Browsing Department of Mechanical Engineering & the Built Environment by Subjects
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Mechanical Engineering Design, Does the Past Hold the key to the Future?Industry design of a complex product has always required a cross-disciplinary team of experts. Is it possible to mimic these teams in academia when training the design engineers of the future, and what disciplinary skills will they possess? The exceptional collaboration potential provided by the internet means industry experts can work as a team, and at the same time, reside anywhere in the world. What are the capabilities of teamwork when the team members may never see each other for real? Though a physical prototype is sometimes required, most prototypes are designed and created in the virtual world using 3D modelling. The model can be tested, checked for accuracy, have materials applied, and be created parametrically which allows the products geometry to be reset to different sizes by the designer. Collaboration, effective communication and 3D modelling make it possible to design intricate and complex designs remotely. While we rightly congratulate ourselves on the complexity of modern design and how clever we have become, we must not lose sight of past achievements. Design has become more complex in this modern age, but it would be incorrect to say that complex design did not exist in times past. Before the internet, aircraft were built, global communication systems existed, men went to the moon. What can we learn, if anything, by looking at the methods used to design complex products in the past? How can we apply what we learnt from the past to the future?