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Global Engineering Design

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.303.1 - 3.303.8

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Daniel Nosenchuck

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2202

Global Engineering Design

Daniel Nosenchuck Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Princeton University


In recognition that the engineering design process has radically changed and is increasingly coupled to the global economy, the Design Curriculum has been restructured to introduce students to elements of design in a global context. In conjunction with large international product firms, student design teams are challenged to design products for the worldwide market. A competition down-selects one or more teams for subsequent travel abroad for hands-on interaction with engineers and management of leading international product firms, with the opportunity to explore possible technology-transfer.

1. Introduction

It is no longer debated, but implicitly assumed and often explicitly stated, that leading engineers will need to be prepared to function in the increasingly interconnected global environment. It will be the exception, not the rule, when engineering enterprise can be wholly executed within national boundaries. To prepare engineers for the complex, and often mysterious, climate of international design and engineering, a new facet to the design curriculum at Princeton is in the process of being developed. An overarching emphasis on global engineering is being placed on the design curriculum. The objective is to expose students to the complete process in which designs are taken to their logical conclusion by the international corporate sector. To ensure that the students ‘buy into’ the process, they are given the opportunity to have their designs evaluated for commercial potential, with the serious potential of mass-market production.

One challenge of the present approach to tackling design in the global context, is to create a course structure that emphasizes timeless fundaments, while exploring the entrepreneurial elements that surround engineering and design. A traditional approach has been to couple design courses with local industries that have particular problems to solve. While this approach is generally sound, it does several potential drawbacks: 1. The problems tend to be limited in scope, and narrowly defined, often represented by a modest subsystem, such as a hinge or a latch, which needs to be modified to meet a new specification. 2. Most often, the industrial interactions are within a single group or division. 3. Global issues such off-shore marketing, procurement, manufacture and distribution generally do not receive serious consideration, and often do not factor significantly into judging outcomes of the design process. 4. Critical elements that are key factors to success in the international environment, such as communications and cultural issues, are often neglected.

Nosenchuck, D. (1998, June), Global Engineering Design Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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