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Working in a Multi-CAD environment and how visualization tools can help

February 24, 2011

We all know the problem: A CAD model designed in one CAD software is not fully compatible with any other CAD software.

While this might have been a relatively minor problem a decade ago, in today’s environment of global collaboration and partnerships, frequent merger and acquisitions, fast development of new markets and global supply chains, it has become a problem that almost every product development company is confronted with regularly, many on a daily basis. Sharing and communicating design information is no longer just an internal matter. Today, engineers also need to share their designs with external stakeholders such as suppliers, partners and customers. And what are the chances that all of these external stakeholders are using the same CAD solution? Given the large number of different CAD tools available, they are pretty slim. Therefore, many product development companies are forced to work in a multi-CAD environment.

This has motivated the world-renowned Aberdeen Group to investigate how companies are handling this multi-CAD environment and what the best strategies for success are.

You can download the White Paper here for free for a limited time!

The Aberdeen Group divides research participants into three categories based on their performance; Best-in-Class (top 20%), Industry Average (middle 50%), and Laggard (bottom 30%). A comparison of the strategies Best-in-Class companies adopt to work in a multi-CAD environment with those of Industry Average and Laggard companies gives some indication as to what might be the way to success.

Best-in-Class performers are

  • 35% more likely to standardize on one CAD application in house
  • 29% more likely to design in one CAD format, but have the ability to deliver and receive many
  • 28 % more likely to send visualization files to third parties.

So now we know what the top companies do. But a lot of this probably falls into the category ‘easier said than done’. To move from multiple different CAD tool to one single format and to adopt systems that enable you to deliver and receive many CAD formats are big undertakings for most companies. They are time consuming and potentially very expensive processes and many product development companies, especially smaller ones, might not consider it worth the effort.

However, adopting a visualization tool to communicate and collaborate with third parties is much less complex. These days many CAD vendors are offering tools that enable users to view and share data created in CAD. That way, design information can be communicated visually which has been proven to be much more efficient. However, in a multi-CAD environment companies often require different tools for the different CAD formats. That can make things more complicated and slow down communication and collaboration. This is a problem that can be solved with a visualization tool like Deep Exploration that enables users to import almost all of the common CAD formats. With Deep Exploration you can view and utilize your product design data independent of the CAD application used to develop it. And with the FREE viewer Deep View, anyone can view and review the file without having to purchase any software licenses.

This means you can communicate your design information visually with anyone anywhere, completely independent of the CAD systems used but the different parties.

So if you are working in a multi-CAD environment you should think about how you can use a visualization tool like Deep Exploration to make sure you are a Best-in-Class performer.


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