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Are you making the most of your valuable CAD data?

April 19, 2011

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about working in multi-CAD and how visualization tool can help. This post was inspired by a White Paper the Aberdeen Group published recently titled: Working in Multi-CAD? Overcoming the Engineering Collaboration Bottleneck.

In the previous post that is based on this white paper we focused on the fact that the research the Aberdeen Group did showed that Best-in-Class performing companies are 28 % more likely to send visualization files to third parties.

However, there is another development that the Aberdeen Group has identified in this White Paper that underlines the growing value of visualization tools and that seems important enough to revisit the topic. The fact that you are reading this blog means you are already interested in design visualization and maybe are already using a tool like Deep Exploration. You probably already understand what the Aberdeen Group argues in their paper: CAD is no longer just relevant for the design department, it has become important to multiple departments of the organizations. According to the Aberdeen Group:

Sales, marketing, documentation, and field services all rely on that digital model and the information embedded in it to support them in their jobs.”

The companies that participated in the Aberdeen research reported they use CAD models for:

  • Assembly instructions
  • NC tool paths
  • Quotations documents (RFPs, RFQs, proposals)
  • Customer documentation (owner’s manuals)
  • Part catalogues
  • Marketing collateral
  • Service diagnostic documentation

This shows that today’s modern manufacturing companies not only use CAD data in the manufacturing department for assembly instructions and NC tool path, but also in a variety of other departments in the organization.

The result of this is a new challenge: How to give all these departments access to the CAD file? According to the Aberdeen Group:

“it further reinforces the need to be able to easily work with multi-CAD data. As much information from the native CAD file as possible must be preserved so that the CAD file can be leveraged for other downstream deliverables”.

We all know how complex CAD software usually is. Most sales, marketing, documentation and field service people would not be able to work with a CAD software, let alone multiple different ones.  That means to be able to really make the most out of their valuable CAD data, manufacturing companies need to put in place process and tools that give access to CAD data to everyone who is involved in creating these downstream deliverables. These tools need to be easy to use, especially for people with none or little experience working with CAD. And ideally these tools would be able to support a multi-CAD environment.

Visualization tools like Deep Exploration are the answer to these challenges. By giving everyone involved in the product development and delivery process access to CAD data, visualization tools can help manufacturing companies to truly make the most out of their valuable CAD data.

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