Think Before Choosing New CAD Tools

The adoption of CAD technology for product design is widespread across the globe. There are number of CAD tools available today that offer cutting-edge technological advancements with every new version launch.

May 25, 2015 -- However, does all the hype about latest CAD tools actually help the organization in developing products better and faster? For some, adopting new technology is simply to ensure that they are not left behind, while there are manufacturers that adopt new CAD tools just because their management feels that using some specialized tools can help in improving the design, but aren’t sure whether it will be right or not.

Recent research from Business Advantage identified that majority of the organizations prefer to continue with their existing established and proven CAD technology as compared to adopting newer ones. Choosing the right CAD tool as such requires proper understanding of the existing situation. There is no such thing as good or bad CAD tool; instead there is definitely one best CAD tool for a specific task. It is the duty of CAD managers to think beyond the capabilities of the software available in the market and identify which one actually meets the specific needs of the organization.

Consider an example of an engineering firm that runs its design operations in 2D, but with the 3D hype all over, decision makers decide to implement 3D technology and purchase software, hire resources and implement changes in the design process whenever required.Things may sound normal till now, but within few months, the firm will begin facing problems. Costs will keep on mounting due to investments in infrastructure and resources, existing established CAD systems will break down as shop floor requirements will be different from the one generated using 3D tools, addition of new features for design process will bring no new benefit or improve the design as compared to the established systems.

Situations like these are very common for manufacturers who blindly took the decision to upgrade their systems without actually examining existing conditions. New features to calculate loads and other design features would make no sense and add up to the cost, in case when the existing system is already tuned to do such calculations.

Companies manufacturing products since decades are bound to have all the possible design information and adding or transforming the existing systems to 3D, just to stay in sync with the technology would only increase the cost of product development.

Thus, it is important to identify the requirement of the organization before thinking of switching the CAD technology.

Following key questions are needed to be answered first:

  • What features will the new CAD tool provide to improve the design process?
  • Are there any phases in the design process that are broken or require overhauling?
  • How well are the existing systems optimized?

If 3D helps in obtaining better and accurate designs, and the design process works smoother but needs an upgrade, then transformation to adopt new CAD system can be logical. However, if the existing system is being customized to specific requirements of the design process, it is important to figure out the effect of losing all those important tunings that were done over many years.

The fundamental requirement before choosing the right CAD tool for your organization is to identify how the company’s design processes evolved using the existing CAD technology. If there are tools that can be improved by simply tweaking or optimizing them, the switch to new system would make no sense.

About Author: Nikunj Patel is a design engineer working with Hi-Tech CADD Services for the past 4 years. He loves designing specialized industrial equipments and can always be found in the lab discussing, brainstorming & tweaking designs. He has also worked on architectural projects taking interest in every aspect of design & analysis.

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