Time-Constrained Prototype Development - Learning the Product Development Process

Presentation by Prof. Matthias Leiner & Prof. Michael Magin from the University of Applied Science Kaiserslautern.

The presentation focuses on learning and teaching the product development process in the English/German-speaking master program in mechanical engineering/mechatronics at Hochschule Kaiserslautern - University of Applied Sciences.

This is exemplarily shown by two courses on virtual product development and fiber reinforced plastics. The courses are in the summer semester, about 14 weeks long, with three weekly sessions of two hours. The courses are given by several lecturers to offer a broader view on the topics and to benefit from of the personal experience and background of each lecturer. All students have a mechanical engineering or mechatronics bachelor's degree, are from many countries, and typically, half of the class is from outside Germany.

The goal of the courses is to enable the students to finish an engineering project, like the development of a two-wheeled robot, or the design of a structural part for an unmanned drone, within the available timeframe, starting from scratch. The student's diverse backgrounds and their varying knowledge of computational engineering tools require the teaching to be adapted at their specific needs while training industrial and scientific best practices.

Due to the short timeframe, extensive requirements and, especially, the need to build and test a functioning prototype at the end of the course, both lecturers and students must work intensively together to make the classes a success.