This module is part of a series of modules defining competencies that an engineering analyst or simulation engineer would be expected to possess in order to carry out safe and effective analyses in the various module areas. In this regard the modules may be considered to be defining standards of competency in this area. The competencies and modules as they stand would define necessary requirements, but not sufficient requirements, for safe and effective analysis and simulation. In particular, industry specific competencies and non-technical competencies have not yet been included, as discussed below.
In general most modules will have specified pre-requisites and any pre-requisite modules should be examined for relevant competencies. It should also be recognised that most engineering analyses and simulations will involve competencies from quite a few modules.
Not all modules will be relevant to all analysts (e.g. buckling may not be an issue for the components being designed and manufactured by a particular company) and not all competencies in modules will be relevant to all analysts and organisations (e.g. welding may not be a process used and hence competencies relating to fatigue of welds may not be relevant).
As well as defining a general standard level of competence, the statements with their links to specific references, should also provide a good basis for informal learning in a work-based environment (a refresher for some and a basis for a move into new areas, preferably under the guidance of a mentor, for others). That is not to say that the competencies could not also be used for the development of short courses, text books or other learning material. For such structured purposes, the competencies would no doubt benefit from a re-sequencing in some areas. The competencies could also be used as the basis for interview questions and the production of self-test quizzes and even formal examinations. In this case each competency would benefit from the development of associated threshold statements, defining a base level of achievement as well as a comprehensive level.
This module aims to provide a non-industry-specific coverage of Optimization of structural configurations. The following points are also worthy of note:
1. Effective Optimization analysis skills will require an underpinning knowledge of a much broader range of competences than is presented in this module. The use of optimization in a safe and effective manner requires a good understanding of the analysis disciplines that are defined in the optimization task.
2. All competence statements and references can be modified, deleted or replaced as necessary. New modules can also be added. In this way, the competence framework can be tailored to particular sector or company needs.
3. The bias in this module is Optimization with Structural Analysis as a core discipline, with other disciplines brought into an Optimization study as required. Optimization from a purely CFD or Thermal analysis perspective for example, is not considered in isolation.
4. Competency statements are referenced back to textbook and other sources. The references cited in this module reflect the particular set of references available to the author and it is certain that other references may be applicable. Addition to the reference list with source and module is actively encouraged.
5. While the module extends significantly beyond an introduction to the subject, it does not address research topics, areas not in general use across industry sectors or techniques specific to a sector.
6. Clearly effective analysis will require a range of industry-specific competences and these have yet to be developed. It is anticipated that in the future, various competence frameworks will be developed to address the needs of particular sectors. These generic modules will provide the basis for this. This will involve the development of new modules as well as a “flavouring” of the current generic modules to provide specific industry focus.