Indianapolis, IN, USA

June 15-18, 2014

Event Website 

Dr Claes Fredriksson from Granta Design's Educational Team gave a talk on: Facilitating the Teaching of Product Development at the annual conference of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), held in Indianapolis 15-19/6. The presentation, dealing with how to implement the use of CES EduPack in Design Engineering Education, attracted considerable interest, and around 70 people visited the session. The ASEE is the world's largest and leading organisation for engineering education and a very good forum for Granta Design to network, spread our ideas and to pick up trends among practitioners. It is a platform to elaborate and strengthen contacts in parallel to the annual US Materials Education Symposium.

Granta's presentations on Facilitating the Teaching of Product Development.

Granta's Presentation

Granta Speaker: Dr Claes Fredriksson


Facilitating the Teaching of Product Development.

Product Development is a key topic for many engineering courses and educational programmes. The Product Development Process, as applied in industry, consists of all the necessary steps to bring a new or redesigned product to the market. Although the process is practiced in many different ways, depending on, for instance, company size and customer requirements, there are many common elements. These need to be covered by University teaching to prepare students for jobs in industry. This paper considers how students can be supported to make open, creative and well informed decisions in several stages of the product development process.

A teaching approach suitable for the product development process is described and investigated. The pedagogic context of the approach is project based learning in small student groups with short regular meetings with an instructor for consultation and supervision. The educational resources that are used consist of a combination of materials and manufacturing process databases, eco-performance indicators, as well as computer based selection and visualization tools.

The methodology has been tested in a class of third year undergraduate students of Mechanical Engineering taking a course in Product Development. One group of 4 students was followed during the development of a liquid container also serving as a construction element for use in developing countries or in disaster areas. Specific details of the teaching approach, the use of computer resources as a project tool, examination of the project and assessment of the results by the instructor and by the students are reported.

It was found that the computer based tools employed could be used in a generic manner to facilitate the learning related to the following steps of a product development process:

  • specification of product function and requirements,
  • screening and scoring (ranking) of concepts,
  • optimization of properties for the final design, including manufacturing selection and costing, as well as
  • evaluation of properties of the final product to be used by marketing

We believe that the findings are useful for many different directions within product development, for example Design for X (DfX) which is commonly used to represent different design focuses. In particular, X could stand for Manufacturing or Environment in our approach. Furthermore, the approach is compatible with Concurrent Engineering.