Mott, R., Jack, H., “The Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge Model - Illustrations of Mapping Curricula into the Model”, Atlanta, GA, June 2013.
The Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge Model - Illustrations of Mapping Curricula into the Model
The Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge was created in 2011 by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers through its Center for Education and the SME Manufacturing Education & Research community. It is designed to illustrate the full breadth of the manufacturing engineering field on one page and to be used as a tool for educators and industry professionals to describe the field. (Figure 1 and Reference 1)
Figure 1 shows the basic layout of the Four Pillars model using the image of a building structure for which the top (roof) part represents a product producing enterprise. The lintel below the roof shows themes that pervade the manufacturing engineering field such as customer focus, quality and continuous improvement, manufacturing processes, product design, process design, laboratories, and many others. Below the lintel are the four pillars whose labels are taken from the program criteria for ABET accreditation of manufacturing engineering and manufacturing engineering technology programs. (Reference 2) These are:
Materials and manufacturing processes: understanding the behavior and properties of materials as they are altered and influenced by processing in manufacturing
Product, tooling, and assembly engineering: understanding the design of products and the equipment, tooling, and environment necessary for their manufacture
Manufacturing systems and operations: understanding the creation of competitive advantage through manufacturing planning, strategy, and control
Manufacturing competitiveness: understanding the analysis, synthesis, and control of manufacturing operations using statistical methods, simulation and information technology
Next comes two parts of the foundation of the field - mathematics & science and personal effectiveness with some detail on the topics included within them.
On the lower part of the model there are ten categories of topics that make up the field:
Engineering Product Design Production Quality and Continuous
Sciences System Design Improvement
Materials Process Design Automation and Manufacturing
Manufacturing Equipment and Processes Tool Design
Within these ten categories are listed the numerous specific topics included in each. These topics are taken from the Body of Knowledge for Certification of Manufacturing Engineers and Technologists, produced by the SME Certification Committee. (Reference 3)
Among the many prospective uses for the Four Pillars model, this paper focuses on its use as a means of mapping a variety of academic curricula to the model to show the specific emphases of the program. While the model was intended primarily for manufacturing named programs, it can also be used by others to illustrate the content of the entire field of manufacturing and to help decide what parts of the manufacturing field are appropriate for inclusion in any given curriculum. It is well known that graduates from many different types of academic programs find productive careers in the manufacturing engineering function of product-producing industries. All should have at least an awareness-level comprehension of the entire field.
Types of Programs Illustrated in this paper
The process of mapping curricula into the Four Pillars model is illustrated with four different types of academic programs:
1. Four-year bachelor degree in manufacturing engineering (Figure 2)
2. Four-year bachelor degree in manufacturing engineering technology (Figure 3)
3. Two-year associate degree in lean manufacturing and supply chain management (Figure 4)
4. Four-year bachelor degree in mechanical engineering technology (Figure 5)
A spreadsheet format is used to perform the mapping, taken from Reference 4, a major report on manufacturing education called, Curricula 2015 - A Four Year Strategic Plan for Manufacturing Education, produced in 2011 by the SME Manufacturing Education & Research community.
Across the top of the spreadsheet are the foundation areas of Mathematics & Sciences and Personal Effectiveness, the ten general categories of topics in the manufacturing engineering field described above, and two additional columns for Customer Focus and Laboratories. Along the left side of the spreadsheet are the listings of the courses that make up the given curriculum. Entries in the cells of the table show the number of credit hours for those courses, aligned with the topics along the top. In some cases, the numbers of credit hours are separated into two or more parts to illustrate that a given course can address more than one topic from the body of knowledge. For the Customer Focus and Laboratories topics, the symbol “Y” indicates that course content has applicability to those overall thrusts of the manufacturing field.
Future Plans for Disseminating the Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge
The Society of Manufacturing Engineers has long been at the forefront of supporting manufacturing education and developing the ways and means of continuously improving curricula and methods of delivering quality programs in this field. One recent publication is a white paper (Reference 5) released by SME nationally on September 10, 2012 that summarizes the importance of manufacturing in the United States and that presents six recommendations for actions by educators, industry, professional organizations, and government to:
1. Attract more students into manufacturing by promoting the availability of creative, high-tech jobs and giving students a strong STEM foundation.
2. Articulate a standard core of manufacturing knowledge to guide the accreditation of manufacturing programs and certification of individuals.
3. Improve the consistency and quality of manufacturing curricula to better prepare students for manufacturing employment.
4. Integrate manufacturing topics into STEM education, so that more students are exposed to manufacturing concepts.
5. Develop faculty that can deliver a world-class manufacturing education in spite of a growing number of challenges.
6. Strategically deploy existing and new resources into STEM and manufacturing education programs.
It is hoped that the Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge, this paper, and the accompanying poster shown at the 2013 ASEE Annual Conference offer guidance for curriculum designers from many kinds of academic programs that pertain to the manufacturing field on how to include key topics from that field. Figure 6 is an alternate form for the Four Pillars graphic that shows only the major headings for the parts of the model.
Society of Manufacturing Engineers, 2011, “Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge.“ [Available for download at www.sme.org/fourpillars ]
ABET, Inc., 2012, “Accreditation Standards and Program Criteria for Manufacturing Engineering and Similarly Named Programs.” Washington, D.C.: ABET, Inc. [Available for download at http://abet.org/engineering-criteria-2012-2013/]
Society of Manufacturing Engineers, 2010. “Certified Manufacturing Engineering Technologist and Certified Manufacturing Engineer - Body of Knowledge.” Dearborn, MI: Society of Manufacturing Engineers. [Available for download at http://www.sme.org]
Society of Manufacturing Engineers, 2011. “Curricula 2015 - A Four Year Strategic Plan for Manufacturing Education.” Dearborn, MI: Society of Manufacturing Engineers. [Available for download at http://www.C2015.com]
Society of Manufacturing Engineers, 2012. “Workforce Imperative: A Manufacturing Education Strategy.” Dearborn, MI: Society of Manufacturing Engineers. [Available for download at sme.org/workforceimperative]
Figure 1. Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge
Figure 2A. Mapping a Four Year BS in Manufacturing Engineering Program to the Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge - First two years
Figure 2B. Mapping a Four Year BS in Manufacturing Engineering Program to the Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge - Last two years
Figure 3A. Mapping a Four Year BSET in Manufacturing Engineering Technology Program to the Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge - First two years
Figure 3B. Mapping a Four Year BSET in Manufacturing Engineering Technology Program to the Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge - Last two years
Figure 4. Mapping a Two Year ASET in Manufacturing Engineering Technology Program to the Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge
Figure 5A. Mapping a Four Year BSET in Mechanical Engineering Technology Program to the Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge - First two years
Figure 5B. Mapping a Four Year BSET in Mechanical Engineering Technology Program to the Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge - Last two years
Figure 6 - The Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge - Showing Only the Major Categories