Redefining Collaboration of CAD Designer and Manufacturing Engineer: Two fold pact

The manufacturing industry is pacing at breakneck speed, and innovations, too are so focused that every segment of manufacturing right from designs to finishing processes have uplifted pointedly. Industry pioneers project two major factors that are driving these innovations. One happens to be the competitiveness amongst B2B (Business-to-business) marketers for SME (Small and medium-sized enterprises) manufacturing companies and second being advancements in the engineering sector.

Innovations are, in fact, the results of researchers that come as paying the toll of increasing competition, delivering quality and minimum engineering lead times. It has bothered every manufacturer from simple factory equipment to precision aerospace industry and the innovations essentially call for the new ways of designing and new tools for sketching and modeling the concept.

Designing manufacturing collaboration

Manufacturing timelines: Pacts signed, broken and signed again

With evolving designing tools in CAD, manufacturing firms have strategized to collaborate efficiently from very early stages to eliminate the challenges, whatsoever, early. However, these strategies and pacts had plummeted when deadlines were to be met.

The essential thing here to understand is that the collaborative approach of working together for manufacturing and design teams comes in two folds; such that even if one of the fold is not set, the entire pact of collaboration falls apart.

Fold 1: Revamping Best Practices for Designing

The issue with traditional best practices is the fact that they move way too slow with an ideology of one step at a time. Be it research, modeling, drafting, annotations, overlay texts or anything. This seems as if every division is working in their silo and moving forward at a pace as they please.

It sounds fine and independent until the time it comes to change orders. Once these designs are released for manufacturing – which already is late than the scheduled time – such disjointed workflows result in inefficiencies and drive up the costs. It may happen at times that these workforces in silos are using outdated parts and the latest information is not accessible. One team waits for the other to roll out or send an update – a total misfit for mass production.

Fold 2: Apply today’s CAD to Manufacturing Ready Designs

CAD has a significant impact on designs – an obvious fact. But then “there is nothing more deceiving than an obvious fact;” this is to say that we’ve imposed the idea that ‘CAD is only for designing.’ It, in reality, goes far beyond. With unending advancements in CAD modeling and sketching tools, work has become more shared among teams of product development.

These teams no longer remain as designing, manufacturing, marketing or sales. They are more often referred to as ‘product development teams’ which are together from the inception of product design idea throughout the product lifecycle.

CAD/CAM and CAE tools have integrated the work approaches of design engineers with the manufacturing firms and engineers on board. Sharing of design ideas and manufacturing process through CAD drafts have become possible along with customizable design variables for the quick modeling process.

With PDM and PLM tools, management of dynamically large sets of CAD design files and humongous design data have ensured that teams are working with the latest changes in designs and right files are presented to the user at correct times.

To manufacturing firm, this data gives accuracy in taking decisions of ‘make’ or ‘buy’ and up-to-date part list for making easy business discussions with the purchasing division. It gives a shortened time cycle, works faster and more collaboratively which enables cutting down hours and week from the design phase to reach manufacturing faster.

When the first fold is achieved, the immediate next step is to work towards the achievement of the second which will drive manufacturing firms’ delivery times to a minimum while working in collaboration with the design teams.

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Usha B. Trivedi is an engineer with Hi-Tech CADD Services, a company providing design support services across the globe. With years of experience in CAD drafting, conversion, 3D CAD modeling and 3D rendering, she provides insights for solutions in process challenges for fabricators, designers, contractors, engineers and architects.

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