Product Engineering is a crucial competence for a modern engineer. The jobs in the Chemical Engineering sector have been evolving from commodities production to product development. So, the universities changed the curricula of Chemical Engineering to keep up with industry needs. Product development is particularly relevant in Portugal, where Small to Medium companies dominate the industrial sector, both in terms of number and job creation.
More than a decade ago, in 2009, the Master in Chemical Engineering Programme at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) started a course on Product Engineering. Prof. Alírio E. Rodrigues initially introduced this course based on the methodology of Cussler and Mogridge (2001, 2011). A detailed analysis of the implementation of Product Engineering in Chemical Engineering curricula was later published by Rodrigues and Cussler (2016).
In a nutshell, the chemical product development methodology lays in four cornerstones:
- Identification of market NEEDS;
- Coming up with several technical solutions to meet those NEEDS (IDEAS);
- The process of screening a small set of the best IDEAS (SELECTION);
- The study of implementation of the IDEAS, considering aspect as time to market, industrial processes design, regulation, Intelectual Property protection and economic analysis (MANUFACTURE).