Changing CAD Trends Emerge In 2014

Business Advantage recently published a paper about CAD Trends in 2014.  Two subjects in this paper resonated with me:  (1) the prevalence of 3D CAD Modeling in AEC/Manufacturing and Process & Plant and the growing importance of Mobile CAD.  While AEC applications were the first to adopt 3D Modeling and mobile CAD, simply because of the ease with which Architects could provide virtual models for their clients and the immediacy with which the Building Manager could change the plans on site, today, the manufacturing industry runs a close second to AEC in the adoption of 3D modeling (including full-blown BIM models) as well as mobile CAD applications.

Let’s look at why manufacturing has become sold on 3D modeling.

 

Today’s manufacturing industry is highly dependent on CAD, and especially on 3D CAD.  3D CAD is considered the most versatile software application for superior product design and delivery, as well as for management of the manufacturing process through interaction with CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines.  CNC machines are automated milling devices that make industrial components without direct human assistance. They use coded instructions that are sent to an internal computer, allowing factories to fabricate parts accurately and quickly.3D CAD

From automobiles and airplanes to cosmetic containers and athletic shoes, when design and manufacture are involved, 3D CAD and CNC machines are there. There are a number of advantages in the use of 3D CAD, including efficiency, cost reduction and faster time to market. 3D CAD modeling is being incorporated into nearly every type of design and manufacture.

This is because by using 3D parametric models 3D CAD aids in finding the most economical components, the best designs and most durable materials for nearly any manufactured product.  With the use of 3D CAD growing, many manufacturers are using outsourced 3D CAD services to reduce the internal time spent in design and draft mode and to enable production to move forward more quickly.   Once the initial design has been conceived, 3D CAD services can complete the modeling, using the scheduling components and bills of material (BOM) in tandem with the maturing of the 3D CAD model, so that when the time comes to begin manufacturing, everything is ready to go.

Adopting 3D modeling design has become a standard approach for manufacturing because of the design advantages that increase competitive advantage while reducing costs.  The advantages of outsourcing 3D CAD services cannot be underestimated and can play a vital role in keeping down the costs of design and 3D modeling.  Experienced 3D CAD services outsource firms can offer proficient 3D CAD designers, who can provide quality designs and are a well-trained and experienced extension of your internal design staff.  Reliable 3D CAD services require their employees to maintain a high degree of ongoing training and use only valid copies of the most up-to-date software versions.

What Makes Mobile CAD so Desirable?

First, let’s look at what Mobile CAD really is.  According to a Cadalyst Labs Report by Curt Moreno, and published online on 21 Aug 2014, “A wide and growing range of CAD software can be used away from a traditional desktop workstation, but not all of it is considered mobile CAD.”

I’ll admit, that statement had me a bit confused – if it can be used away from the traditional desktop, doesn’t that make it mobile? The next sentence in the article clarified things for me, as Curt explained that the idea of mobile can get “blurred by the fact that some hardware types — such as powerful tablets, which you might consider to be mobile devices — can operate full-blown installations of the Windows operating system and, in turn, run full-blown desktop CAD software.”

Mobile CAD apps are small footprint installations for mobile phones.  Some are even free.  Cadalyst provides a great overview of these apps, so I’m not going to step on their toes by reiterating what they’ve said.  Just suffice it to say, that mobile apps are probably not the software of choice for start to finish designing, but the right CAD app can be a great addition to your smartphone when you need to view or edit files on the go.  And that’s what makes it so desirable – like all mobile applications, mobile CAD gives you the immediacy of being able to do it now, no matter where you are.

Currently, about 21% of CAD users use mobile apps, and that number is expected to increase to 31% over the next year.  If you’re one of the 10% who plans to go mobile with their CAD, AutoCAD has an entire page on their website devoted to mobile apps, while Dassault Systemes (makers of CATIA) have a 3D viewing app available on Itunes, and there is a Solid Edge mobile viewer available on Google Play.

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