Many United States colleges and universities are committed to creating quality engineering programs. Among these institutions is Ohio’s Cedarville University, a 125-year-old liberal arts college whose undergraduate department of engineering and computer science holds its own internal design competitions and dominates external competitions, such as Solar Splash, an intercollegiate solar boat regatta.
Cedarville’s engineering and computer science department has been relying on SolidWorks® 3D design solutions since 1996. Using SolidWorks, the department teaches more than 100 freshmen per year about modeling and CAD, challenging them with increasingly difficult projects until they demonstrate proficiency with SolidWorks. The goal is to prepare them for the real world with marketable skills. Likewise, senior students are tasked with a year-long design project that enables them to use every aspect of SolidWorks, such as lofting and analysis.
Cedarville also runs regular engineering competitions, such as a contest to design, build and race a cardboard canoe across a lake during homecoming weekend. The value of these competitions is to design, simulate, test and then use the physical end result.
“We want our students designing in SolidWorks because it’s the software they’ll use in the industry,” said Jay Kinsinger, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Cedarville University. “It’s so much more than CAD—it’s computer-aided engineering. Teaching students to use SolidWorks gives them a leg up in the job market, and testing their skills through different types of competitions keeps them engaged, encourages creativity and trains their minds to always be designing. SolidWorks has been a critical asset to the success of our engineering program.”One of the most significant competitions that the Cedarville engineering team participates in is Solar Splash; the team has also participated in the Frisian Solar Challenge in the Netherlands. The contest comprises two challenges: one for endurance and one for speed, requiring that the boat encompasses design elements for both challenges. Cedarville, a six-time Solar Splash champion, designed a revolutionary hull that changes its characteristics by shifts in on-board weight to achieve endurance versus speed. With SolidWorks they were able to design hull shells more intuitively using the lofting feature, and analyze how that hull cuts through water using SolidWorks Simulation.” “The Cedarville design team has a long track record of winning the Solar Splash competition and provides a fantastic example of how to build a robust engineering program using SolidWorks,” said Marie Planchard, director of education at Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks. “We’re looking forward to seeing how the team does at this year’s Solar Splash event and to welcoming Cedarville’s current class to the design industry.”
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