Real world problems are brought to the classroom for students in Mott Community College’s Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CADD) program. Students in Dennis Hughes’ CADD class worked on a ‘real world’ problem for the GM Flint Engine Plant that had electronics and mechanical design students working together.
General Motors presented students in the CADD 205 and Electrical 235 classes with a current problem in its High Feature V6 engine crankshaft. According to Kevin Holt, Controls Engineering Supervisor at the General Motors Flint Engine Operations, “A recent production concern had led the class to design an automated fixture to detect the presence of balance holes in the crankshaft. The additional constraints of project budget, functional space and product selection were included in the scope of the project.”
“This project allowed students to work in a team environment to develop a solution,” Holt explained. “Having the electrical students work with the mechanical students simulated our engineering environment. We could see that each student had their role in the success of their design. The teams had to react to suppliers not responding in a timely fashion or ideas that were proved to be not viable.”
”In the end,” Holt stated,”each team was able to develop a solution for us. We were able to review the proposals and feel that several are viable solutions that General Motors could incorporate.”
According to Professor Hughes, “Students who worked on the project were able to step into the GM facility without missing a beat because our labs at Mott College are like the real world. They give students an opportunity to experience an actual work environment like the GM plant.”
Job prospects in the CADD field have never been better, in part because a number of workers left the industry during the last manufacturing downturn. Many companies in Michigan project that as many as 70% of their design staff may be eligible for retirement, according to Hughes.