Reusing CAD Models to Shorten Design Development Process

May 4, 2015 -- Product development today is quite challenging as there is a continuously pressing need from the market to manufacture products faster, requiring the reduction of development cycles. It has become mandatory for manufacturing firms to seek out innovation in their manufacturing strategy right from conceptualization to final production.

Although there is an increasing adoption of automation, it is the design phase that always consumes considerable amount of time. Despite the use of advanced CAD tools to directly model 3D objects as compared to traditional 2D modeling, research shows that most manufacturers do not utilize the full potential of 3D. To significantly reduce the product development time, design reuse is one of the most useful strategies that every manufacturer should employ.

Developing a new product right from scratch and then validating the design can consume considerable time. However, the same product can be developed faster by identifying components that can be reused again. Such strategy is ideally suited for manufacturers developing standard parts.

Any new product design can be developed simply by calling the old CAD model and performing required modifications straight away to produce a new revision quickly. CAD companies are increasingly adopting this strategy due to productivity benefits it offers.

However, reusing CAD model requires good amount of time to build and manage the library, but it ultimately helps companies to gain control over their CAD data.

There are several ways to implement CAD model reuse strategy in you design process:

Use Crowdsourcing

There are several online crowdsourcing options available that provide free CAD models through online channels. Community sites such as GrabCAD provide users access to upload and download and share CAD models freely. However, since models are developed by anyone, it is important to check the model’s accuracy before using it.

Develop CAD Library

One of the best ways is to create your own CAD library for reuse. Today, most of the CAD software provides the facility to create libraries of parts and part families that can be reused again whenever required, simply by searching for that part. While this approach can help increase the productivity of individual designer, it is difficult to share the library across departments.

Integrate Library with PLM/PDM Systems

To overcome the difficulty of sharing the libraries across departments, PLM/PDM systems can be useful. Integrating the libraries with these systems makes it easier to share and reuse the designs at departmental level. The centralized repository can be accessed by any department falling inside the PLM system.

Create Online Catalogs

There are several companies like TraceParts and CADENAS PARTsolutions that help in creating a master catalog of standard parts developed in-house or by external vendors. Having all the information online makes it easier to reuse parts that are error-free.

About Author: Gaurang Trivedi is Engineering consultant at TrueCADD. He has applied his engineering expertise across several highly complex and big scale projects, consequently managing to flawlessly deliver as per the client requirements.




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