Espacios. Vol. 35 (Nº 3) Año 2014. Pág. 13

Mechanics Production Engineering Education: a Comparative Study Between Brazil and France

Ensino en Engenharia de Produção Mecânica: um estudo comparativo entre o Brasil ea França

Evandro Eduardo BRODAY 1; Pedro Paulo ANDRADE JÚNIOR 2

Recibido: 18/11/13 • Aprobado: 19/01/14


This article had as main objective to compare the teaching of Mechanical Production Engineering offered by the Federal Technological University of Paraná – Brazil and the Génie des Systèmes Mécaniques course offered by the Université de Technologie de Compiègne in France. The article is characterized as a bibliographical research, and for its realization, data from two universities were collected, as well as information of the educational system of each country. It was analyzed the main similarities and differences between these two courses, as well as ways of applying and enrolling, syllabus, curriculum and diploma attainment. It was found that the courses have big differences in their teaching and curricular structure.
Key-words: Production Engineering. Comparative Study. Curriculum.

Este artigo teve como preocupação central comparar o currículo de ensino de Engenharia de Produção Mecânica oferecido pela Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná e o curso de Génie des Systèmes Mécaniques, ofertado pela Université de Technologie de Compiègne, na França. O artigo caracteriza-se como uma pesquisa bibliográfica, sendo que para sua realização foram coletados dados dos sites das duas universidades, bem como informações do sistema educacional de cada país.Analisaram-se as principais semelhanças e diferenças entre esses dois cursos, bem como as formas de acesso, conteúdos estudados e obtenção do diploma. Verificou-se que os cursos apresentam grandes diferenças em sua estrutura e que não existem muitos estudos comparativos entre cursos de graduação de diferentes países.
Palavras chave: Engenharia de Produção. Estudo Comparativo. Currículo.

1. Introduction

Thereby, Undergraduate Engineering program should constantly make efforts to keep up with these advances, skilled and knowledgeable professionals to deal with a scenario of fast changes, uncertainty and complexity. The engineers must be able to adapt engineering solutions in the context of social, economic, political, cultural and environmental, having knowledge of the impact of local actions in the rest of the world. (Parashar; Parashar, 2012).

For this, the quality of education in the teaching of engineering is critical. The new engineers should be prepared for engineering innovations and process management, and this is a way to develop the industry and meet the needs of society. (Sunthonkanokpong, 2011).

More and more researchers and educators are concerned about discussing the importance of cultural understanding in Engineering. This understanding helps students to make critical analysis and helps them to apply their knowledge to serve social needs. These kinds of concerns and discussions, in turn, give rise to considerations of what and how cultural elements can be incorporated in the curriculum of Engineering. (Siu, 2003).

Taking into account the importance of engineering in modern world, Production Engineering is highlighted among them. According to the Brazilian Association of Production Engineering – ABEPRO (2013), the objective of the course is offering to the job market professionals capable of designing, operating, managing, and improving the production systems of goods and services, considering human, economic, social and environmental parameters.

The Production Engineering course is presented with great variety,both France and Brazil, making a comparison between these two courses possible. In addition, universities seek new challenges in creating new courses, adapting themselves to the needs of the economy and the increasing requirements of students’ training.

Despite being a relevant theme, there are few studies comparing the Production Engineering education between two countries. A study done compares Production Engineering between Brazil and Germany, in which similarities and differences are pointed out. (Weise; Trierweiller, 2010).

Learn about different forms of curricular structures, allows you to check the expectation of new methods and disciplines that can be taught. In this sense it is expected that there will be an evolution as the curricular matrix in the countries analyzed, therefore benefiting students in universities of both countries.

So, this article will deal with the teaching of Production Engineering in Brazil and France, seeking to verify similarities and differences in the development of students’ education. This study may be helpful for developing and enhancing the education objectives in the area of Production Engineering around the world.

2. Production engineering in Brazil and France

Engineering education is a big challenge that will have an impact on all the other big challenges of engineering. The future global engineer competencies must be: (1) technically adept, widely knowledgeable and culturally aware; (2) having an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit and understand world markets; (3) knowing how to translate technological innovation into commercially viable products and services; and (4) being professionally agile and flexible. (Sunthonkanokpong, 2011).

In Brazil, the Production Engineering is one of the engineering courses on the rise. For Naveiro (2005), the production engineer is the only professional available in the job market capable of seeing the problems globally.

Are considered sub-areas of knowledge typically attached to Production Engineering as follows:

a) Operations and Production Processes Engineering. ABEPRO (2013):

b) Logistics;

c) Operational Research;

d) Quality Engineering;

e) Product Engineering;

f) Organizational Engineering;

g) Economic Engineering;

h) Works Engineering;

i) Sustainable Engineering;

j) Education in Production Engineering.

A feature that differs production engineers from managers is that engineers are able to solve analytical problems, mobilizing the resources needed to business and industrial problem solutions.

Regarding the course in France, for the French Ministry of National Education (2008), the professionals majored in Production Engineering are able to optimize the overall performance of the company. These engineers are able to conceive, install, and operate systems of goods and services production, considering the set of technical, human, organizational and financial factors. They also will be able to follow up and guide employees towards targeted objectives, always focusing on human relations.

The engineering education worldwide is based on the fact that practical learning and the application of scientific knowledge are vital. Therefore, undergraduates in engineering need to assimilate knowledge while simultaneously acquire skills in experimentation, calculation and problem solving. The ways of applying and enrolling to a Brazilian and a French University differ significantly. In Brazil, both public and private universities require selective entrance tests, having as a minimum prerequisite to join University, the completion of high school. Private and State universities have an entrance exam; those who get the best results take up a vacancy. Federal institutions adopted a system known by the Brazilian acronym of ENEM – National Exam of High School. (Sardana; Arya, 2003).

ENEM is an exam which students are tested according to their high school content and, subsequently, they fill up a register form indicating all universities that they would like to attend. The highest notes get the first vacancies. The student has a chance to join one University, even if failing to be ranked in another.

The French higher education system differs from Brazilian. In the case of engineering courses, they are divided into two parts: the common core and the cycle of engineer. The common core is composed of two years or four semesters, and discusses technical and scientific subjects of mathematics, physics, chemistry, informatics and programming methods. No matter which engineering the undergraduate chooses, the common core curriculum is the same for everyone.

To be admitted in a French University, the student must obtain the baccalauréat diploma. This diploma is part of the French educational system, which objective is to validate the end of high school and give access to higher education. (ÉDUSCOL 2011).

There are three types of baccalauréat diploma: the General, technological and scientific. The General is destined to the one who has an interest in continuing his studies in economic and social areas. The technological is for technological areas and the professional leads the way to start a professional life. (ÉDUSCOL,2011).

To obtain the baccalauréat students should achieve at least 12/20 note. After knowing his grade, the student will apply for a French University, meeting the prerequisites of each one.

Knowing the characteristics of Production Engineering in Brazil and in France, as well as their ways of applying, with the next item, it was sought to point out the differences found between these two courses, curriculum and professional education.

3. Methodology

According to the methodological theorizing proposed by Yin (2005), the present study develops as a research of basic nature. The approach of the problem happens in a qualitative way. The goals are analyzed from the point of view. The technical procedures are based on literature review about the topics, as of bibliographical research with books, articles, using data from projects of Mechanical Production Engineering course of the Federal Technological University of Paraná (UTFPR), data from the website of the Génie des Systèmes Mécaniques of Université de Technologie de Compiègne and also data from Brazil and France education system.

This is a basic search, because it aims to generate new and useful knowledge to the science development without practical application. This work focuses on analysis to serve the objective and elucidate a critical point of view. The context of this work converges in creating an analysis that made possible to compare and explain the teaching of Production Engineering between Brazil and France. (Silva; Menezes, 2001).

The organization of data was made to admire the central axis of the article, which is to describe the procedures involved in the professional training of production engineering in Brazil and France and its academic development.

It is important to highlight the lack of comparative studies between courses, so the lack of an empirical state that supports the ideas proposed here, which came from a bibliographical study of various materials. Therefore, there is still a wide path to be covered in order to the present study reaches their full academicals, methodological, and bibliographical.

4. Analysis and discussion

This study sought to compare the Mechanical Production Engineering course offered by Federal Technological University of Paraná - Ponta Grossa Campus and the Génie des Systèmes Mécaniques course offered by the Université de Technologie de Compiègne.

It is up to the student to follow the set up curriculum. The only subjects the student can choose are the electives (180 hours). There is also the group of electives from Humanities, 90 hours, focused on student’s human and social development. (UTFPR, 2007). After completing the curriculum, the student receives the Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Production Engineering. The curriculum of the course can be viewed in table 1:

Table 1 - Curriculum of UTFPR Major in Mechanical Production Engineering in 2011

Mandatory Subjects

1st Period

  • Introduction to engineering
  • Oral and written communication
  • Technical Drawing
  • Physics 1
  • Differential and Integral Equations 1
  • Mathematics 1
  • Chemistry

2nd period

  • Career management
  • Research Methodologies
  • Physics 2
  • General mechanics 1
  • Differential and Integral Equations 2
  • Computing 1
  • Drawing on Computer
  • Materials science

3rd period

  • Circuits analysis
  • Technology and development
  • Physics 3
  • General mechanics 2
  • Differential and Integral Equations 3
  • Mathematics 2
  • Numerical Analysis
  • Mechanics Building Materials

4th period

  • Basics of Management
  • Probability and statistics
  • Fluid mechanics
  • Mechanical Testing
  • Principles of solid mechanics
  • Mechanical Metrology
  • Thermodynamics
  • Operational research 1

5th period

  • Heat transfer
  • Hydraulics and Pneumatics
  • Welding
  • Casting
  • Mechanical Components
  • Product engineering
  • Operations research 2
  • Strategic planning and Industrial Organization

6th period

  • Analysis of mechanisms
  • Metalforming
  • Machining
  • Steam generation and distribution
  • Quality management
  • Logistics and materials handling
  • Production planning and control
  • Economic and financial engineering

7th period

  • Management of innovation and technology
  • Ethics, Citizenship and Profession
  • Programming devices 1
  • Flow machines
  • Industrial Instrumentation
  • Work Organization and Ergonomics
  • Factory design
  • Environmental management systems

8th period

  • Costs and Accouting
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Refrigeration
  • Computer Numerical Control
  • Basics of Engineering and safety at work
  • Planning and maintenance management

9th period

  • Final project 1

10th period

  • Final project 2
  • Internship

Optional subjects

  • Subjects of the Humanities

Industrial Data Processing
Industrial Networks
Industrial Electric Drives
Energy and energy efficiency
Machining with Non-defined Geometry
Nonconventional machining processes
Alloy Development
Casting projects
Powder metallurgy
Metalforming Projects
Analysis of welded products
Thermal Systems

  • Philosophy of science and technology
  • History of technique and technology
  • Basics of Ethics
  • Topics in Environmental Engineering
  • Quality of life
  • English for Specific Purpose (ESP)
  • French for Specific Purpose (FSP)

Source: Adapted from the Mechanical Production Engineering Undergraduation Project (ABEPRO, 2013); (UTFPR, 2007).

According to the project, the Mechanical Production Engineer’s profile:

"... Includes a strong scientific-theoretical training, combined with intensive laboratory activities, supervised internship and final project. The curriculum focuses on interdisciplinarity, structured on scientific knowledge, technological and management basis. Mechanical Production Engineer is a proactive professional with ability of interpersonal relationship and ease of communication " (ABEPRO, 2013); (UTFPR, 2007).

In the common core curriculum there are three groups of subjects: TM -techniques and methods, SK - scientific knowledge and THS - Technology of the Human Sciences. To advance to the cycle of engineer, the student must achieve a minimum of 102 credits, being at least 48 TM credits, 24 SK credits and 24 THS credits.

When advancing to the cycle of engineer, in the third year, the student must opt for an engineering formation. Besides that, the student must choose a specialty. It is considered here the course of Génie des Systèmes Mécaniques and it has four specializations. (UTFPR, 2007); (UTC, 2013a); (UTC, 2013b); (UTC, 2013d):

1. Integrated Mechanical Design: focused on mechanical design, this specialization is complemented by a deepening in mastering Integrated Engineering, ensuring the development of complex engineering systems;

2. Modeling and Optimization of Products and Structures: mechanics and numerical methods are complemented by studies concerning the modeling and optimization of structures. There is also a theoretical and technological education, aiming at preparing the student for professional context;

3. Integrated Production and Logistics: the specialization is complemented by courses regarding the organization and management of production, industrialization, quality control, reliability, as well as the industrial supply chain management;

4. Project Management and Innovation: focused on project management and technological innovation.

Also in this step, the student can choose the subjects that will attend. The subjects offered are listed in table 2:

Table 2 - Curriculum of UTC Major in Génie des Systèmes Mécaniques in 2011

SK - Scientific Knowledge

SP – Training courses and Projects

TM -techniques and methods

  • General electricity
  • Basis of linear electronics
  • Revision of mathematics
  • Elements of strength of materials
  • Strength of materials : fundamentals
  • Vibration mechanics
  • Introduction to mechanical properties and ingineering of materials
  • Kinematics and dynamics of systems
  • Numerical analysis
  • Mathematical methods in engineering
  • Methods and programmes for solving engineering problems
  • Statistical methods for research and manufacturing
  • Linear servo systems : analysis and control
  • Modelisation of discrete event systems
  • Incompressible fluid mechanics
  • Engineer internship placement (6 months)
  • Engineer assistant internship placement (6 months)
  • Integrated mechanical design
  • Modelling - optimization of products and structures
  • Integrated production and logistics
  • Modelling of biomechanic systems
  • Statistical process control
  • Introduction to eco-design and life cycle assessment
  • Methodology and value analysis
  • Economy and quality control
  • Industrial reliability
  • Project management
  • Management of technical resources
  • Management and marketing of innovation
  • Projects management
  • Principles of programmation
  • Fluid transport machinery
  • Production and shaping
  • Supply chain management
  • Tribology
  • Finite element structural analysis
  • Optimization in mechanics
  • Finite element for crash modeling and impact analysis
  • Dynamics of structures
  • Sensors technology and instrumentation
  • Introduction to microcomputers
  • Introduction to databases
  • Project realisation
  • Applied acoustics
  • Modal analysis in acoustics and vibrations
  • Simulation and advanced methods of optimization
  • Virtual reality
  • Introduction to electromechanical systems
  • Modelling and management of production systems
  • Introduction to mechanical design
  • Mechanical design
  • Mechanical design of machine elements
  • Hydraulic power
  • Creation of activity, product, company
  • Cad : geometrical modelling
  • Product lifecycle management and collaborative design
  • Elements of the design function
  • Manufacturing engineering
  • Tools for systems' engineering and development
  • Cax in a professional context
  • Laboratory project

Source: Adapted from the Génie des Systèmes Mécaniques Project. (UTFPR, 2007); (UTC, 2013a); (UTC, 2013b); (UTC, 2013c); (UTC, 2013d).

To validate this phase, it is necessary a minimum of 120 credits, divided in: a minimum of 84 SK and TM credits, 28 THS credits and the rest of SP subjects. After passing through the common core and the cycle of engineer, to obtain the diploma is required English proficiency, students who achieve at least 800 points on TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication). The student who gets allcredits will earn the title of Master of Engineering. (UTFPR, 2007); (UTC, 2013a); (UTC, 2013b); (UTC, 2013c); (UTC,2013d).

In this item is possible to identify the difference between the education system in these countries: in Brazil, the student must follow a given study plan. In France, you can choose the curricular units that will attend.

5. Conclusions

The engineering profession requires engineers to recognize, validate and solve problems on their own or as a team. Most importantly, they must demonstrate original and critical thinking and creativity and innovation in their way of developing the work. (Liu; Schönwetter, 2004).

Engineers face an increasingly complex world in which problems like poverty, sustainability and the merging of economic crises tend to become extremely common situations. Engineering graduates must be able to work in a team to assess the needs and create solutions to local and/or global issues. (Sunthonkanokpong, 2011).

This article had as purpose to perform a comparative study between the types of education of Production Engineering in these two countries. In this study, some differences were found: the first, regarding University’s ways of applying and enrolling. In Brazil, the student must get through a selective entrance test, while in France, the student must obtain their baccalauréat diploma and apply for the vacancy. It can be stated that the French system gives more opportunities for admission to students, once as the number of students is much lower than in Brazil.

Another important difference is in the way of teaching. In France, during the first two years all engineering are the same. The students will choose only their specialty in the third year, having more time to check what their real inclinations are, and keep his studies. In Brazil, the student must choose at the beginning of his studies which specialty to attend. This explains the high numbers of dropouts in the initial years of engineering undergraduation courses in Brazil.

An interesting fact is how the studies are performed in France. The student has the freedom to choose the subjects that will attend, within pre-established limits. In Brazil, this can only be done with electives. In Brazil, the engineer earns only a Bachelor's degree, while in France the student finishes his studies with the title of Master as well.

Despite of the fact that comparing these two undergraduation courses in these two countries being an interesting topic, there are not many studies like this these days, with a huge field for future studies and researches that remains. Finally, the growth of engineering courses of production is evident in both the countries, because the companies of the new economy and global competition require technical skills management, characteristic of the formation of the engineer of production.


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1. Federal Technological University of Paraná – Brazil. Department of Production Engineering. E-mail:
2. Federal Technological University of Paraná – Brazil. Department of Production Engineeringand Technology E-mail:

Vol. 35 (Nº 3) Año 2014

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