Ulster University combines academic rigor with industrial experience

Ulster University combines academic rigor with industrial experience

Solid Edge aids learning and industry outreach at Ulster University, exposing students to assembly modeling and simulation.

Combining academic rigor with industrial experience

Students who have on-the-job experience are much more aware of the needs of industry, and have a rounded and informed perspective that really benefits their future careers. That’s the verdict of Dr. Desmond Brown, senior lecturer in CAD in the School of Engineering at Ulster University, where all engineering students undertake an industrial placement in their third year. The university has a strong vocational ethos and a solid reputation for enabling students to put their design and technology skills into practice within a real-world environment.

According to Brown, the experience that students gain through placement adds to their employability. This approach is not only of benefit to students, it is making a difference to local companies. In addition to supplying such skills through its students, the university provides additional expertise and guidance through consultancy, and this supports industrial innovation across Northern Ireland and beyond.

Students learn the principles of CAD by using our software tools in Solid Edge. Solid Edge was first implemented in 2005 by the university, which now has 250 licenses across seven computer laboratories. In addition, the students have a free copy on their personal computers. As students learn the operation of Solid Edge, they also become familiar with fundamental engineering concepts, such as the constraints of 2D geometry.

Having learned the importance of parametric control, students in their final year discover another option in the form of synchronous technology. Solid Edge provides the unique capability to combine parametric capability with the option of direct modeling and, from release to release, synchronous technology is getting better and better.

Final-year students also cover downstream applications such as 3D printing, surface modeling and sheet metal design. Throughout the course, the university encourages students to make use of online resources such as the Solid Edge web-based library of standard parts. The mix of structured teaching, self-paced learning and work experience is certainly a winning combination. In 2014, one student’s Solid Edge model of a garden hose gun won the Siemens Digital Industries Software Student Design Contest, a global competition with a monthly award. He now has a job at the innovation center where he did his placement.

Learn more about our free resources for students by visiting our Solid Edge for Students portal.