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Oakland University’s Industrial and Systems Engineering department offers undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs in industrial and systems engineering, engineering management, and systems engineering with a strong focus on Industry 4.0. Many working engineers enroll in their master’s programs since all graduate courses are offered in the evenings, with some also offered online.
Located in Rochester, Michigan, Oakland University is a public university whose School of Engineering and Computer Science is a major driver in the institution’s growing reputation. The school’s Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) department was founded in 2005 and features undergraduate, masters and doctorate level programs in industrial and systems engineering, engineering management, and systems engineering.
The ISE department became a Siemens Digital Industries Software academic partner in 2011. Since then, the department has integrated several tools from Siemens Digital Industries Software’s Tecnomatix® portfolio, including Plant Simulation, Jack™ software and Process Simulate Robotics as well as solutions from the Teamcenter® software portfolio, into undergraduate and graduate engineering courses. And the ISE department is currently integrating MindSphere® industrial IoT as a service solution from Siemens, along with Opcenter® suite into some courses.
Several ISE department graduates have secured full-time positions with well over a dozen companies working on various aspects of Industry 4.0, with approximately 10 of those companies hiring Oakland University students for their knowledge of Plant Simulation. Due to the use of Plant Simulation and other Siemens Digital Industries Software tools, the academic partnership program has helped Oakland University develop relationships with many companies who were previously unaware of the ISE department’s programs.
After using Plant Simulation in some existing courses, the ISE department found that many students, as well as the companies hiring its graduates, suggested the development of a new course that takes a deeper-dive into the use of the tool and its application. This led to the creation of a new half-semester course titled PLM Applications - Throughput Simulation. The course combines education with some training, teaching students to operate Plant Simulation and use the tool to complete various hands-on throughput simulation assignments.
With discrete event simulation of manufacturing and other systems becoming increasingly vital to industry, the course focuses on using Plant Simulation to build, run and analyze discrete event simulations of systems and to present the results. Students learn about the creation and usage of a digital twin to reduce risk and return value. The course covers requirements analysis, model creation, validation, and a “what if” analysis.
To better serve working engineers the course is offered in the evenings. Robert Van Til, Pawley professor and chair of the ISE department says, “A large percentage of students in our masters’ programs are full-time working engineers since all graduate courses are offered in the evenings. We also get working engineers taking this course as well as other PLM-related courses as non-degree students.”
Experiential learning allows students to take the concepts and techniques learned in the classroom and apply them to realworld problems in an industrial environment. Through the Plant Simulation internship program, Oakland University’s ISE students participate in experiential learning. The paid internship program consists of four parts:
Oakland University is considering expanding the Plant Simulation internship program into an Industry 4.0 internship program with the addition of internship opportunities that focus on ergonomics and robotics by using the Jack and Process Simulate Robotics tools, respectively. This should be relatively straightforward since the ISE department already offers handson courses on both Jack and Process Simulate Robotics.