The University of Cape Town is taking advantage of the education programme being run by Centurion-based 3D software distributor, productONE, and has signed up for 500 seats of Pro/Engineer, a 3D design software for the manufacturing and engineering sectors. The software - on which the university will standardise - will be included in the curriculum of mechanical engineering students from year one to final year.
As part of its education programme productONE, the local distributor of PTC, will be donating Pro/Engineer software in an attempt to remove the financial burden of teaching production capable software. "It is a shame that in an environment where we suffer from a lack of skilled engineers, we as software companies are too shortsighted to invest in the youth," says Dayne Turbitt, MD of productONE.
"Our University Plus programme allows universities to teach engineering and product development, using the same software used by thousands of companies worldwide for the development of real world-leading products." The company has, thus far, provided local universities, including KwaZulu-Natal University, University of Johannesburg, and the University of Stellenbosch with software that commands a commercial value of more than R250 million. Professor Steve Marais from the university's Mechanical Engineering Department says, "This decision was taken last year and we have since decided to standardise on Pro/Engineer. We are aiming to include the software in the university's curriculum - and each Mechanical Engineering Student, from year one on, will be exposed to it. First year students will start with the basics, such as learning to model simple components and being able to produce a drawing. In second year we will increase the complexity and, by year four, we will be expecting our students to use it for all of their projects throughout the year. We will expect fourth year students to handle complex design and modelling and to ultimately be able to come up with drawings that can be sent to a workshop for the making of a prototype. Students will be able to choose from a wide variety of products - and they will have to design one from scratch." He says fourth-year students are also currently making use of the software to design back hoes, devices which are attached to the back of bulldozers and used for digging holes and trenches. "One student has completed a full model, complete with animation, and we believe that by the end of the year we are going to have several successes, which will include products produced with a high level of modelling and animation."