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MEng Mechanical Engineering with Industrial Experience

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Manufacturing Systems

Course unit fact file
Unit code MECH42071
Credit rating 15
Unit level Level 7
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


"Manufacturing Systems” describes the underlying organisation of the production of goods within an enterprise (company). In essence this involves the processing of incoming orders and the scheduling and allocation of the resources (people and machines) that are required to transform these orders into products of an agreed quality against an agreed delivery deadline. The number and nature of the particular transformations depend on the product being manufactured and may involve assembly, batch production or continuous manufacture. These in turn influence the layout of the manufacturing plant.

The unit provides a grounding in the more analytical aspects of the operation of manufacturing systems for students who have worked in industry while at the same time providing details of industrial practice (including a company visit) to those who have no direct industrial experience.

This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 20/21 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates


For students to gain detailed knowledge and understanding of the design and the operations typically performed by modern, advanced and integrated manufacturing systems, how the systems operate, the principles on which their operations are based, and their evolution from earlier systems that simply transformed materials, through the development of the smart factory, to the realisation of Industry 4.0 and beyond.

For students to acquire an ability to quantify the behaviour of key elements of such systems; the ability to model and simulate systems as a whole; an awareness of the generic aspects of simulation tools and an understanding of the key quantitative elements of the operation and management of engineering companies involved in manufacturing.


Introduction to and Overview of Manufacturing Systems (1 hour)
Definitions and usage of terms including enterprise, systems, sequencing, scheduling, connectivity, plant layout, product quality, Operations Research (OR), efficiency. The distinction between manufacture-related procedures such as Computer Integrated Manufacture (CIM) and product-related procedures such as Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). Design as a market-led realisation of a product that matches its functionality with the materials of construction, the method of (sustainable) manufacture and its end-of-life disposal.

Computer Integrated Manufacture (17 hours)
Manufacture as a transformation, Manufacture as a transaction. Assembly and batch manufacture. The operation of an enterprise by means of process maps, each representing the flow of information and materials by a sequence of related tasks each, of which has allocated resources (people and machines), a prescribed duration and the means of starting and stopping. The identification of process maps as the basis of ERP architecture. Development of MRP, MRPII, JIT and their link to process planning. Plant layout. Toyota Production System (TPS) as practiced in the engine plant at Deeside.

Smart Manufacture and Industry 4.0 (6 hours)
“Smart” manufacture is based on feedback from sensors that are attached to or integrated within shop-floor equipment such as machining centres, lathes, milling machines, etc. Sensors also include RFID tags that can be attached directly to work-pieces or to the work-piece carriers. These allow for flexible (adaptive) manufacture as used at Jaguar Land Rover in Halewood, rather than the traditional “manufacture by campaign”. Sensors require extensive connectivity (sensor to sensor, sensor to work-station) within and between factories and allow remote monitoring of machines leading to self-diagnostics using “Big Data” analysis. Industry 4.0 including the mechanics of web connectivity, applications, scope and implementation. Illustrations of the Boston Consulting Group’s 9 pillars of Industry 4.0. Bespoke manufacture via 3D printing.
Operations Management (6 hours)
Decision Making based on risk analysis, Scheduling, Forecasting, Inventory Management, Linear Programming and Optimisation, Discrete Event Simulation, Waiting Lines and Queues. Applications of OM techniques to real manufacture.
Simulation (3 hours)
Simulation with Rockwell® Arena. Stochastic and deterministic models. Central limit theorem and replications. Introductory statistics on confidence levels, confidence intervals and significance levels. Student t-distributions.
Quality Control and Quality Assurance (3 hours)
The contribution of Walter Shewhart – systematic and chance variation in manufacture and the subsequent development of control charts. Quality Control and Quality Assurance (ISO 9xxx) and the influence of the latter on manufacture.
Individual Exercise (Process Metrics and Downtime Analysis)
This (common) exercise is given to the students in week 3 of the course. It involves an analysis of the process metrics of milling machine. The students have to analyse a data set which is supplied in the form of a MS Excel file. Based on the analysis, a full report has to written about the efficiency, down time, histogram and a Pareto analysis of the down times which have different lengths and different causes. 
Group Exercise (Enterprise Role Playing Project)
In this exercise groups of students represent different enterprises each charged with the manufacture of a particular product. Group membership and the identification of products are established in Week 2. Within a group each student takes on a particular role within the enterprise (design, purchasing, scheduling, manufacturing, etc.) and, using quantitative information gleaned from the liter

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 80%
Report 20%

Feedback methods

 On-going in lectures.

Student queries responded to by email within 24h.

Queries on individual and group projects responded to in class and/or by email within 24h

Marked project submission returned before the end of the semester.

Contributions discussed and a general solution provided in class during week 12.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
eAssessment 20
Lectures 36
Project supervision 30
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 54

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Otto Jan Bakker Unit coordinator

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