Development of a Project-based Plastic Injection Molding Course for Manufacturing Programs, Ready Kit, 100% Tested


Bradley University plays an important role in educating ABET accredited manufacturing engineers to major industries, such as Caterpillar or John Deere nearby. In recent years, our constituencies have voiced that plastics product design and injection molding process be considered key competences in our manufacturing curriculum. It’s always crucial and beneficial for plastics engineers to understand the whole picture of plastics product development, from the product conceptual design to the product validation. Therefore, the curriculum is structured around this goal with (1) seventeen lectures covering the fundamental theories of plastic materials, design principles such as design for manufacturing (DFM) and design for assembly (DFA), injection molding technologies, etc., (2) computer aided design (CAD), computer aided engineering (CAE), computer aided manufacturing (CAM), and injection molding lab sessions, and (3) hands-on four-module projects where students can apply the learned knowledge and go through each step of injection molded product development. The four-module project includes the injection molded plastic part design module, the Moldflow simulation module, the mold design and fabrication module, and the injection molding module. To enhance students’ communication, collaboration, and project management skills, 4-5 students, as one group, are required to complete the project that requires many different skills such as design, computer simulation, CNC machining, injection molding, etc. After a year of implementation, evidence demonstrates that the program effectively enhances students’ understanding and capability of plastic product development. By implementing this new curriculum, Bradley University has been able to have a higher impact on the career preparation of the students and the supply of trained plastics engineers to local industries. The presentation will illustrate the plastics injection molding curriculum and describe one of the successful four-module projects conducted based on the curriculum. The impact to students, industries, and the faculty will also be discussed.

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