With funding from the Faculty Fund for Excellence in Ogden College/Hard Sciences, students enrolled in ME 497: Advanced CNC Machining toured two Kentucky manufacturing facilities. This course is a technical elective in the WKU Mechanical Engineering Program taught by Joel Lenoir, PE, and focuses on advanced manufacturing techniques in the area of computer numerical control (CNC) with particular emphasis on the engineering principles in the design of parts and processes.
After an intense three weeks of classroom work and prototype development on the CNC equipment in the engineering department, on June 7-8, 2017 the class took an overnight trip to visit two important facilities.
Mazak Corp. is a world-class manufacturer of high-end CNC machines, located in Florence KY. Students were able to see a wide range of large-scale CNC machines making other CNC machines. The robotic tool transport systems were popular since students are familiar with manually loading and transporting tools in the WKU shop.
The group traveled south to Lexington the next day for a tour of Blue Grass Manufacturing Co (BGMC), a contract manufacturer and CNC shop that makes parts and products for companies in Kentucky and across the country. The students were able to see components being fabricated for Caterpillar, Big Ass Fans, Trane, and other multinational corporations. The company generously provided an extended tour, where BGMC's president featured the CNC systems spread throughout the facility. The students (and faculty/staff members as well) were engaged every minute, seeing various applications they had discussed in class.
The trip included a Cincinnati Reds baseball game at the Great American Ball Park. For many of the students, this was their first time to experience a professional baseball game in person, and the Reds won in an exciting finish.