Strategy 6: Leverage design data throughout the enterprise
Today’s CAD leaders recognize that product development is no
longer the isolated, autonomous enclave of engineering that it was in the past.
With the adoption and advancement of 3D CAD technology, product design data has
become more accessible and usable for a variety of business operations outside
of engineering. functional areas that can benefit from 3D CAD models include
manufacturing, quoting/purchasing, documentation, sales and marketing, and
Manufacturing has long been a recipient of product design
data, and 2D engineering drawings remain a staple of many production
operations. Yet, with the availability of 3D CAD data and new CAD tools, you
can do so much more than simply refer to sheaves of paper documents on the shop
floor. In addition to using solid models to automatically generate tool paths,
develop molds, and program CAM-based operations with a high degree of precision
and control, engineers can now create 3D animated work instructions for use in
The same approach applies to the creation of product
documentation. Why spend time recreating technical illustrations for user’s
manuals, when that information already exists within a solid model? With
today’s modern 3D CAD tools, creating an exploded view, step-by-step user
assembly instructions, or even a movie that shows how to put the product
together is just a limited number of mouse clicks away. Purchasing can use CAD and automatically
generated bill of materials (BOM) data to solicit quotes, place orders, and
support just-in-time ordering for manufacturing. Sales and marketing can use
design data to create preproduction visuals for seeding the market.
Service personnel can access detailed maintenance and repair
information—including complete movie animations of important procedures—online
while they are in the field. Effective CAD leaders recognize how valuable and
information-rich 3D CAD models can be and understand how they can leverage this
information in various ways to boost productivity outside of engineering.
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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.