Fundamentals of Manufacturing Processes

Study the processes used to manufacture products ranging from toys to smartphones, and learn fundamental principles and practical considerations that enable production at scale.

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36,855 already enrolled! After a course session ends, it will be archived.
Starts Jul 6
Ends Sep 28
Estimated 12 weeks
4–6 hours per week
Instructor-led on a course schedule

About this course

Skip About this course

Have you wondered how something was manufactured? Do you want to learn what it takes to turn your design into a finished product at scale? This course introduces a wide range of manufacturing processes including machining, injection molding, casing, and 3D printing; and explains the fundamental and practical aspects of manufacturing at scale.

For each process, 2.008x explains the underlying physical principles, provides several examples and demonstrations, and summarizes design for manufacturing principles. Modules are also included on cost estimation, quality and variation, and sustainability. New content added in 2020 includes multimedia examinations of product disassembly and select updated lecture videos. Together, the content will enable you to design a manufacturing process for a multi-part product, make quantitative estimates of cost and throughput, and recognize important constraints and tradeoffs in manufacturing processes and systems. The course concludes with a perspective on sustainability, digitization, and the worldwide trajectory of manufacturing.

At a glance

  • Institution: MITx
  • Subject: Engineering
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prerequisites:
    • secondary school (high school) math and physics
    • Calculus I
    • knowledge or willingness to simultaneously study basic principles of mechanics of material, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and heat transfer
  • Language: English

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Manufacturing processes in detail: machining, injection molding, casting, thermoforming, sheet metal forming, 3D printing, electronics assembly, and more.
  • Overarching principles: rate, quality, cost, flexibility, sustainability.
  • Design for manufacturing principles, how to plan a multi-step manufacturing process, and important life-cycle considerations of mass-produced products.

Week 1: Introduction and Process Planning
An introduction to the scope and significance of manufacturing worldwide, followed by an overview of the structure of 2.008x and highlights of key topics. Then, a framework is presented for planning manufacturing processes, and for evaluating process performance based on four key attributes.

Week 2: Machining
This module describes machining, the most common process of material removal. Chapters address the mechanics of material deformation, estimates of material removal rate and cutting forces, practical aspects of turning and milling operations, and methods of machining advanced materials and complex parts.

Week 3: Injection Molding
Injection molding is the most widely used plastics manufacturing process. Chapters of this module describe the process physics, rate-limiting steps, process parameters, thermoplastic materials, mold tooling design, and guidelines for defect prevention. Examples include molding of toy bricks, cups, and plastic furniture.

Week 4: Thermoforming and Sheet Metal Forming
These modules address sheet forming of plastics and metals. Chapters describe the materials and process considerations, rate- and geometry-limiting aspects including springback and tearing, and explain various uses including manufacturing of plastic packaging and aluminum beverage cans. A supplement to the thermoforming module introduces other polymer forming processes including those for plastic bottles, bags, and large containers.

Week 5: Casting
This module introduces casting, whereby a metal part is made by solidification within a mold. Modules describe sand casting, die casting, and investment casting processes; rate-limiting steps and factors governing part microstructure, quality, and cost are also analyzed.

Week 6: Additive Manufacturing
We first introduce the spectrum of additive manufacturing (AM) technologies, its key applications, and reasons for its rapid growth and significance. Next, we focus in-depth on the three most prevalent AM processes: extrusion of polymers and composites (i.e., FFF/FDM), photopolymerization (i.e., stereolithography or SLA), and selective laser melting (SLM) of metals.

Week 7: Quality and Variation
This module explains basic statistical methods for analyzing, monitoring, and controlling process variation, including the use of control charts. The critical differences between variation, tolerances, and quality are explained; and principles of precision metrology are introduced.

Week 8: Manufacturing System
We will introduce probability theory and queuing theory, give analytical examples of simple manufacturing systems through the lens of critical concepts such as production rate, capacity, buffers, and offer simulations representative to the current state of the industry and case study examples.

Week 9: Manufacturing Cost
Understanding the cost of manufacturing a part or product, and its relationship to the process details and production volume, is essential to effective scale-up. This module presents a methodology for estimating manufacturing cost, and examples discuss the cost of making toy bricks, window glass, and smartphones.

Week 10: Sustainability and Robotics
First, we discuss the implications of the energy consumption of manufacturing, and of the product life cycle life cycle. Second, the robotics module introduces several types of robots used in manufacturing, compares their performance, and illustrates how robotics can improve production efficiency and quality.

Week 11: Electronics
This module will explain the process physics of microelectronics fabrication, and PCB manufacturing. We will explain techniques for assembling electronic components on to PCBs and discuss Cost, Rate, Quality, and Flexibility of different assembly techniques.

Week 12: The Future of Manufacturing and Conclusion
To conclude, this module provides a brief summary of 2.008x, highlights important emerging manufacturing technologies, and presents the perspectives of instructors and guests on the exciting future of manufacturing.

About the instructors

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.