Lawrence Tech Implements CATIA as Design Tool Standard

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Paris-based Dassault Systèmes (Paris:DSY) said Monday that Lawrence Technological University in Southfield has integrated its CATIA design software into its curriculum as its foundational design system starting with the 2009-10 Transportation Design freshman class.

The first U.S. college design program to implement CATIA as a design standard, Lawrence Tech currently has 120 seats of the system.

The Lawrence Tech Transportation Design program was initiated in 2007 at the request of automotive industry OEMs and their desire for designers with more technical aptitude. Each class is assigned a vehicle project for the year, which is then championed by an executive designer from each of the sponsoring companies. Currently, the freshman class is developing a new vehicle for the Millennial Generation under the leadership of Ford’s Moray Callum; sophomores are involved on a Jeep project under the direction of John Sgalia; the junior class is working with Calty Design’s Miljan Jevremovic on a futuristic concept vehicle as well as a customer connectivity project for Visteon, while the senior class is developing a urban electric vehicle for Victor Nacif of Nissan Europe Design.

“With CATIA as the predominant product creation solution for product development in automotive, aerospace and other industries,” said Keith Nagara, director of Lawrence Tech’s transportation design program, “incorporating its instruction into our program is providing our students expanded creative capability, as well as the skill sets needed to operate in the working world by integrating and executing more on the technical side of their designs.”

Nagara explained that 2D design concepts typically must be translated to 3D surfacing models to develop the section geometry while trying to maintain the design intent. By developing the vehicle in CATIA from the start, designers eliminate the need for others to interpret their design, cutting out a step in the design process while also preserving the original design integrity.

Although the Transportation Design students are instructed in various design and modeling software, they are seeing significant flexibility and efficiency gains that can be made through CATIA for creative designers. With only 12 hours of CATIA training under his belt, student Colin Bonathan was able to develop a vehicle concept and complete surfacing in a day as compared to about a week to deliver the same results by Lawrence Tech students working in other software programs.

After receiving a half-hour tutorial on the CATIA Imagine and Shape module, student Jason Falenski was able to immediately put the solution to use. “CATIA has built-in parametric capability, making it very easy to explore and test a ton of ideas in a short period of time, allowing you to play with shapes versus clay models having to be digitized.”

CATIA Imagine and Shape allows users to start 3D ideation from scratch or from 2D sketches. Points on the shapes can then be grabbed and stretched, squeezed, moved or combined with other shapes through a set of easy commands. Falenski is also proficient in CATIA Generative Shape design where, on a recent project, he demonstrated the ability to develop customized vehicle body shapes, cut-outs and details in about half the time it would have taken him in alternative design programs.

The skill sets gained in this program are serving the students well. Senior Chris Nichols has received an internship at Volkswagen Germany starting in January while classmate Taylor Manuilow will be working at Peugeot in Paris through April, when she moves to Nissan Europe Design studio in London.

“CATIA’s ease of use and impact on innovative design is a real focus for us,” said Phil Borchard, CATIA shape and styling specialist America, Dassault Systèmes. “But, there are also significant business gains that can be made with 3D as the common language shared throughout the extended enterprise. This enables all disciplines in an organization – marketing, design studio, engineering, manufacturing, purchasing — to be involved concurrently in the product development process, helping to identify and eliminate potential issues early in the design cycle, thus bringing products to market more quickly.”

More at www.3ds.com or www.ltu.edu.

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