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 field service.
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 assembly operations.
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.