Product Data Management (PDM) systems provide a means for sharing and controlling documents in collaborative product development. PDM are used in industrial applications for long-term archival of product information, to enhance collaboration and communication throughout the design process, support distributed design teams through advanced document sharing, track changes in product information, and control design documents ranging from requirements information to CAD. However, undergraduate mechanical engineering students typically graduate with limited or no exposure to PDM systems. This paper investigates the benefits and challenges associated with modern PDM systems. Moreover, the need for PDM systems in undergraduate education are discussed and means for integrating this technology is presented. A survey of engineering institutions in the U.S. is completed to understand the current usage in academic settings. Specifically, this paper describes appropriate course and project support of PDM systems.

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