Integration of 3D printing and industry 4.0 into engineering teaching

Siewhui Chong, Guan Ting Pan, Jitkai Chin, Pau Loke Show, Thomas Chung Kuang Yang, Chao Ming Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The rapid emergence of Industry 4.0 implies that our engineering graduates need to acquire new competences to adapt to the digital transformation. This paper evaluates the benefits of integrating 3D printing and Industry 4.0 into engineering undergraduate programs. Surveys were conducted to gather the feedbacks and views from academics and students. 75% and 86% of the participating students and lecturers, respectively, have heard about Industry 4.0. 63% of the students were exposed to modules with such elements. Tangible 3D-printed models enable visualization of fundamental theories and concepts. Enhanced 3D drawing skills and rapid 3D-printed prototypes can greatly help students study common processing equipment, manufacturing, maintenance, logistics, and operations. Some limitations were identified such as budgeting, lack of knowledge, and difficulty in changing from traditional pedagogy. This paper thus proposes a blended learning model for integrating Industry 4.0 into engineering teaching, which consists of traditional, online learning, and flipped classroom approaches. Implementation of the model can be started off with cross-multidisciplinary collaborations or expert-led training for the instructors, followed by traditional face-to-face teaching and online learning. Flipped classroom is one of the essential components of the model which encourages learning-by-making approaches such as 'bring your own device' and 'do it yourself'. Integrating Industry 4.0 into engineering teaching can create a student-based learning environment, where students are gradually trained to become proactive and lifelong learners who are more conscious of the environment and economy.

Original languageBritish English
Article number3960
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number11
StatePublished - 31 Oct 2018


  • 3D printing
  • 4D printing
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Blended learning
  • Engineering education
  • Industry 4.0
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Smart
  • Teaching


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