CAD predicts: What will 2018 look like for manufactures?

“If you are a manufacturer who is digitized especially for fabrication models and drawings, 2018 is going to be an exciting year; else traditional best practices are there to stay.”

It is no surprise that manufacturing industry is at the zenith of traditional best practices and new rising technologies such as AR/VR for one instance. To be completely rational, CAD sketching and modeling tools are always evolving which is a result of influx of new technologies. A new version of the same CAD tool rollouts every year and we, design engineers and manufacturers, happily upgrade our licenses.

But what does 2018 bring for CAD? Let’s take a look.

The rise of automation and bespoke manufacturing

Automation is unarguably disrupting the way we prepare initial conceptual sketches and the process of transformation from hand drawn sketches to final 3D CAD model and then into fabrication drawings.

The apparent tasks of repetitive designing, modeling and drafting are essentially subtracted with the strategies of design automation even for customized bespoke products. But still there are CAD design engineers who indicate every single detail even though if it is - repetitive.

Such processes not only elongate the delivery time but there is no guarantee that all the iterations will be identical. However, as we embrace design automation along with CAD customization, the drawings generation process is not only shortened but the final output quality is also uplifted significantly.

Developing product configurators by using a logical set of predefined rules, automated BOMs, quick CPQ and immediate addressing of customer inquiries are some of the positives over which design automation have necessarily shed some light.

Emergence of AR/VR

AR and VR tools have allowed the manufacturers collaborate with their design engineers on a scale that is way more sophisticated than ever. AR makes it possible for all the decision makers and stakeholders to have close interaction with the 3D product and put across their viewpoints for their concerns. The entire product development team can visualize and provide their feedback.

On the other hand, devices such as Oculus Rift and collaboration of Microsoft HoloLens with Autodesk are, some of the vivid examples sufficient in themselves, embedding VR deep within CAD modeling and drafting.

All in all, AR/VR is filling up the gaps between actual design intent and what the manufacturer understands. It draws the bridge of profound understanding without smearing the actual model and delivers a look around.

Evolving concept of Industry 4.0

Today, industrial designs have evolved that they aren’t only intended to perform their functional requirements, they go beyond. Mechanical devices and machines have provisions for fitting sensors and signal sending devices to automatically keep a track of machine performance and machine health – which is a repercussion of manufacturers adopting IIoT.

Additionally, designs must account for tolerances and flexibility of mechanical components as well as sensor and electronic heating and environmental positioning. All these essentialities for a CAD design engineer means there has to be better collaboration between engineers in all disciplines and meet the next level of requirements.

Evolution or Revolution

Markets are demanding more connected devices and engineers need to deliver such designs to prepare for IIoT by enhancing our processes. Majority of manufacturers today think that Industry 4.0 is revolutionizing their workflow practices, but in reality, it is no revolution, just the evolution of what we currently do – design or fabricate. To say it in brief, it only means that, with the advent of Industry 4.0, the concern is not to disrupt our traditional best practices of designing and manufacturing, but to enhance them for better.

All of these three technologies are going to rule during the coming years and 2018 will reflect a significant amount of evolution for CAD design engineers making product designing and fabrication more efficient. It would be a difficult situation if you are a manufacture and aren’t digitized on a full-scale.

For instance, unless there are readily available 3D CAD models, design automation isn’t helpful; lightweight models for AR/VR can be converted only from actual 3D CAD models to maintain the design intent and IIoT is the digitization which begins at the root level of designing.

From advances to revolution, there is a lot to look forward if you have digitized designs with 3D CAD modeling or 2D CAD fabrication drawings, else it is going to be same CNC machining all over again.

About Author:

Usha B. Trivedi is a Technical Writer at Hi-Tech CADD Services - CAD Design 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.

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