Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering - Leading Process and Product Improvement


Research Laboratories

Health Systems Decision Support Laboratory
Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing Laboratory
Human Performance Institute
Plastics Laboratories
Precision Motion Control

Research and Training Capabilities

The IME Department is involved in a variety of research and training activities. The following is an overview of the areas that research teams work in, with some faculty members participating in more than one research area. The descriptions that follow present many of the areas of expertise that IME faculty have:
Ergonomic Evaluation, Analysis & Design includes product comparison, workstation evaluation and design, and training (reduction of injuries/lost time). Analysis is available through pressure mapping, kinematics, energy, and biomechanics. Work Analysis develops performance measurements, time standards, and utilizations: Time Study Analysis, Work Sampling, and Video Sampling. (Tycho Fredericks and Steve Butt)
Human/Robot Interaction explores artificial intelligence in manufacturing operations and remote process improvement. (Pavel Ikonomov and Alamgir Choudhury)
Organizational System Performance Improvement uses measurement of organizational variables and processes targeted toward outcomes of improved working conditions, and organizational culture change. (Larry Mallak and David Lyth)
Workplace Communication Enhancement helps engineers and technologists improve their work quality through written documentation, oral/visual presentation skills, researching strategies, and context and audience knowledge. (Tom Swartz, Betsy Aller, Jerrie Fiala and Troy Place) 
Engineering Economy and Capital Budgeting principles are used to achieve optimum allocation and deployment of resources. (Bob White)
Stochastic Discrete Event Simulation (SDES) is used to look at a manufacturing, scheduling, or materials handling system and ask "what-if": What if there were changes in the number of lines, operators, types of equipment, or delivery schedule? What impact do changes have on throughput, on resource utilization? (Azim Houshyar and Steve Butt)
Reliability Engineering employs estimation from design, field, and test data includes: writing and analyzing failure scoring documents used to evaluate the Reliability and Maintainability (R&M) of military equipment, test planning and analysis; and participation in design reviews for R&M improvement. Industrial short courses are available. (Leonard Lamberson and Azim Houshyar)
The Center for Integrated Design (CID) is dedicated to Virtual Engineering (VE) focusing on Reverse Engineering (RE), rapid prototyping and Virtual Reality (VR). Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Analysis (CAA) are applied to parametric machine design (all major integrated packages available) . Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is utilized in biomechanics, shape optimization, optimal design of kinematic systems, dynamic modeling, and crack propagation modeling. Virtual Manufacturing and Assembly (VM&A) may be applied all the way through nano-assembly. (Mitchel Keil, Jorge Rodriguez, Alamgir Choudhury and Pavel Ikonomov)
Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) are applied to improve productivity and product quality. The design and analysis of advanced manufacturing systems (AMS) to reduce problems with work-in-process (WIP), lead time, capacity, queuing. (Tarun Gupta and Pavel Ikonomov)
Dimensional Metrology methods are used to evaluate parts and tooling for precision, accuracy, surface finish, capability, and tolerance modeling. The ATOS II high-resolution digital scanning system allows precise volumetric scanning for dimensional verification. Training is offered in part and process verification through the application of quality management systems and ISO 9000. (Fred Sitkins, Mitchel Keil and David Lyth)
High performance Cast Metal Design uses the four major solidification software packages, advancement of non-traditional casting processes, and thermal distortion testing of a variety of bonded mold materials (sands, ceramics, etc.). (Sam Ramrattan)
Plastics Process Improvement includes mold and tooling design, polymer flow analysis, mold cooling optimization and process analysis. Process design and validation for use of post-industrial and post-consumer recycled plastics by injection molding and extrusion. (Paul Engelmann and Jay Shoemaker)


The IME Department has a complete set of state-of-the-industry laboratories including the following:

The Center for Integrated Design
The Moldflow Center of Design Excellence
Plastics Processing
Process Evaluation
Metal Casting
Dimensional Metrology
Computer Controlled Manufacturing
Fabrication and Assembly
Automotive Systems
Engineering Management Research Laboratory
Human Performance Institute

The IME Department also has shared responsibilities for:

College Machine Shop
Student Project/Vehicle Design Laboratory

For More Information

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Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5336 USA
(269) 276-3350 | (269) 276-3353 Fax

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