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Teaching students how to master complex engineering tasks using a digital twin

They can rely on project-oriented collaboration and problem-solving skills using leading-edge tools and methods.
Kari Tammi,
Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering Aalto University

Learning to design the future

Named in honor of Alvar Aalto, a prominent Finnish architect, and industrial designer, Aalto University is the second-largest university in Finland. It is located in Otaniemi, across the bay from Helsinki. Aalto University was established in 2010 as a merger of the Helsinki University of Technology, the Helsinki School of Economics, and the Helsinki University of Art and Design.

Scientific research and artistic activities are carried out at six schools and their departments and units. The Aalto University School of Engineering performs research and education and seeks new solutions in the fields of mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and the built environment.

With the Aalto University Industrial Internet Campus (AIIC), the university provides a platform for students, researchers, and companies to innovate and collaborate on creating smart, connected products and services. The AIIC enables professors and students to work with industrial partners on multidisciplinary research, education, and innovation.

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Using Solid Edge and NX for design and verification, Aalto University students design and simulate complex parts, assemblies and machines from ideation to BOM creation. Aalto University students use Teamcenter for product data storage and management not only in engineering courses.

With the help of the crane manufacturer and Siemens solution partner IDEAL GRP, our students have created a comprehensive digital twin of an overhead crane. This can be enriched with real-life data from the actual crane to provide feedback for future design improvements or predictive maintenance.
Kari Tammi, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering Aalto University

Providing 3D modeling for all

Aalto University students use a variety of software, including Solid Edge® software, Teamcenter® software, NX™ software, Simcenter™ software and the Tecnomatix® portfolio, all part of the Xcelerator portfolio, the comprehensive and integrated portfolio of software and services from Siemens Digital Industries Software.

Whether they study mechanical engineering, civil engineering, or architecture, students at Aalto University attend computer-aided design (CAD) courses to get acquainted with 3D modeling. During the early parts of their education, they use Solid Edge for that purpose. Solid Edge is a portfolio of easy-to-use software tools that address all aspects of the product development process. Due to its synchronous technology, Solid Edge combines the speed, simplicity and intuitivity of direct modeling with the flexibility and control of the parametric design.

“Solid Edge is easy to use and provides an entry point to the world of 3D modeling with a very low threshold,” says Kaur Jaakma, CAD/computer-aided engineering (CAE) lecturer at Aalto University. “Thanks to its synchronous technology, students can intuitively learn both history-based and parametric design methods.”

Students at Aalto University store and manage all product data they create using Teamcenter. This product lifecycle management (PLM) system connects people and processes with a digital thread, which promotes innovation.

At the master’s degree level, Aalto University students use more sophisticated software for design and verification. In civil engineering and architecture, these tasks are performed mainly using specialized industry packages. Students in the mechatronics group at the school of engineering predominantly use NX, an integrated solution for CAD, computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and CAE.

Following the preliminary design stage, Aalto University students use the CAD functionality within NX to enrich the basic models with detail. They also perform multi-body motion and finite element method (FEM) simulations to verify the structural integrity of the parts they design as well as vibration simulation. Thanks to the comprehensive portfolio of solutions within NX, they do not need to leave their familiar software environment.

Read the full case study on the Siemens Digital Industries Software platform!

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