Engineering education through an intercontinental PLM collaborative project: The Global Factory Case Study



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This article will present the experience in the development of an intercontinental collaborative project named ``Global Factory'', being the first massive academic exploration of this new way of engineering work. The main goal of the project, was to collaboratively design a virtual factory to produce vehicle combustion engines, by using the Product Lifecycle Management ( PLM) software CATIA V6. It was developed collaboratively by students from different universities around the world with distributed work and a centralized database. Therefore, interdisciplinary work was encouraged, leading students to collaborate with colleagues from different disciplines and countries. Students were subject to real conditions of international work and the implied working conditions ( e. g. cultural aspects, time-frames, communication limitations, use of Information and Communication Technologies ( ICT), etc.). Furthermore, they had to deal with the natural complexity of the technical work as well as the global interaction aspects, being a complicated task to be developed in a novel tool. Finally, the paper will describe the analysis of the project and the educational aspects that students had to face. This project sets the basis for preparing engineers of the future, who will work in a global environment.


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