Maximize integration and automation
Rooting out redundancy, duplication, and waste is the
clarion call of effective CAD leadership. No single product development
operation should be performed more than once, and no one should ever have to
rebuild an existing model. Any time that design data has to be converted or
translated creates opportunities for error. You can minimize the potential for
costly errors and eliminate redundant processes by maximizing your use of
integrated applications and leveraging automated approaches that fit your development
Exporting and importing design data typically occurs
whenever you need to move a CAD model into another engineering application,
such as an analysis/simulation package, a computer-aided manufacturing (CAM)
machining system, or a product documentation publishing application. You may
even have to manipulate a model’s data format for use in some product data
management (PDM) systems. Each of these data translations and/or conversions
takes time and creates an opening for error.
You can completely eliminate these issues by using an
integrated suite of tools to address analysis/simulation, CAM, documentation,
and PDM requirements. To achieve the greatest benefits, make sure that your
integrated tools operate on the actual CAD model, rather than through an
import/export paradigm. That way, you can rest assured that you have removed a
major source of redundancy from your operations.
Design automation tools can also help you to minimize
repetitive steps. For example, you can use design configurations, which build a
complete set of models with varying attributes (e.g., size, weight, length),
from a single base design, to create product families and maximize design
reuse. CAD-integrated Knowledge-Based Engineering (KBE) systems can help you
automatically create models of engineered-to-order designs. If you use a CAD
system with an open Applications Programming interface (API), you can even
automate routine, repetitive CAD tasks.
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*This article is an excerpt from the "Ten Strategies for Becoming an Effective CAD Leader White Paper", published by DS SOLIDWORKS Corp.