When we say students are the engineers of tomorrow, there is a double meaning. The students of today will leave university and start working as engineers, researchers, and designers, but there’s another way students will shape the world.
The academic community is working to create a better tomorrow by engineering a brighter future, and that’s what Hexagon’s Academic Programme is all about. We are excited to present an exclusive interview with Alex Reichanadter, the driving force behind Hexagon’s Design and Engineering Academics Programme.
Alex Reichanadter, a Ph.D. holder in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University, is a champion of engineering and education. Joining Hexagon in 2021, Alex’s expertise is a natural fit for Hexagon’s mission of putting data to work to empower an autonomous future.
Now, as the leader of Hexagon’s Design and Engineering Academics Programme, he spearheads efforts to empower the academic community with the power of Hexagon’s design and engineering portfolio. In this Q&A, we explore the programme’s vision, its impact on the academic community, and the ways it equips future engineers with the tools they need to thrive in the fascinating world of advanced engineering.
Q: Why does Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence Division invest in an Academic Programme?
Alex: We like to say that students are the engineers of the future. When you unpack it, there’s a lot of meaning in that phrase. Students, and the wider academic community, have an inherent curiosity about the world around them. Hexagon, with its world-renowned design and engineering software portfolio, aims to empower innovation and autonomy. Extending our capabilities to future engineers through a comprehensive academic programme, including free student editions of our core software, is a natural progression. These future engineers are integral to the autonomous future we envision.
Q: How can students, educators, and researchers make the most of Hexagon’s software?
Alex: We provide quick start guides and comprehensive tutorials for first-time users, allowing them to explore the full potential of our software. We also sponsor student teams when they enter competitions by offering them full software versions and enabling them to tackle real product development challenges. For educators, our curriculum kits are designed to integrate engineering principles into the classroom. For researchers, we offer lab-level licensing for easy access to software. We’ve also simplified the way academia references our software in literature by providing templates for citations.
Q: Could you share a success story or case study that exemplifies the impact of Hexagon’s Academic Programme?
Alex: We’ve got the University of Paderborn’s team as an example. That’s a design competition where students compete to build and test a formula-style racing car. By using our tools, the students optimised their car’s design, demonstrating how our software aids in weight reduction and performance enhancement. Our academic programme bridges the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application and it gives the students a real-world example of what we can do, and it’s a lot of fun too!
Q: How does Hexagon’s Academic Programme address the challenges faced by the education sector?
Alex: Our curriculum kits provide professors with modules that visualise engineering principles taught in the classroom. We try to provide ways to integrate our technology into coursework preparing students for real-world projects and the professional environment outside of university.
In many cases, our software is industry-standard, used in 95% of all cars produced, 75% of smartphones, and 90% of aircraft. Offering free access equips students with sought-after skills and enhances their resumes.
Q: Can you tell us about the global impact of Hexagon’s Academic Programme?
Alex: Absolutely. Our programme has reached over 4,000 students across 80+ universities through various events, workshops, and demonstrations. These efforts aren’t confined to the US—they span the globe, encompassing Europe, Japan, Korea, North America, and South America. Italy is currently leading the pack in downloading student editions, so other countries should take note.
Q: What’s the and how does it contribute to the academic community?
Alex: The Student Ambassador Programme is a special part of our Academic Programme. It aims to empower highly engaged and motivated students by giving them a free licence to the professional version of the software they are interested in. The student works with software to solve the challenges of their project and then they share their knowledge with other ambassadors and the wider academic community. Ambassadors gain full access to our software, sharing their experiences and insights on a global platform. This community approach enriches the learning experience for everyone.
Q: Can you share a personal story that illustrates the programme’s impact?
Alex: There was an intern we hired recently called Bryan Chisaki. He was interested in the business side of engineering, conducting market research on material applications in the electric car market. At first he struggled to get the information he needed online but he overcame that by directly contacting companies. He discovered a passion for business development and sales, leading to a really interesting career that’s he pursuing today.
Hexagon’s Design & Engineering Academics Programme stands as a beacon of empowerment for future engineers, educators, and researchers worldwide. Through free software access, practical application modules, and a global community, Hexagon is shaping the engineers of tomorrow, equipping them to tackle challenges and create a better future in the pursuit of knowledge by putting data to work.