PRODUCT DESIGN PROJECT - A GROUP BASED STUDENT PROJECT FOR THE DESIGNING OF MECHATRONICAL SYSTEMS AT THE TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITÄT DARMSTADT: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Technische Universität Darmstadt (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:In the year 1998, the education of the Bachelor “Mechanical and Process Engineering” and the Bachelor “Business Administration with Mechanical Engineering” at the Technische Universität Darmstadt in the area of machine elements was changed comprehensively. Based on an initiative of Prof. Birkhofer, the head of the department “Product Development and Machine Elements Darmstadt” (pmd), the classic study of machine elements, which is known for instance from Prof. Pahl and Prof. Beitz, has been transformed into the lectures “Machine Elements and Mechatronics I” (MM I) and “Machine Elements and Mechatronics II” (MM II). By this change, the teaching of machine elements, which had until that time only consisted of mechanical machine elements, has been extended by adding the electrical and mechatronical components. By this, the growing influence of mechatronical systems in mechanical engineering has been taken into account. Within this changed structure, teaching contents are conveyed to the students enabling them to design mechatronical systems independently. One part of the teaching concept of Birkhofer is a practical student project, the so-called “Product Design Project” (PDP). The PDP takes place subsequent to the theoretical lecture MM II. Here, the attention is turned to the all-embracing designing of a mechatronical system while the students work largely independently. It is especially focused on the advanced consideration of the complex interdependent functioning of the system within the use. By elaborating deliberate tasks, it is intended with the help of the PDP to develop the students’ comprehension as well as it is intended to pique the fascination for the complexity of mechatronical problems.
Within this paper, the general structure of the PDP and its organization is going to be reported first, especially of the PDP 2010. The preparation phase of the project, the distribution of time and contents of the execution and the organization of the tutoring are described.
In 2010, a total of 548 students participated in the PDP. Since the problem was solved in groups of four students, 137 groups had to be mentored. For this purpose, a concept was elaborated, which has been adjusted in regard to time and staff. This concept consists of coaching by the professors, coaching by research associates and helpdesks. Due to this concept, an adequate assistance of each group was possible despite the high number of students.
Afterwards, an evaluation of the project concept is carried out. Here, the results and problems of the groups during the concept phase are examined and recommendations are given, in which ways the assistance of the unequally developing groups can be carried out. Furthermore, general aids are elaborated, which can be used for the execution and organization of a similar project. In addition, two settings of tasks from 2009 and 2010 are presented and compared. This is followed by the elaboration of criteria, which can serve for the selection of a proper task.
In the conclusion, a forecast into the future of the PDP within the modern teachings of machine elements and an advancement of the introduced concept is carried out. Already in 2011, the PDP is going to be used in order to enable the students of psychology to apply the teaching contents “team building” and “supervision” during the assistance of the PDP groups and also to familiarize the participants of the project with these methods.
Keywords: Student project, high number of students, design of mechatronical system, education of machine elements.