CONCORD, Mass: Texas A&M, one of the world’s top engineering universities, has purchased new licenses of SolidWorks® software to dramatically expand CAD software access to 16,500 students in a broad range of programs.
Through a Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. (DS SolidWorks) “Student Access Initiative,” students will now have SolidWorks software on their laptops and home PCs as well as on school-owned computers across a variety of disciplines – including petroleum, nuclear, mechanical, industrial, electrical, and biomedical engineering. All other schools at the university, including the college of science and veterinary medicine, will have SolidWorks, too.
“SolidWorks has broad applicability beyond engineering courses,” said Mitch Wittneben, senior systems analyst for Texas A&M. “It helps students better understand important physical engineering principles, for example, or understand interaction of linkages between bones and prosthetics. With its balance of ease of use and powerful capabilities, SolidWorks helps students transform their ideas into reality and succeed in their work. It’s a valuable tool for all the sciences, and employers like to see a job candidate with SolidWorks experience.”
The university has maintained 500 licenses of SolidWorks since 1999. The new purchase adds 2,000 new licenses in department-run labs and on open-access desktops, which are campus computers any student can use. An additional 4,000 licenses will be available for students to download to their personal PCs, enabling them to study on the same software used by their professors and in the labs. These 6,000 licenses include SolidWorks Simulation Premium for integrated design analysis and validation. Another 10,000 students on the campus at large will be able to obtain SolidWorks Standard software for their laptops and PCs.
SolidWorks’ ease of use and intuitive operation are important for Texas A&M students’ success in courses that focus on design concepts rather than operation of software. Because students learn SolidWorks so fast, they can spend more time focusing on design principles – a driving force in the university’s steady adoption of the software.
SolidWorks Simulation Premium is an important part of the software package for students. It gives them insight into the strengths and weaknesses of their designs and inspires them to delve further into the physical principles behind finite element, thermal, fluid, and other analyses.
Students have found SolidWorks to be a powerful tool for everything from designing simple test rigs all the way through complex flow analysis of turbo machinery. Although it may seem odd for veterinary medical students to need CAD and simulation software, Wittneben says, it’s actually invaluable to the design and study of artificial joints and other man-made devices, and how they interact with natural tissue. Students create CAD models of bones and prostheses and study the way they come together and withstand stress and use.
SolidWorks also helps students engage with private companies. Student mechanical engineering teams tackle class-based projects with 10-12 companies every year. Using SolidWorks ensures easy sharing of designs with these companies, whose engineers typically use SolidWorks themselves.
Students work with companies like 3M, FMC, Fluor, Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, and Shell. SolidWorks is a popular CAD choice in several of the region’s industries, including oil and gas, and many graduates report their SolidWorks experience has proven very beneficial to them in their line of work.
Students on the Texas A&M Racing Team used SolidWorks to design their championship car that beat 30 teams from around the world in the 2009 Formula Hybrid competition. The team won first place in the overall hybrid, design, presentation, endurance, and autocross classes with the highest score in two decades.
“A Texas A&M engineering education is a complete and well-rounded preparation to enter the workforce and make an immediate contribution to an employer’s success,” said Wittneben. “SolidWorks is a key ingredient in that preparation.”
Texas A&M relies on authorized SolidWorks reseller Texas Engineering Systems, LP, for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.
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