The exponential progress of technology and the evolution of new production processes do not allow universities, simply from an economic point of view, to have the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art equipment. Still, it is necessary to pass on to students complex technologies that are basically comparable to, or compatible with, high-end processes.
It is also of growing importance to incorporate aspects of the production process in the early stage of a design project, such as the disposition of a company projected to the outside world, its corporate identity, and to integrate this comprehensively in the production process. Whoever is designing a product needs expertise of the various options and alternatives in manufacturing.
So, in the production of small lots the tooling costs may be extensive, and the designer needs to know what else to do. In addition to expertise of production processes, students need to gather experience with materials, and address such issues as:
To which degree can you bend sheet metal?
When does an anodised aluminium finish tear?
Under how much impact will plastic coating flake off?
What is the torque limit?
Where and when is it sensible to use inseparable compounds?
In design education the unstoppable dynamics of high-tech must be replaced, and transformed into, sensible, feasible, and tangible low-tech dimensions.