DS 123: Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2023)

Year: 2023
Editor: Buck, Lyndon; Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik
Author: Riess, Christian; Walter, Michael S. J.; Tyroller, Maria
Series: E&PDE
Institution: University of Applied Sciences Ansbach, Germany
Section: Design and engineering from under-represented perspectives
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2023.59
ISBN: 978-1-912254-19-4


Students not always enjoy an in-depth practical learning experience with an adequate portion of hands-on during their academic education. In many fields of study, traditional laboratories are common learning spaces that are, however, not accessible 24/7 and, the practical work is mostly pre-defined by the lecturer, resulting in a short and very “passive” active learning. To overcome this limitation and to provide a broader availability and to foster individual learning experience, we aim to transform this analog world into a modern learning and teaching environment using digital technologies and a corresponding digital framework for courses and laboratories. An existing laboratory on prototyping from our university’s bachelor program on sustainable engineering with an extensive machine park consisting of 3D printers, milling machines, lasers and various hand tools is digitized and will finally be linked with the real-world lab. In addition to digitizing the basic process of product development and prototyping as part of students' project works, all additional activities arising in the lab are also transferred from the analog to the digital world. This digitalization is implemented alongside the already existing (partly browser-based) software tools of the individual devices in the e-learning platform Moodle. This results in a digital copy of the lab, its equipment and defined processes – structured in accordance with the established proceedings on product development (such as Pahl/Beitz and VDI 2221). We consider it a digital twin of the work and learning environment, calling it the “digital learning environment twin” of the real-world lab. For the product development process, a course area is available in Moodle with various feedback loops and assessment levels for the individual development steps of the student projects. Through this, students can submit their project plans, design ideas, sketches, CAD-models, manufacturing codes (such as G-codes for 3D printers, laser cutters and carving machines), or “just” request feedback and initiate meetings on technical and/or organizational topics of their product design process, the lab equipment, etc. Also, a safety instruction with instructional videos, PDF documents with hazard warnings and operating instructions as well as a final test (to allow operating the lab equipment) are provided to introduce the students to the lab. In this paper, we will illustrate the overall methodological approach on the established digital learning environment twin of the lab. Furthermore, we will have a detailed view on the challenge of transferring underlying manufacturing process to the digital world and linking them to provide a continuous digital workflow. The paper will be closed with an analysis of feedback (by both students and lecturers) on the pros and cons as well as on the usability of the digital twin of the lab.

Keywords: product design, prototyping, digital twin, digital lab, moodle


Please sign in to your account

This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyse your use of our products and services, assist with our promotional and marketing efforts, and provide content from third parties. Privacy Policy.