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Lawrence Tech adopts CATIA V5 engineering design software

Release Date: November 14, 2007

Southfield, Mich. Lawrence Technological University has adopted CATIA V5 software with a retail value of $67 million that provides its students with access to an engineering computer-aided design (CAD) platform widely used in the aerospace and automotive industries.

The software came through the Higher Education and Training (HEAT) program, a joint initiative between of Mississauga, Ontario, IBM and Dassault Systèmes aimed at delivering real-world, hands-on experience to engineering students in today’s high-tech, competitive job market. Lawrence Tech signed a licensing agreement with prior to the start of the fall semester.

Lawrence Tech is one of the few colleges in the country that provide all undergraduate students with laptop computers. The CATIA V5 software has been installed on the laptops of more than 1,000 engineering students and is available to other students. Students can use the software when they are off campus.

CATIA, an acronym for computer-aided, three-dimensional interactive application, was developed by Dassault Systemès for designing the Mirage fighter jet and is now used by Boeing, Ford, Chrysler and many other aerospace and automotive companies and suppliers.  Architect Frank Gehry used CATIA to design the famous Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain.

CATIA V5 covers a wide range of engineering design activities, such as 3D modeling, engineering structural and thermal analysis, manufacturing simulation, HVAC design, engineering drawings, and engineering visualization and simulation. All of these areas represent practical skills employers seek, according to Steven Howell, interim associate provost at Lawrence Tech and former chairman of the Mechanical Engineering Department.  

“Companies that employ our graduates are asking for engineers familiar with this software,” Howell said. “And, with training, our students can easily become ‘bilingual’ with other CAD software.”

CATIA V5 has been very valuable to Lawrence Tech’s student team that has entered Formula Zero, an international competition to design and race a vehicle powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.

“Using material properties and parameters we have built into our design, we can run and develop simulations for vehicle dynamics, crash worthiness, and understand important properties such as center of gravity,” said Lawrence Tech student Raj Daftuar.  

The CATIA software can also be used to enhance student learning at Lawrence Tech in areas outside of engineering.

“CATIA V5 moves beyond the old-fashioned standard of creating a box or cylinder and then removing or adding material to it,” said John Hayes, president of “More powerful software helps draw out the creativity within students, allowing them to capture the emotional content of their design quickly and easily.”

For instance, CATIA V5’s Imagine and Shape Module enables students to manipulate digital clay simply by pushing and pulling with the computer cursor.  This higher functionality allows users to quickly create extremely complex surfaces and incorporate them easily into their designs. is an Internet-based software business that offers hosted and deployed engineering software and services to manufacturers, design consultants and engineering academia around the world. The Inc. head office is located in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, and can be reached toll-free at (877) 997-9917 or through the Internet at

Lawrence Technological University,, offers more than 60 Undergraduate, Master’s, and Doctoral degree programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. Founded in 1932, the 5,000-student, private university pioneered evening classes 75 years ago, and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus is in Southfield, with education centers in Livonia, Clinton Township, Traverse City, and Petoskey. Lawrence Tech also offers programs with partner universities in Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia.