Over the past several months, we’ve been blogging about the various processes that take place in product development and what you can expect from Creo’s direct modeling approach as you engage in those processes.
From concept design to submitting bids and RFPs and making late changes, similar processes exist in every product development cycle. However, there’s one process in which surprisingly fewer participate: Making the leap from 2D to 3D.
A few years ago, Aberdeen Group released this sobering statistic for software vendors: Despite the fact that 3D CAD had been on the market 23 years, 85% of those who design products primarily employ 2D design or drafting only.
Why? Because 2D design still works. With 2D design, companies know they have a functional, tested, and reliable system already in place. At the same time, converting to 3D presents challenges and risks. For example, migrating legacy data and losing time as teams train on the new software spook designers and their managers.
The benefits of 3D
If the first 3D CAD system became widely available 23 years ago, you can bet the first list of its benefits became widely available 23 1/2 years ago. So, I’ll just provide the short list here:
- More virtual prototypes, and fewer physical prototypes, lead to lower costs, fewer change orders, more freedom to try new ideas.
- Re-use saves design time. Especially in a direct modeling environment, companies speed up design by re-using parts or assemblies to create whole new products. It’s not unusual for users of Creo’s diret modeling approach to shave months off development by leveraging previously designed parts for up to 50% of the model.
- Extended add-on capabilities year after year lead to more powerful analysis of your designs, quicker modeling, automatic updates of designs for downstream users, and more.
- Better visualization leads to better communication internally and externally. Complex 2D drawings require a specialized education to grasp. However, with 3D models, non-engineers can easily visualize a design.
Creo’s direct modeling approach addresses the drawbacks
Clearly, 23 1/2 years of trotting benefit statements in front of product designers has fallen on more than a few deaf ears. That’s because so many of us have mistakenly viewed the 3D conversion as an event, rather than a process.
Many of Creo’s successful customers, however, did not make the switch suddenly or completely. Instead they started with a single project or a small department, worked in a blended 2D/3D environment, and over time became more reliant on the Creo.
- Learning. Creo’s direct modeling approach adapts certain 2D techniques to 3D design. For example, designers can move and stretch 2D geometry or even design within a 2D cross section of a 3D model. Plus, because you work directly with the geometry, the software is overall easier to learn than its parametric counterparts. Direct modeling customers, especially those with a 2D background, generally say they used the software productively within a few hours to 2 days.
- Supporting the blended environment. Even if tomorrow you declared your company all-3D, your suppliers, partners, and customers might still deal in 2D. The truth is, few companies work in a homogenous environment. Files come from multiple CAD systems, including 2D. Creo supports your environment, and that of your supply chain, whether you need to import or export 2D or 3D.
The Creo process
Once you’ve started using Creo apps, remember, there are several other opportunities to expand your options–whether in 2D or 3D. Creo Sketch may be all the 2D some of your team needs to simply get ideas across. Creo Schematics diagrams cabling and piping routes. Creo Layout helps you flesh out early concept layout work in 2D, but in a way that you can use to ultimately evolve the design in 3D.
Then there are the possibilities for adding parametric design, MCAD and ECAD viewing, analyst apps, and even generating technical illustrations directly from 3D. Considering all the directions you can take a blended 2D/3D environment, you really start to understand why converting from 2D to 3D should be thought of as a process, not an event.
Image by duzern