The University of St. Thomas

School of Engineering

James L. Ellingson
Photo of James Ellingson

Assistant Professor

Ph.D. Minnesota
Phone: 651-962-5415

Mail OSS100
2115 Summit Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105

Office Location: OSS 102

Ph.D. 1999, Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota
M.S. Mechanical Engineering, EE minor,  University of Minnesota

B.A. Mathematics, Concordia College, Moorhead MN

Research Interests:

System Design and Integration

Embedded Systems
Metal Forming Processes
Statistical Process Control
Manufacturing Processes Modeling

Brief Personal Biography, September 2009

James Ellingson received his first immersion in engineering and technology working with the family honey bee business in Odessa, Minnesota. He studied mathematics, physics, chemistry as well as philosophy at Concordia College Moorhead. Graduate studies at the University of Minnesota focused on CAD/CAM/CAE, electrical engineering and modeling of manufacturing processes. Study abroad included a year in Denmark and the NSF Summer Institute in Japan. Teaching experience included Machine Design, Mechanisms and Design Morphology as the instructor of record and a wide range of teaching assistant roles.

The dissertation focused on material flow and contact mechanics in axis-symmetric and three dimensional upsetting or forging. The physical research for the dissertation was completed under a Fulbright Grant to the Technical University of Denmark. Numerical work was conducted at the Minnesota Super Computer Institute and Japan’s National Mechanical Engineering Laboratory. 


His industrial career includes three years as a member of 3M’s advanced automation group and five years with Boston Scientific’s Vascular Intervention division.

Systems Engineering Philosophy:
Strategic application of technology and analysis to bring better products to market faster. Understanding and leveraging the relationship between the functional design, the materials, and the manufacturing processes used to actualize the design.

Professional and academic work have involved improving design and manufacturing by exploring, modeling and understanding the interactions of these coupled elements.  

Teaching Philosophy:
Engineering is a profession. Course objectives are best motivated by establishing a clear link to current industrial practice. Thus we develop and explore models to improve our understanding of how products and systems will perform. The Liberal Arts provide the foundation upon which we are able to reason and respond to our complex and changing world. Combining engineering and liberal arts empowers our students to know what can be done and to determine what should be done.  

Research Interests:
Professor Ellingson is a generalist who takes a Systems Engineering view of the world. This broad based, interdisciplinary approach allows for the creation of appropriate solutions to real world challenges. More specifically, machines which are capable of monitoring their inputs and outputs thereby minimizing waste and identifying and scrapping product which is not within specification. The key technologies of the development process can be listed as follows.

  1. A sufficient model of the product (the design).
  2. A sufficient model of the manufacturing process (the machine or system).
  3. A sufficient model of the materials.
  4. An understanding of the interactions of items 1, 2, and 3.
  5. An integration of the components into a working machine.
  6. An integration of the system into the factory. (Paper trail, recipe management, inventory)


Machine Design. Mechanical Systems Design. CAD CAM CAE. Process Development and Modeling. PDM. IQ/OQ/PQ. Six Sigma. Design for Manufacturing. Design for Six Sigma. Finite Element and other Numerical Analysis.

• Embedded Systems  (ENGR 431)