International Partnerships Teaching

Time2Go4.0 : Collaborative design projects for 4.0 and sustainability

Published on 2 January 2023
Written by Pierre Dehombreux
Design projects are recognized as an excellent learning activity to develop synthesis, autonomy and work organization skills. In the field of product or machine design, it involves many aspects such as identification of market needs, definition of specifications, generation of proposals, multicriteria decision, graphical communication through CAD software, dimensioning, revision of solutions due to manufacturing, assembly and cost constraints, … The amount of work is especially demanding if a realistic detailed design is expected, as in a real industrial situation.

Such complex tasks benefit a lot from a collaborative work in teams where experience and ideas may be exchanges and skills shared.

The training of engineering students with respect to product design and management of production systems is challenged with technological and societal breakthroughs:

  • industry 4.0 has induced fundamental changes into industrial practices, regarding performance of their assets;
  • the sustainability development objectives have emerged as the major worldwide outcome; they are integrated more and more in the engineering curricula.

Project-based learning in engineering is not new: most of product design projects still rely on a strong “classical” technological basis (selection and dimensioning of elements, manufacturing constraints, performance analysis, …). Multidisciplinary approaches for complex systems have emerged to include additional aspects as market analysis, industrial design, team management in the concurrent design process.

Internationalisation of research and development activities have shown the interest for blended activities where some tasks are performed at distance, some others during face-to-face meetings.

The teaching methods have been turned upside down with the coronavirus pandemic: project-based learning with distance constraints has demonstrated limits but also a new perspective with the need to be more focused on this mode of interaction as telework will not be the exception from now.

To contribute to this objective, a limited group of labs involved in mechanical design,, supported by the T.I.M.E. association, is willing to collaborate onto the following objectives:

  • identification of new skills and original training activities for master’s students in this new context
  • organizing design challenges on basis of industrial proposals with possible different training activities

offer of internships in university labs to support research profiles as well.

  • 4.0
  • Design projects
  • Sustainability
  • Teaching