When you imagined your classes at Auburn, you probably thought about the lectures you sat through, the notes you took (and didn’t take) and  the guy next to you who never failed to start snoring halfway through the class.

One thing that probably doesn’t come to mind is Legos.

But, the Samuel Ginn College of engineering is changing all of that.

Legos are now being used to design and build vehicles, at a rate of 70 cars per hour. In the new automotive manufacturing systems laboratory on the ground floor of Shelby Center, students are now learning the ins and outs of manufacturing. This process is meant to teach students about the manufacturing systems, requiring them to learn the interdependence of all elements, from material receipt to delivery.

Three different Lego vehicles are produced in the lab: a 278-piece speedster, a 254-piece SUV and a 231-piece Baja Car. It takes 18 students to run the lab, 15 for assembly and 3 for material delivery.

Through this process, students can predict maintenance that might be required, along with learning preventative methods for manufacturing. They are also taught to determine optimal inventory requirements, work in process and final assembly for the production line. Error-proofing strategies, as well as training and safety plans, can be learned through the lab as well.

So basically, students are encouraged to go and build Lego cars, while  learning the intricacies of automotive manufacturing. Now that’s my kind of assignment.




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