Case Study

PLM significantly strengthens engineering education program

Belgorod Shukhov State Technological University

Belgorod Shukhov State Technological University students use product lifecycle management tools to increase skills, improve engineering knowledge and secure employment

The power of PLM in education

Belgorod Shukhov State Technological University ranks first on the Ministry of Education’s rating among the Russian architecture and construction schools. The university offers more than 60 construction engineering programs. The faculty consists of 150 full doctors, including 47 members of various academies, as well as more than 400 doctors and 30 plus distinguished scholars and inventors. The university enrolls about 25,000 students from 32 countries.

Belgorod Shukhov State Technological University believes that modern engineers should be able to readily apply advanced information technology, using their skills to immediately benefit production. The mechanical machines department has been teaching computer-aided machine design for many years. Since 2002 the department has worked in partnership with Siemens PLM Software, incorporating Siemens’ NX™ software and Teamcenter® platform into the academic process. The results for both students and faculty have been impressive, including final student projects winning numerous awards at many national contests. And the department’s faculty received special recognition at an educational innovation project contest organized by the Global Education 2007 International Congress.

The university received its first NX licenses in 2002 under Siemens PLM Software’s academic program – “a very important achievement for a Russian public noncommercial school,” emphasizes Professor Mikhail Yu Yeltsov, department of engineering mechanics at Belgorod Shukhov.

“Developing a competitive product today is impossible without using modern CAD/CAM/CAE tools,” says Professor Vasily S. Bogdanov, head of the mechanical machines department at Belgorod Shukhov. “The labor market demands specialists who are proficient in the CAD/CAM/CAE/PLM systems adopted by the industry. Today our mission is to teach both engineering and practical CAD/CAM/CAE/PLM usage. To accomplish this, the university has advanced from the first simple CAD systems to high-end ones.”

Bogdanov points out, “Our students should not only know construction materials manufacturing technology, but they should also know the manufacturing machines such as ball mills, furnaces, hydrofoils, drum driers and molding machines. Many of these machines are quite complicated and include tens of thousands of parts. The NX 3D modeling system enables detailed study of any complex machine literally down to each single part. NX offers all the necessary tools for managing large assemblies. The system can model virtually any geometric shape, generate drawings that are compliant with GOST national standards, perform strength and dynamic analysis and kinematics simulation.”

NX provides a comprehensive design environment

Initially, faculty members mastered the new technology. Then the digital tools were introduced to the students majoring in computer-aided mechanical machines design. “With continuing support from Siemens’ leading experts, we mastered the system fast and incorporated it into the academic process,” recalls Yeltsov. “NX has shifted education to a basically new level. Now the engineering major students spend a significant time at computers. The department wants students not only to master NX but also to be able to use it for developing courses and final projects.” He notes, “Our goal is to use the functionality of NX to the fullest when teaching students, and expose as many as possible to its tools.”

Teaching the new technology follows a specific pattern. The first stage covers CAD fundamentals, lectures and seminars, including review of existing CAD systems, from basic to high-end ones. Then students begin working with NX. Concurrently a finite element modeling (FEM) course serves as an introduction to mastering the CAE tools within NX.

Engineering students learn not only how to use NX, but also how to apply engineering knowledge. “Today, to develop the course and final projects, students have to create a digital mockup of a certain machine and further refurbish it,” says Yeltsov. “Formerly it was nearly impossible due to the time and effort required and the lack of suitable tools.”

Final project development begins in the fourth year. Using NX is a requirement. A final project includes a digital assembly of a refurbished machine, its strength and dynamic analysis performed with NX™ Nastran® software, as well as a complete set of design documentation.

“Switching to 3D modeling has changed the students’ engineering thinking,” notes Professor Bogdanov. “As students virtually assemble a machine part by part, they learn its design as well as an experienced production engineer. Visualization of each part facilitates understanding and creativity. As a result the quality of our courses and final projects has been much improved.”

For example, in 2006, the final project titled A ∅3.8 m Grinder Design and Integrated Refurbishment of Auxiliary Equipment with NX was awarded first prize at the National Construction Final Projects Contest and a medal from the Russian Academy of Architecture and Construction Sciences. The mill’s digital mockup is a four-level assembly of almost 10,000 parts with 300 unique ones. In 2007, the final project A KS50 Clinker Refrigerator Design and Integrated Refurbishment with NX was awarded first prize at a national final projects contest for students majoring in construction materials production, and second prize at the Russian Academy of Architecture and Construction Sciences contest. The refrigerator’s assembly includes four levels and 17,000 parts with more than 1,200 unique parts.

Acquiring skills in using NX is supported by work study programs at the Belgorod regional branch of Energomach. The work study programs show that the students demonstrate excellent NX proficiency. The department keeps expanding its digital design baseline. Seventy-five workstations are currently installed and every academic year the university updates to a new NX version.

Yeltsov adds, “Since Siemens opened an office in Belgorod in 2007, the university receives even faster technical support and consulting concerning the new NX versions.”

Teamcenter teaches teamwork

In 2006 the mechanical machines department expanded the scope of its cooperation with Siemens as the university implemented 20 Teamcenter licenses. “We immediately realized how promising Teamcenter was for the academic process,” says Yeltsov. “It is a product lifecycle management solution with an excellent reputation in the world market. Teamcenter enables an integrated, structured and protected source of product and process data. Collaboration of geographically distributed teams significantly boosts design and production planning, increases efficiency and reduces time-to-market.”

In 2007 Teamcenter was successfully incorporated into the academic process. A database containing various tutorials, a library of standard fasteners, GOST national standards, design handbooks and sample projects was created. In the same year the first final project was implemented within Teamcenter. The project was awarded first prize at the CAD Drive contest organized by the Russian Industrial Company.

Next, the department switched from a two-tier to a four-tier Teamcenter architecture. The system’s functionality has been much expanded: a centralized administration tool, Microsoft Office® software integration, WebClient support for browser-based data access and, most importantly, database accessibility over the internet.

Since 2008 the academic process is managed solely by Teamcenter. Students and faculty members work in a uniform information environment, which enables immediate assignments’ evaluation, data exchange and consulting. Students can access the database over the internet at any time directly from home.

“A trial operation of the tutorial database yielded a tremendous result,” exclaims Yeltsov. “After the first couple of classes it became difficult to imagine that a modern engineering student could be trained without Teamсenter and its most convenient data search, sorting and visualization tools. One great advantage of Teamcenter for the academic process is its perfect stability and fail-safe operation since students are extremely curious and they are always tempted to ‘play with what’s there.’ With the powerful authentication and data integrity control tools, we do not worry about intellectual property safety.”

In the 2009-2010 academic year, the university updated its Teamcenter and NX technology. “Data migration from Teamcenter was successful due to the perfect reliability of Siemens PLM Software’s products,” emphasizes Yeltsov.

Tecnomatix to provide manufacturing simulation knowledge

Belgorod Shukhov State Technological University plans to further advance its product lifecycle management curriculum. Recently, the mechanical machines department began mastering Siemens’ Tecnomatix® software for plant simulation. This manufacturing simulation solution helps students better understand construction materials manufacturing technology and how to optimize it.

“We implement Siemens’ solutions that represent the newest and most advanced engineering achievements,” says Bogdanov. “It sets higher standards for us as well. Since we have implemented the Siemens PLM Software solutions at the university, the engineering courses are significantly improved.” Moreover, the students are realizing excellent placement in a highly competitive job market.

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