Development of Simulation Based Machine Design course
While the traditional product design method emphasizes the structure and the documentation of the design work, simulation based design can add more value to the design process by using for example multi-body, thermal or strength analysis. These tools are traditionally be used to replace physical prototypes and the utilization of these tools in the concept design phase has been limited. Traditionally product design courses have been divided into courses teaching theory and processes of machine design, and courses teaching the computer aided design and simulation tools. With a new master level course, Machine Design, both approaches can be learned at the same time. During the course, a freely selected one degree-of-freedom mechanism based on existing machine is modelled, studied and optimized using Siemens NX and PTC Mathcad. Emphasis is on the iterative design process and on testing different structures, sizes and materials in the chosen case machine. The course follows systematic product design process, starting from defining requirement list, functional block diagram and product structure. Simulations are used to test different solutions and narrow the design choices. Machine elements are chosen for the final concept and the outcome is reflected on. The course has been run for two years. The annual amount of multinational students is about 100. The course feedback has been positive – the students appreciate the possibility to create a machine from the scratch and to learn use and apply simulation tools in the process. The course development is an ongoing process and the further steps include the integration of the product data lifecycle management system. This paper describes students’ perceptions of this course’s approach to product design and how it has effected the development of the course. The focus of the design assignment will be moved towards real engineering problem solving task to better demonstrate the benefits of simulation based design.