Manufacturing Processes (2.008/2.008x)


Almost everything around us has been in a factory, and was made possible in part by innovations in manufacturing processes. 2.008—the largest manufacturing course taught at MIT—introduces students to advanced manufacturing, with emphasis on the following intertwined themes: manufacturing processes, equipment and automation, variation and quality, and design for manufacturing. Lectures, labs, and assignments (both individual and team) build fundamental knowledge and hands-on experience on the methods and challenges of manufacturing, i.e., creating value at scale. A graduate of 2.008 has the tools and confidence to enter an advanced factory and be able to understand its operations and make suggestions for improvement.

The main learning objectives of 2.008 are to:

  • Learn the fundamentals and applications of a variety of unit manufacturing processes, including machining, injection molding, casting, thermoforming, sheet metal forming, additive manufacturing (i.e., 3D printing), semiconductor lithography, and circuit board assembly.
  • Evaluate the performance of manufacturing processes, machines, and systems by four key attributes: rate, cost, quality, and flexibility.
  • Understand sources of variation in manufacturing processes, and how to monitor and control variation using statistical methods.
  • Learn how to estimate the cost of a manufacturing process versus production volume, and how design and process choices influence cost.
  • Understand how individual manufacturing operations are combined into a manufacturing system, how the design and layout of the system affects its performance. Also, learn how robotics and automation are used for specific tasks and can improve overall productivity.
  • Learn how to prepare toolpaths for CNC machines using CAM software, and learn to operate CNC milling and turning machines.
  • Design, execute, and evaluate a high-volume manufacturing process multi-part consumer product, i.e., a Yo-Yo; use analysis, rapid prototyping methods, and design for manufacturing (DFM) considerations throughout.
  • In parallel with the above, build an awareness of the global manufacturing infrastructure; and realize important issues for the future of manufacturing and its impact on the sustainability of our world.

2.008 also inspired the world’s first MOOC on manufacturing process, 2.008x, which was launched in 2016 and enrolled >10,000 learners from >145 countries for its first run.