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Massey University has a new manufacturing pilot plant, specialising in the rapid development and manufacturing of electronic components. The plant was developed by the university's Department of Production Technology as a practical method of teaching students about integrated manufacturing methods, and for research and development work.

Work will focus on the design, assembly and testing of printed circuit boards (PCBs). All of the mechanical and electronic hardware, as well as software, associated with a PCB can be taken through its design and manufacturing stages at the plant.

"The plant provides a realistic manufacturing system that involves several technological and manufacturing functions," says department head Professor Bob Hodgson. "Students can be assigned individual and group projects within the plant which expose them to complexities of problem solving often evident only dealing with a real system."

Hodgson is confident the plant offers much to manufacturers in the way of development, prototyping and production of specialist PCBs.