With the Pittsburg State University in Kansas having purchased 1,000 licenses of SolidWorks software, students are able to aggressively tackle engineering challenges and prepare for their careers.
The new licenses give every engineering technology student at the University anytime, anywhere access to powerful design, analysis, data management and sustainability software.
The SolidWorks Education Edition software includes professional-class tools for stress, strain, fluid flow and thermal simulation. Since students now have SolidWorks on their own laptops and PCs, they can eliminate late-night treks to the campus computer lab.
Greg Murray, assistant professor of mechanical engineering technology comments that SolidWorks is being used as the standard tool for introducing first-year students to computer-aided design.
Having used other CAD products for years, he finds SolidWorks much easier to use, much more intuitive and much more effective in making students productive sooner.
He adds that SolidWorks has helped their students keep up with leaders in industry, and prepare for a rewarding future.
Employers want SolidWorks training
The decision to invest in SolidWorks was taken by the University after the department of engineering technology surveyed area manufacturers and industry representatives on its advisory board. SolidWorks was found to be the most widely used 3D design software among prospective employers.
Additionally, it was also the most frequently sought background in online job sites according to a research conducted by Murray and Engineering Technology Chairman Tim Thomas that was presented to the 2010 Midwest Section Conference of the American Society of Engineering Education.
According to the report, SolidWorks software appears to be widely used in several areas of industry, and has been quickly gaining market share.
The report goes on to say that it is a user-friendly software with great tutorials and has an excellent analysis tool. SolidWorks also offers a series of certification exams that can be integrated into the curriculum and used as an assessment tool for their ABET accreditation.
Although students and professors can generally use any software they choose, they are increasingly opting for SolidWorks design software.
According to Murray, one important factor driving adoption of SolidWorks is the integrated simulation. Students are converting models from other software products into SolidWorks so they can test them for stress, strain, fluid flow, thermal flow and other real-world conditions.
Simulation software is a key part of the students’ work developing vehicles for engineering competitions such as Formula SAE, NASA’s Great Moonbuggy Race and SAE Baja.
Senior Tyler Farmer of the Formula SAE team says that SolidWorks makes it easy to develop the frame from sketching the wireframe in space, transforming lines into pipes and assessing the mass to performing simulations to optimise performance and safety.
Plastic part and mould design
Students in Pittsburg State’s part design and mould design courses take advantage of SolidWorks’ powerful embedded mould tools, according to Paul Herring, associate professor of plastics engineering technology.
These design tools enable students to:
- Easily design snap fits and lip-and-groove joints
- Check draft and wall thickness
- Create parting lines, parting surfaces, shutoff surfaces, mould cavities and mould cores
- Build mould bases in a single click with all required screws, nuts, pins, bushings and plates using macros
Herring adds that while SolidWorks is considered easier to use and learn all around, there’s no arguing about the breadth of the mould tools, which his students have used to create thermoformed waterproof cases, water conservation systems and a hands-free device for removing surgical gloves.
SolidWorks also interoperates with the university’s 3D printers, enabling students to quickly move from a SolidWorks virtual model to physical prototypes, to a mould, and finally to a forged, plastic or machined product.
By offering software certifications such as Certified SolidWorks Associate and Certified SolidWorks Professional, SolidWorks helps students prove their proficiency with industry tools.
SolidWorks software is available in Australia from Solidtec Solutions- SolidWorks 3D CAD .