE students has access to modern equipment and facilities for their engineering training.
• Objective A.1: Educate more students while maintaining the quality of programs
o Continued student enrollment growth in the M&IE department has stretched the departmental resources available to a point where it is unable to offer adequate lab course sections to accommodate these students. Development of methodologies lending themselves to effective management of growing student populations in our courses is essential.
o Due to the nature of the manufacturing lab courses, increasing section sizes is not an appropriate solution to meet the demand. Current lab sections are limited to 12 students in order to manage them effectively, as well as allow them to utilize the available lab equipment. This equipment is extremely complicated and powerful. A tremendous amount of student-to-instructor, one-on-one time is essential to proper execution of the course. To increase section sizes, without improving the equipment utilized, would compromise safety as well as interfere with a quality educational experience. Engineering labs are “hands-on” labs, and all students must be given the opportunity to obtain these essential hands-on experiences. Increasing section sizes, without adequate increases in qualified faculty supervision and available equipment, tends to decrease the quality of the lab experience.

• Objective L.2: Increase graduation rates at MSU
o A secondary benefit to increases in lab facilities and equipment is the ability to offer the appropriate amount of course and lab sections created by student demand, thus supporting matriculation to graduation. Thus, student growth will lead to increased graduation rates.

• Objective E.1: Strategically increase service, outreach, and engagement at MSU
o Improved manufacturing facility methods and equipment will facilitate Capstone quality and number to serve both Montana businesses and investigators across MSU.

• Objective I.1: Increase the integration of learning, discovery and engagement
o Hands-on laboratory experiences.
Funding Type: One-Time Only Funding Base (3-yr Recurring) Funding
  FY13 FY14 FY15 Base ($) OTO Startup ($)   FTE;
Materials & Supplies            
Contracted Services 4800             
Capital 71613             
Other Operations            
TOTAL 76413     
Please comment, if necessary, regarding cost and requirements.

Costs include machine prices, as well as installation and training costs supplied by the manufacturer of the equipment.  Shipping costs are also included.  The M&IE department will provide cost share for items including faculty salary, facilities infrastructure modifications, etc.


Describe the Proposal


This proposal is designed to more effectively plan and implement upgrades to laboratory equipment in the current M&IE Manufacturing Lab.  The manufacturing equipment currently in use is on average 30 to 35 years old, and cannot be considered state-of-the art by any measure. We propose to purchase two state-of-the art manufacturing machines – one mill and one lathe – for new course procedure development. 

 Specifically, this proposal supports improvements to ETME 310 – Machining and Industrial Safety, a required course in the MET curriculum.  The objective of this course is to provide the MET student with knowledge in the areas of industrial safety, machining and machine tools as practiced in the field of mechanical engineering technology.   Upon successful completion of this course, students will have demonstrated the ability to:

  • Identify and remediate unsafe work practices within a shop environment.
  • Perform a variety of machining operations on both an engine lathe and vertical milling machine.
  • Apply tolerances, fits, surface finish requirements, and material selection to a given part or assembly.
  • Determine machine tool speeds, feeds, and depth of cuts for various machining applications.
  • Understand machine code (G&M code) for (CNC) machine tools.

It is a critical course in the manufacturing focus area and successful completion is essential for success in many follow-on courses within the MET program.  Currently, enrollment is limited to 12 students per lab section – matching the 12 machines available to execute the course.  The lab facility consists of six manual vertical milling machines and 6 manual lathes.  The course consists of a one-hour lecture per week, along with four hours per week manufacturing products with the machines.  The course has not been changed significantly in the past 10 years – mostly due to the cost of replacement machinery.  The utilization has reached a point where MET faculty members are spending an increasing amount of time providing maintenance activities due to excessive wear, as well as with frequent improper use and expected mistakes made by inexperienced users.  Consequently, the professors in charge of the manufacturing facility lack any available time to devote to course improvement.  Curriculum enrollment growth (see Table 1 below) has necessitated increased use of their time to train students and manage the safe operation of the facility.


Year Total MET Enrollment
Fall 03 114
Fall 04 110
Fall 05 114
Fall 06 134
Fall 07 138
Fall 08 137
Fall 09 147
Fall 10 162
Fall 11 175
Fall 12 211

Table 1. MET Program Curriculum Growth

Table 2. New Equipment Proposal


Model Number


SW   Indsutries Knee Mill  - 3 axis and   manual



SW   indsutries 1630 lathe

1630   SX


Simulators   (ProtoTRAK System Hardware and Software)


$  6,000.00

Installation   and Training


$   2,000.00



$   2,800.00

Total   Cost



Note:  Equivalent machines may be purchased, based on final competitive bids.

 These new machines provide manual and CNC capability, along with the ability to simulate manufacturing procedures prior to “cutting metal”.  In addition, they match current technology and methodology in use in the industry today.  To maintain currency, our students need to develop some expertise with these types of machines. 

 In addition to being used by ETME 310, the current manufacturing machines are also heavily utilized by the following courses:

  • ETME 217 – Manufacturing Processes Lab: ME
  • ETME 415 – Design for Manufacturing and Tooling
  • ETME 341 –Machine Design
  • ETME 499 – Capstone: MET Design II
  • EMEC 499 – Capstone: ME Design II
  • Graduate students – building research equipment in support of research activities.

 The potential for reducing the amount of time spent directly utilizing the machines could benefit many in the department.  In addition, support for projects outside of the department could also potentially be increased.

Describe the broader impacts and benefits of this proposal

This project will directly impact undergraduate STEM education in mechanical engineering and mechanical engineering technology.  It will also impact graduate programs in mechanical engineering.  This proposal also supports the “MSU Strategic Plan”.  Specifically:

  • Objective L.2: Increase graduation rates at MSU
  • Objective D.2: Enhance infrastructure in support of research, discovery, and creative activities
  • Objective E.1: Strategically increase service, outreach, and engagement at MSU
  • Objective I.1: Increase the integration of learning, discovery and engagement
  • Objective A.1: Educate more students while maintaining the quality of programs
  • Objective S.1: Human Resources, Attract, develop and retain the best faculty and staff to achieve the MSU mission.

Implementation of this plan will help ensure that the facilities are available to accommodate the quality education expected from Montana State University Department of M&IE.

Implementation Plan

This plan will be implemented beginning in March of 2013 when faculty will contact approved suppliers and begin the process of ordering equipment.  In addition, a plan for equipment installation will be developed. The goal will to be to ensure that the equipment arrives in time to begin evaluation in May of 2013. 

 In May of 2013, the new equipment will be installed and tested.  Relevant faculty will be trained in use of the equipment. 

 In May 2013 through August 2013, the current course procedures will be tested on the machines and new, more efficient procedures developed.

 In August through December, the new course procedures will be implemented as part of the ETME 310 course.  Selected students will utilize the new machines, and faculty will assess the effectiveness of the specific learning outcomes for the lab activities.  These results will be compared to student results utilizing current machines and assessed for effectiveness.

 Finally, final assessment of this project will occur following the 2013 Fall semester.  Assessment will determine whether laboratory capacity and safety have been increased and if the needs of the students enrolled in the program are being met.  In addition, a comprehensive equipment replacement plan will be developed and prioritized for funding.

 Project Management Plan


Development Activity


1.   Place order for proposed equipment.  Suppliers will be contacted and P.O.’s   for new laboratory equipment will be generated and processed to ensure   delivery by 5/2013.

2.   Determination of required space.  Space requirements will be determined   and a space re-assignment plan developed.


3.   Implement revision to facilities.  Implement space revision plan and move   equipment. Schedule the needed facilities improvements.

4.   Installation of New Equipment New   equipment will be installed and tested.


5.   Training / Course Revision   Development.  Faculty will learn   operation and technical details of the new equipment.  Course will be revised, and new laboratory   exercises will be created.

6.   Evaluation Tool Development.  Faculty will develop an assessment matrix   to compare the effectiveness of the new equipment as related to meeting   course outcomes, saving student/machine time through use of simulation, and   ability to increase lab section sizes to accommodate growth.


1.   Course Implementation.  New procedures and lab activities will   be tested by students.


1.   Assessment.  Team will assess effectiveness of plan   implementation.

2. Evaluation of assessment data.  Team will evaluate success (based on   assessment data) and generate continuous improvement plan for lab and   computer facilities. In addition, a comprehensive equipment replacement plan   will be developed and prioritized for future funding.


Assessment Plan

Success of this project will be measured quantitatively through direct comparison of students in the lab sections.  One group will utilize the new equipment and 5 groups will utilize the conventional equipment.  Direct assessment will compare the effectiveness of the new equipment as related to meeting course outcomes.  In addition, time savings realized through use of simulation will be measures.  Ultimately, ability to increase lab section sizes to accommodate growth will be evaluated.

 Final assessment will determine whether laboratory capacity and safety have been increased and if the needs of the students enrolled in the program are being met.  Methodology to improve machine usage time will be documented to ensure other courses and individuals utilizing the machines can take advantage of the new methodologies, thus improving machine usage, reducing machine down-time, and increasing the amount of time available for our instructors to teach. 

To share these results with the broader engineering technology community, the project overview and final results will be submitted as a paper to the Journal of Engineering Technology (


If assessed objectives are not met in the timeframe outlined what is the plan to sunset this proposal?

If significant improvements in student training abilities, leading to the ability to more efficiently meet the needs of growing enrollment are not met with this project, alternative teaching methods will need to be considered.  The lab upgrade plan will not include replacement of current conventional machines with these particular dual-usage machines if expected outcomes are not met.

Department Head: Chris Jenkins (
Dean/Director: Brett Gunnink (
Executive/VP: Martha Potvin (