When I was in my first year of technical university, I enjoyed the Friday afternoons when we had “technical drawing” lessons. We were drawing on drawing boards with pencil. (A Rotring ink pen was mandatory not before the second year) and spending hours on nice looking 2D views of an elevator emergency brake that was placed in front of the classroom. Every student brought his drawing from home in a PVC or PET drawing tube, taped it to the drawing board, took it off at the end of the lesson, rolled it up and put it back in the tube.
On one afternoon, somewhere around the 6th or 7th week in the
trimester, we got word of one fellow student that he left his drawing tube in the train that brought him to Eindhoven. With that the poor guy lost around 25-30 hours of handwork and had to do it all over again. After that, we remembered him, even in later years, as “The Man Who Lost His Tekening” (tekening is the Dutch word for drawing).
Years after, when I started with PDM in my work, I realized that in that year we already had a data management problem then: we did check out, modify and check in a drawing. We did see someone who suffered from “analog data loss” en therefore we implicitly had a data security problem.
Today we talk with technical educational institutes about how to deploy PDM in the education of new engineers and designers. The environment has changed in comparison with the time I learned to make technical drawings: now students learn to create technical design data with SolidWorks in 3D and all data is stored digitally. Together with a teacher we identified three areas of interest:
The first is that students are made aware of the data management phenomena. The goal is that they know that there is a need for data management in any form and that data can get lost or changed if we do not pay attention.
Second, PDM can help in the project oriented lessons they work on. In small groups students work on given tasks where they apply the knowledge they gained in the classroom sessions. Using SolidWorks is part of that and PDM can help to secure data, share it and collaborate on it. During and after the work, the designs can be
released to the teacher via workflow.
Third, PDM is an interesting subject to do research on. This could be done by interested older student who are challenged by the PDM questions posed by the industry and want to find answers to those questions.
In general, thanks to the evolution of PDM from high-end, complex and hard to use to mid-range, easy-to-use and fast-to-implement like SolidWorks Enterprise PDM is, it is now possible to introduce PDM in education much more realistically than before. We expect to see nice results in the near future.
By the way, the Rotring drawing pen I never bought for the second year, because I took the opportunity to join the first group of students in 1989 who could make their drawing work in CAD. The coincidence was that the university’s CAD system was MAVIS-BADGE, developed by CADMES…