Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Engineering


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.
Tied to H5K109


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The module will provide graduates with advanced knowledge and understanding of modern manufacturing strategies and techniques of both a technical and management nature.
  • This module is complement by the 30 credit Industrial Project module where the final year student has the opportunity to carry out three industrial projects at Masters level contributing to the professional levels required by practising engineers.


  • Manufacturing Systems Modelling and Simulation;
  • Factory Design and Cellular Manufacturing Systems;
  • Historical perspective from craft through mass to Lean and Agile manufacturing;
  • The Lean organisation - Layout and Workflow,Changeovers, Maintenance, Waste Elimination and Kaizen, Customer and Supplier Relations;
  • The Agile Company;
  • Quality Improvement strategies e.g. Six Sigma;
  • The product and process improvement process;
  • Design of Experiments;
  • Strategies of Manufacturing Process Control;

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • An advanced awareness of the importance of efficency and responsiveness in modern global manufacture.
  • An advanced awareness of the approaches and strategies of business and industrial improvement.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to apply systematic methods to the assessment and management of a manufacturing facility.
  • Ability to apply specialised manufacturing improvement methods including Changeover Improvement, Kaizen etc.
  • The ability to use Discrete Event Simulation to model, investigate and improve the performance of process-based organisations.
  • The ability to measure quantitively the current quality levlels, patterns of variability and capability of any business process.
  • The ability to narrow down from a wide range of potential causes to the Red 'X' family of influential input factors.
  • The ability to use efficient Design of Experiment type techniques to understand, optimise and make robust and control a complex set of processes.
Key Skills:
  • Capacity for independent self-learning within the bounds of professional practice.
  • Highly specialised numerical skills appropriate to an engineer.
  • Highly specialised use of information technology (IT) relevant to the engineering profession.
  • Mathematics relevant to the application of advanced engineering concepts.
  • Teamworking within small group assessment and problem solving activities relevant to modern businesses.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The courses in Management and Operation of Production Systems are covered by dual and triple lectures which are predominantly carried out in 'hands-on' workshop style sessions.
  • The workshop style lectures are complemented and consolidated by means of in-company teaching day activities where students operate in small groups to apply methodologies to real in-company operations, where they present their findings and recommendations to senior management. Where relevant this consolidation will be done in computer laboratories e.g. discrete event simulation.
  • Students are able to make use of staff 'Tutorial Hours' to discuss any aspect of the module with teaching staff on a one-to-one basis.
  • Written timed examinations are appropriate because of the wide range of analytical, in-depth material covered in this module and to demonstrate the ability to solve advanced problems independently.
  • The written examinations are supplemented by written coursework assignments based upon computational work. Such written assignments provide the mechinism for the assessment of a student's ability to perform independent investigation, analysis and reporting.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures/Workshops 8 1 per week 2 hours 16
Lectures/Workshops 7 1 per week 3 hours 21
Teaching Days 3 8 24
Computer Labs 3 2 6
Tutorials 10 1 10
Visits 3 (By stream) 8 8
Preparation and Reading 115
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 10%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Simulation Assignment 3 weeks 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 90%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Modern Manufacturing Systems 2 hours 44%
Quality Improvement Methods 2 hours 56%

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University