NSF Funds Computer Integrated Mfg. Lab at Southwest Missouri State University

NSF Funds Computer Integrated Mfg. Lab at Southwest Missouri State University

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded SMSU a grant for the purpose of developing a state-of-the-art Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) Laboratory.

The Department of Industrial Management will receive over $300,000 in software and equipment during 2003-04 to implement what is expected to be the most advanced such laboratory in the region.

The purpose of this project is to develop a laboratory that emulates a modern manufacturing facility including industrial robots, CNC Machines, conveyors, and other advanced manufacturing technologies. The machines will be integrated so raw material will go into the CIM and come out as a finished product without any human intervention. When the laboratory is complete, students in other locations will even be able to operate the laboratory remotely over the Internet or collect production data in real time.

As foreign competition increases highly automated factories are becoming a necessity to compete with cheap labor overseas.

Local companies such as GE and Northstar Battery have invested heavily in industrial automation such as robots to remain competitive.

While the demand for low skilled positions in manufacturing continues to decrease, the need for employees with knowledge of technical systems is promising. Students seeking an Industrial Management degree at SMSU will be exposed to technical and management systems found in modem manufacturing and represented by the new CIM Laboratory.

Drs. Shawn Strong, Neal Callahan, and Scott Amos of the Industrial Management Department are primary investigators on this project.

Copyright MACI, Inc. Feb 01, 2004

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