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Posted by: 20. December 2013

Students Cast for a Better Understanding of Part Processing

 

How manufacturing processes are interrelated is an important lesson for students pursuing their preparation for careers in manufacturing engineering. Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, teaches this vital connection by linking the quality of CNC programming with parts cast in machined dies.

Students studying for an Engineering Technology degree have the opportunity to gain this insight by going beyond traditional metalworking curricula to explore the process of metal casting. Following a course in manual machining, they are introduced to automated machining where they have access to forty seats of Mastercam for programming CNC machine tools, such as milling centers and an abrasive water jet cutting system. According to Assistant Professor Jacob Lehman, after the students learn programming for 2D work for the CNC mills and waterjet system, they get into the more complex programming of 3D tool paths for the tooling used in PSU’s metal casting program.

This metal casting program is nationally known for its quality. In fact, every spring, PSU hosts the Investment Casting Institute’s International Training Session for industry certification. The program offers experience with multiple ways to melt metal, including resistance electric, gas fired and induction furnaces. Mr. Lehman says that using Mastercam software results in precise tool paths needed to take advantage of the benefits of investment castings. For example, these tool paths enable intricate forms with undercuts to be cast. Likewise; a very smooth surface on the cast part reflects the superior finish that results from smooth milling passes. Precise tool paths ensure that there is no parting line, and the dimensions of the cast part will be highly accurate.

PSU has a record of placing 100 percent of the students completing the Engineering Technology program. The school reports that these students go on to great jobs in the metal casting industry, as well as in manufacturing companies of all sizes. According to Mr. Lehman, this program, which includes training in Mastercam for CNC programming, fosters a good work ethic and gives the students the tools they need to succeed in automated manufacturing.

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