Industrial and product design engineers & even architects have embraced PDF files to store their design data in form of blueprints owing to their own set of takeaways. Easy integration and the most versatile document format that can be opened conveniently when it comes to graphics are the benefits of using pdf.
PDFs have several drawbacks too. The non-editable format makes it difficult for the designers to use the PDF more than once. It makes the designer’s job challenging and time consuming even when minor design changes are to be made. However, designers can opt for PDF to CAD conversion, to pace up their work, reduce rework and focus more on leveraging their core competencies.
Secondly, PDFs consume immense amount of precious time for the design engineer to model and prepare detailed engineering drawings. This extends the design cycle time leaving no scope of innovations.
Design engineers when convert designs into CAD files, from DWG or DXF files, which stay digitally sorted for years, easily editable and can be reused multiple- times. It serves as a backup mechanism in case of design data alteration.
PDF is essentially a paper-print type format and consumes more space on hard drive; while on the other hand, CAD format stores 2D or 3D data in an efficient manner enclosing all the relevant formation like BOMs, weldment and machining details for CNC machines and much more.
Enlisted are some of the most common challenges CAD professionals and design engineers face while converting PDFs to DWG or DXF files.
Graphics related challenges
Vector graphics stored and used in PDF file are very limited. Circular entities, arcs or any other curved entities are absent in PDF. Usually made of B-splines or Bezier curves, these curves are extremely difficult to edit.
Upon encountering such complications, design engineers often opt for high-quality conversion software that can keep the design intents and importance of curves during conversion.
Converting line type files
A line is essentially treated as a circle with infinite radius in CAD. While in PDF, line type entities defined by the user are a sequence of dots and dashes, and its order and length completely depend on the length of the line. Misinterpretation while making the conversion leads to cascading adverse effects on the final CAD model or DWG file.
To overcome such challenges, design engineers ensure to determine the correct length, interpret dots and dashes and width of the line type entities to avoid any design data distortion during conversions.
Matter of text
For texts, PMI and geometrical dimensioning and tolerances in case of engineering detailed drawings is the most error-prone entity. It is so because, in PDFs, words and sentences are treated as individual characters with a specific style of information. But for CAD files, they hold the utmost specific information during the manufacturing stage. Errors during conversion from PDF to CAD can be extremely costly in terms of time and man-hours.
However, with the advancements in technology today, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) helps design engineers big time in reading the text correctly and accurately.
Apart from these, there are other inherent challenges of missing data and interpolation which are inbound during conversion and surface only during the inspection. But such design glitches can easily be handled by overlaying methods for deviation.
To address the challenges during conversion, industrial and product design engineers & architects, should opt for PDF to CAD conversion for efficient design data management.
Accounting for aforementioned challenges, a majority of difficulties are avoided.
In addition to these, when a design engineer sticks to the international design standards such as ASME, TEMA, IS or any other, there are fewer chances of errors in final CAD models even when there is an interpolation done.
Usha B. Trivedi is a Technical Writer at Hi-Tech CADD Services - CAD Drafting Services . She has graduated in mechanical engineering discipline. She contributes in-depth articles for mechanical and industrial equipment designs, processing plants and fabrication sector. Her contributions are primarily focused on enabling engineering professionals, fabricators and plant owners to optimize design outcomes through CAD and CAE tools.