In today’s demanding product development environment, new products are typically not “new” in the truest sense, but actually modifications of previous designs. As a result, engineers require modeling tools that are flexible enough to facilitate making design changes at any time throughout the product development process, especially last-minute changes necessary to deliver products on time and on budget.
This idea is flushed out extensively in a new Cimdata whitepaper entitled “CAD Selection Considerations: Design Changes, Dealing with Rapid Changes to Models.” The whitepaper explains how users of parametric modeling tools need easy-to-use geometry editing tools that enable them to made model changes with the same speed and flexibility associated with direct modeling approaches but without losing built-in design intent.
Change drives innovation
Product developers must align their internal design processes to be agile, to enable them to be responsive and make changes quickly and nimbly. Modeling tools that require careful, methodical planning before changes are made are no longer adequate in today’s dynamic and demanding design environment.
Throughout the design process, rapid model edits are required. Many companies report difficulty—and often failure—when a designer must modify models created by another. Problems that arise as a result of an unanticipated change late in the design cycle can prevent release to manufacturing when engineers struggle to understand the intricacies of embedded model constraints and parametric relationships imposed by the original designer.
Regardless of the sophistication of the parametric design model, engineers must be able to move, remove, attach, change size and made other similar changes to the model without understanding embedded design intent and without causing ripple effects in the underlying model. The edits should be recorded as features that can be modified later in the design workflow.
The best design tools are those that accommodate and facilitate the workflow showcased by industry-leading product developers. Key to their leadership status is an effective engineering cycle that enables them to easily modify and improve. They demand CAD tools that allow flexible model edits.
Questions to ask vendors
Selecting the right CAD modeling tools can be a stressful, arduous, and complex process. To make the process easier, CIMdata recommends that buyers ask the following questions of vendors when selecting new CAD modeling tools.
- Does the CAD tool offer change operations to move, rotate, remove, and attach basic solid edges, faces, and form features?
- Does the CAD tool allow users to simplify the model by removing or changing the size of rounds and chamfers, as well as to transform a round into a chamfer?
- Does it provide edit operations without requiring the user to understand design intent and delve into pre-existing constraints?
- Does it provide edit operations that can modify the geometry without breaking and removing existing design intent within the model?
- Will the CAD suite allow the users to capture a geometry change as a parametric feature to edit or undo later?
- When making a model change, does the tool allow the user to control and prevent a ripple effect of model changes elsewhere in the design?
The bottom line is engineers require modeling tools that deliver flexible, agile design editing capabilities that enable them to deal with CAD model changes quickly and efficiently without affecting the original model’s design intent. These tools must also support the entire design cycle, from concept through detailed design, simulation, validation, manufacturing planning, and tooling.
The “CAD Selection Considerations: Design Changes” whitepaper is available for free download from the CIMdata web site. Registration is required.