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Cloud-based Computer-aided Engineering Education: Finding the Silver Lining

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Engineering Design Graphics Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

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Paper Authors


Derek M. Yip-Hoi Western Washington University

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Dr. Yip-Hoi received his Ph.D. from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan in 1997. Following his Ph.D. he worked for several years with the NSF Engineering Research Center for Reconfigurable Machining Systems also at the University of Michigan. His work involved supervision of sponsored research projects that focused on developing software applications to assist manufacturers design and plan operations on manufacturing systems that could be rapidly reconfigured to meet changes to a product’s design or production volume. Sponsors of this work included Ford, GM and Chrysler. In 2003 he joined the faculty of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia as junior chair of an NSERC sponsored research program in Virtual Machining. After 3 ½ years at UBC, he moved to the Department of Engineering Technology at Western Washington University to focus on teaching. His teaching and scholarship interests lie in the areas of design, CAD/CAM, CAPP, and CNC machining. Dr. Yip-Hoi is currently director of Western's Manufacturing Engineering Program.

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The availability of cloud-based technologies to support engineering education has seen significant growth in recent years. This includes design (CAD), analysis (FEA), and manufacturing (CAM and Digital Mock-Up) capabilities. The availability of affordable and broadly accessible 3D-printing is one major driver of this trend. This has created demand for cheaper, easier to learn and more simply deployed CAD systems for authoring parts that can be 3D-printed. Industry 4.0 is another driver. To support the Internet-of-Things high levels of information automation are needed throughout the product development process. CAx software developers have noted these trends and have brought to market new systems that are configured to be profitable in this new era. However, these systems present unique challenges in an educational setting that impact the choice of platform and how they are deployed for instruction and project work. Depending on the system, one challenge may be the level of IT support that is needed. The cost of use for systems is also a major consideration for universities. Some vendors have adopted the Software-as-a-Service business model, while others still require paying a hefty one-time licensing fee for student and faculty accounts and data storage. As a result, there can be a significant variation in cost for access to the available platforms. This cost can be justified partly by the difference in capabilities. Though most systems now bundle in basic analysis tools and some manufacturing, others provide additional capabilities in advanced manufacturing planning and simulation, advanced analysis, integrated product lifecycle management, process planning and project management tools, and systems engineering. Finally, though some may argue otherwise, there are employment advantages for graduates in some industries that do their CAx work using a preferred platform. This paper will present the plans, efforts and experiences to date in deploying and use of Dassault Systemes 3DExperience® platform within a Manufacturing Engineering curriculum. This is a multi-year effort starting with CAD and Analysis that will over time incorporate into the curriculum many of the additional capabilities mentioned above. Rationale for the choice of this system will be discussed along with the challenges encountered to date and those that need to be overcome in fully implementing the plan. The experiences of students taking their first class using this platform will be presented along with those of faculty who have needs for CAx in their teaching and research.

Yip-Hoi, D. M. (2020, June), Cloud-based Computer-aided Engineering Education: Finding the Silver Lining Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34292

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