MEngM Capstone: Industry Projects
The cornerstone of the MEngM 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 then work full-time on-site to complete their projects. Each student documents their 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.
Cause and Elimination of Particle Contamination in Disk Drive Components
Disk drive components must be free of any contaminants, either liquid or particulate, before being sealed into the drive. This team investigated the occurrence of particulates on magnetic drive elements that led to rejected components. In addition to improving the detection methods, they found the origins of the contamination and suggested new production methods to eliminate the problem.
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.
Quality Improvement In Inkjet Cartridge Production
In the intermediate assembly process of the inkjet cartridge, the flex circuit waviness must be controlled to prevent high failures downstream. In this project, a specific waviness index was developed based on linearization and Fourier transform, in order to quantify the waviness to allow better process control and to facilitate investigation on the root cause of such waviness.
Yield Improvement for Printer Components
In this project, statistical and unconventional path analysis methods were developed to identify yield loss and benchmark equipment in the printer chip wafer fab production line. This led to an automated process to determine the impact of machine selection and critical electrical parameters on wafer yield.