Manufacturing is the creation of a product through the use of tools, machinery and labor. Though a great deal of manufacturing is done solely in the machine shop, plastic (polymer based) products require a different sort of machinery. The MEM department has machines for thermoforming, injection molding, and rapid prototyping. Thermoforming is when a plastic sheet of material is heated and applied to a mold so that it takes its shape when cooled. The MEM thermoforming machine is shown in the image below.
Injection molding is a process where liquid plastic is forcefully inserted into a metal mold, cools and takes on the shape of the cavity of the mold. The MEM injection molding machine is shown in the picture below.
Rapid prototyping is a process in which a product is created by adding material in a precise and organized manner. Some rapid prototyping processes include 3D-printing, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), StereoLithography (SLA), and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). The MEM department has an FDM machine that is used to create small plastic objects such as the ones displayed in the photo below.
Though not owned by the MEM department, there is also a brand new color 3D-printer located in Wilbur Power House which is available for student use. Students use many of these manufacturing machines in the junior Manufacturing course (ME 240) or in Integrated Product Development (ME 211).
Room: Packard 274
Staff Contact: Eli Towne (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Associated Courses: ME 240