Manufacturing Engineering


R. D. Sisson Jr., George F. Fuller Professor; Director, Manufacturing and Materials Engineering; Ph.D., Purdue University. Materials process modeling and control, manufacturing engineering, corrosion, and environmental effects on metals and ceramics.

Y. K. Rong, John Woodman Higgins Professor; Associate Director, Manufacturing and Materials Engineering; Ph.D., University of Kentucky. CAD/CAM, manufacturing process and systems.

D. Apelian, Howmet Professor of Engineering; Director, Metal Processing Institute; Sc.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Solidification processing, spray casting, molten metal processing, aluminum foundry processing, plasma processing, and knowledge engineering in materials processing.

I. Bar-On, Professor; Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Mechanical behavior of materials, fracture and fatigue of metals, ceramics and composites, reliability and lie prediction, and electronic packaging.

C. A. Brown, Professor; Director, Surface Metrology Lab; Director, Haas Technical Center; Ph.D., P.E., University of Vermont. Surface metrology, machining, fractal analysis, sports engineering, tribology, axiomatic design and abrasive processes.

Mustapha S. Fofana, Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Waterloo, Canada, 1993; Nonlinear chatter dynamics, delay systems, CAD/CAM, CIM/Networked manufacturing systems.

S. A. Johnson, Associate Professor and Director of Industrial Engineering; Ph.D.,Cornell University

M. M. Makhlouf, Professor; Director, Aluminum Casting Research Laboratory; Ph.D., WPI. Solidification of Metals, the application of heat, mass and momentum transfer to modeling and solving engineering materials problems, and processing of ceramic materials.

D. Strong, Professor of Management; Ph.D., Carnegie-Mellon University; Director of the Management Information Systems (MIS) Program; MIS and work flows, data integration and role changes; MIS quality issues, data and information quality.

J. M. Sullivan Jr., Professor of Mechanical Engineering; D.E., Dartmouth College

B. Tulu, Assistant Professor of Management, Ph.D. Claremont Graduate University, medical informatics, information security, telemedicine, personal health records, systems analysis and design

A. Zeng, Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering; Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University

Faculty Research Interests

Current research areas include tolerance analysis, CAD/CAM, production systems analysis, machining, fixturing, delayed dynamical systems, nonlinear chatter, surface metrology, fractal analysis, surface functionality, metals processing and manufacturing management, axiomatic design, and abrasive processes, electronic medical records, lean in health care and health dynamics.

Programs of Study

The Manufacturing Engineering (MFE) Program offers two graduate degrees: the master of science and the doctor of philosophy. Full- and part-time study is available.

The graduate programs in manufacturing engineering provide opportunities for students to study current manufacturing techniques while allowing each student the flexibility to customize their educational program. Course material and research activities often draw from the traditional fields of computer science, controls engineering, electrical and computer engineering, environmental engineering, industrial engineering, materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering, and management. The program’s intention is to build a solid and broad foundation in manufacturing theories and practices, and allow for further concentrated study in a selected specialty.

Admission Requirements

Candidates for admission must meet WPI’s requirements and should have a bachelor’s degree in science, engineering, or management, preferably in such fields as computer science/engineering, electrical/ control engineering, industrial engineering, environmental engineering, manufacturing engineering, materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering, or management. Students with other backgrounds will be considered based on their interest, formal education and experience in manufacturing.

Degree Requirements

For the M.S.

The Manufacturing Engineering (MFE) program is intended to be flexible in order to meet student needs. Many MFE graduate students work full time as engineers, others are graduate teaching and research assistants. Some of the courses are offered in the evenings.

The M.S. Degree in MFE requires 30 credit hours of graduate studies. The 30 credits consist of a minimum of 12 credit hours of coursework, plus 18 credit hours of any combination of coursework, independent study, directed research or thesis that complies with the following constraints: if there is a thesis, it must at least 6 and no more than 12 credits; there can be no more than 9 credits of directed research; and the total number of credits from the Management Department cannot exceed 14.

The minimum of 12 credit hours of coursework must include a minimum of two credits each in at least four of the eight core areas. The coursework should be selected in consultation with an advisor from the MFE faculty. All full-time students are required to participate in the non-credit seminar course MFE 500.

The eight core areas, and corresponding suggested courses that students can select from to fulfill the requirements in each of these areas, are listed below. Courses that appear in more than one core area can only be used to fulfill the requirements in one.

  1. Manufacturing Systems
    1.1. MFE 530 Computer Integrated Manufacturing
    1.2. OIE 544 Supply Chain Analysis and Design
    1.3. OIE 548 Productivity Management
    1.4. OIE 555 Lean Process Design
    1.5. MIS 573 System Design and Development
    1.6. MIS 574 Enterprise Systems
  2. Manufacturing Processes
    2.1. MFE 520 Design and analysis of Manufacturing Processes
    2.2. MFE 511 Industrial Robotics
    Or any graduate Manufacturing Engineering or Materials Science and Engineering course on a manufacturing process
  3. Control Systems
    3.1. MFE 510 Control and Monitoring of Manufacturing Processes
    3.2. MFE 511 Industrial Robotics
    Or any graduate course in the Dynamics and Controls section of Mechanical Engineering
  4. Design
    4.1. MFE 540 Design for Manufacturability
    4.2. MFE 520 Design and Analysis of Manufacturing Processes
    4.3. ME 545 Computer-aided Design and Geometric Modeling
  5. Materials
    Any graduate course in Materials Science and Engineering
  6. Financial Processes
    6.1. ACC 501 Financial Accounting
    6.2. FIN 502 Finance
    6.3. FIN 508 Economics of the Firm
    6.4. FIN 509 Domestic and Global Economic Environment of Business
    6.5. ACC 514 Business Analysis for Technological Managers (prerequisites: ACC 501, FIN 502, OIE 505, MKT 506 and FIN 508)
  7. Statistics and Quality Assurance
    7.1. OIE 505 Quantitative Methods
    7.2. MKT 506 Principles of Marketing
    7.3. OIE 558 Designing and Managing Six-Sigma Processes
    Or any graduate Mathematical Sciences course on statistics
  8. Health Systems Engineering
    MIS 571. Database Applications Development
    MIS 579 E-Business Applications
    OIE 541 Operations Risk Management
    SD 550 Foundation: Managing Complexity
    SD 551 Modeling and Experimental Analysis of Complex Problems
    CS 505 Social Implications of Computing
    BME 560 Physiology for Engineers

    Suggested courses from other cores:
    MIS 573 System Design and Development can be taken as part of Manufacturing Systems
    MIS 574 Enterprise Systems can be taken as part of Manufacturing Systems
    OIE 555 Lean Process Design can be taken as part of Manufacturing Systems
    MFE 520 Design and Analysis of Manufacturing Processes can be taken as part of Design
    OIE Quantitative Methods can be taken as part of Statistics and Quality
    OIE Designing and Managing Six-Sigma Processes can be taken as part of Statistics and Quality
    A course taken from the Financial Processes core

For the Ph.D.

The doctoral (Ph.D.) program in MFE is a research degree with no required courses. All candidates must pass a comprehensive exam which is based on the material in four of the eight core areas required for the M.S. degree in MFE. All candidates must complete at least one year in residence, have a dissertation proposal accepted, then complete the dissertation and defend it successfully.

The dissertation is based on original and, generally, externally sponsored research. A broad range of research topics is possible, including investigation into the fundamental science on which manufacturing processes are based, material science, manufacturing engineering education, metrology, quality, machine tool dynamics, manufacturing processes, design methodology and production systems, and health systems research.

MFE Seminar

Seminar speakers include WPI faculty and students as well as manufacturing experts and scholars from around the world. Registration for, attendance at and participation in the seminar course, MFE 500, is required for full-time students. The seminar series provides a common forum for all students to discuss current issues in manufacturing engineering.

      Research Facilities and Laboratories

      The program has access to extensive research facilities through the Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) Lab, the HAAS Technical Center, the Production and Machine Dynamics Lab, the Robotics Lab and the Surface Metrology Lab.

      Metal Processing Institute (MPI)

      The Metal Processing Institute (MPI) is an industry-university alliance. Its mission is to design and carry out research projects identified in collaboration with MPI’s industrial partners in the field of near and net shape manufacturing. MPI creates knowledge that will help enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the metal processing industry, and develops the industry’s human resource base through the education of WPI students and the dissemination of new knowledge. More than 120 private manufacturers participate in the Institute, and their support helps fund fundamental and applied research that addresses technological barriers facing the industry. The MPI researchers also develop and demonstrate best practices and state-of-the-art processing techniques.

      Center for eHealth Innovation and Process Transformation (CeHIPT)

      The Center for eHealth Innovation and Process Transformation is an interdisciplinary center involving faculty from the Management and Mechanical Engineering Departments. The goal of the center is to use and expand engineering and management information systems knowledge to improve health care delivery using lean manufacturing, quality improvement, and systems design approaches. The center team studies health care delivery innovations and the dynamics of change as related to the implementation and use of electronic medical records, telemedicine, lean processes, and personal health records.

      The CAM Lab includes several UNIX and PC-based engineering graphics workstations used for CAD, solid modeling, kinematic analysis, FEA, CIM and expert system development, and a number of computers set up for data acquisition and real-time control. The lab has been developing techniques and systems for process (machining and heat treatment) modeling and simulation, production planning, tolerance analysis, and fixture design.

      The HAAS Technical Center at WPI, supported in partnership with HAAS Automation (Oxnard, California), includes eleven CNC machine tools and four simulators, linked to the Web, and eight workstations in the manufacturing design studio. The center supports teaching and research on computer-controlled machining, as well as the fabrication of equipment for projects and research. The machines are selected to accommodate a wide variety of applications and include two vertical machining centers and a lathe with live tooling, as well as smaller lathes and mills.

      The Production and Machine Dynamics Lab uses a variety of techniques, including innovative computerized modeling and computer-controlled data acquisition, to understand the vibrations that occur during machining, which limit productivity and part quality.

      The Robotics Lab equipment includes a number of industrial robots set up for deburring, welding, assembly and metrology; a Coordinate Measurement Machine (CMM) with data acquisition and GD&T software; a machining area with CNC machine tools; and a range of specialized automation equipment interfaced to PLCs.

      The Surface Metrology Lab has two scanning laser microscopes as well as conventional profilers. The lab has developed new texture measurement techniques and analysis methods and has pioneered the development of application of scale-sensitive fractal analysis, to study how surface texture, or roughness, influences behavior and how surface texture is influenced by manufacturing processes, wear, fracture, disease, growth and corrosion. The Surface Metrology Lab collaborates with labs in the United States, Canada, Europe and Chile on projects including food science, skin, pavement friction, hard drive stiction, abrasive finishing, adhesion, and more.

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