Computer Aided Design (CAD) represents one of the key lectures in the studies of mechanical and process engineering as well as several other engineering disciplines. Furthermore Computer Aided x (CAx) systems are firmly established in the product development process.

A new concept of teaching for engineering studies at the Technical University of Darmstadt (TU Darmstadt) derived by project based learning is introduced using CAx process chains i.e. the CAD-Multi Body Simulation (MBS) process chain. For the first time in engineering degree a 3D CAD model is consistently used by different process chains in multiple lectures and exercises during the whole engineering study. The early integration of this 3D CAD model in the second semester lays a foundation for its usage in further lectures, courses, projects and theses. Due to the fact, that this 3D CAD model embodies a university groups’ race car, students are able to deepen their knowledge within the university group “TU Darmstadt Racing Team e.V. (DART)”. Therefore, synergies between private and student activities are promoted, e.g. students acquire knowledge about automotive engineering. Besides the virtual implementation and validation, concepts can use the prototype for implementation and validation.

The suitability of the 3D CAD model for CAD education in engineering studies especially the modelling and assembling of parts and assemblies is validated by the coached exercise of the course “Computer Aided Design”. The design education of students with mechanical engineering orientated fields of studies is held as a mandatory course in the second semester of mechanical engineering degrees at TU Darmstadt since 1995 and is solely taught with modern 3D CAD Systems.

The MBS process chain is validated by several projects and theses using the McNeil Swendler Corp. (MSC) Software Automated Dynamic Analysis of Mechanical Systems (ADAMS) Car. Students run MBS by using the 3D CAD model. Besides driving maneuvers, stamp tests are simulated. In this context the entire MBS process chain is passed. The 3D CAD model serves as a basis for structures, geometry and the representation of kinematic chains, guided by the 3D CAD models geometry.

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