The capstone of the MEng degree is a three-month group project in a manufacturing company. These projects – done in groups of three students per site – form the basis of the thesis portion of the degree. Students work on-site under the supervision of an MIT faculty member typically solving near-term problems for their company.
A number of companies propose the projects in late fall and a selection process matches students with their project and MIT faculty advisors. Students begin their initial work at each company site in January followed by once-weekly meetings during the spring semester. From late May until mid-August the groups work on-site full-time to complete their projects. Students document his or her full contribution to the project thesis, which is submitted to their MIT advisor for approval.
Recent Project Examples
Supply Chain Planning in Semiconductor Manufacturing
The team mapped out its current planning framework, including demand management, capacity planning, and material planning. After identifying the challenges faced in the current framework, the team proposed the framework for managing demand, capacity, and material planning in terms of strategic, tactical, and operational planning.
Template Modeling for Control Assembly
The final assembly of ion implantation equipment must take place in a clean room. To reduce the time and expense of this assembly, the team developed a novel alignment system that can obviate in-plant assembly and allowed the equipment supplier to assemble on the customer site. This greatly reduces both the time and expense of assembly and save considerable clean room capacity.
Continuous Micro Contact Printing
In this project the conventional printing process of flexography was combined with the soft-lithographic process of micro contact printing for resist application. A prototype system was constructed and the basic limits of process speed and quality were explored. Based on this work, the company can continue the path to commercialization of this novel process.
Wash Cycle Improvement in High Performance Circuit Board Production
This project sought to Identify root causes of flux residue presence underneath critical high performance circuit components. It combined board architectural design-related issues and investigates alternative washing methods. It then recommended a new washing strategy and equipment to greatly reduce board failures.
Improved Back End Processing for Polymer Solar Cells
This project, which was located an a medium stage start-up company, involved modeling the manufacturing system for material resource planning and yield tracking. It developed a scan-code based inventory tracking system and created a time study for future production need. It also identified the existing bottlenecks and suggested changes to improve throughput, yield and reliability of the processes
Quality Improvements for a Diagnostic Fluidic Device
Working with a local microfluidics start up company, this team looked at a number of issues related to scale up to mass production. It identified opportunities for quality control improvement, and also studied certain critical processes to allow for prediction of expected behavior once at scale.
Reduce the Cycle Time in Ion Implanter Manufacturing
This team was asked to increase the capacity of a complex assembly line to responded to high demand without significant capital investment. Through the use of value stream mapping, they eliminated non value-adding steps, reduced WIP and added an analytical system for decisions making