Check it Out: Design with Flexibility While Meeting Deadlines

By Anthony J. Lockwood

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

PTCEverybody—clients, third-party partners, and often the guy in the next cubicle—uses a different CAD system and you have to work with their files. The export formats blow away design intent, dumb files live up to their name, and changes have to be propagated manually across all the CAD systems. This is a plague on productivity and profit. Yet, the time and money wasted fixing, fussing, and cussing to import CAD data, making it work with your system, and getting the word around about changes is so accepted in most processes that it is a bad habit that needs to be addressed. Today’s Check It Out is about importing and modifying multi-CAD data easily.

Nope, sorry. No magic bullet for you. It will remain a mathematical impossibility to make disparate CAD files interoperate flawlessly. Still, technology marches on. Three major capabilities comparatively new in traditional CAD offer a positive productivity effect on how you work with multi-CAD data. And therein lies the heart of the discussion in today’s white paper “Multi-CAD Data, Unified Design.”

This 5-page paper, written by industry analyst/blogger Chad Jackson, the founding industry analyst for Lifecycle Insights, an independent firm focused on engineering strategies, is actually part two of a series titled “Design with Flexibility While Meeting Deadlines.” It’s underwritten in part by PTC, but all concepts and ideas were developed independently, according to the disclaimer at the end.

The three key technologies Jackson cites are:

  1. CAD-integrated visualization import capabilities that produce cleaner imports of 3D models;
  2. New CAD technologies that recognize intelligence in imported geometry and enable you to make changes to the geometry even without features;
  3. New CAD abilities that automatically recognize when a different CAD application has changed an imported model and, through associativity, makes the updates.

In combination, Jackson says, the impact of these three capabilities on the productivity of individual CAD users and engineering organizations is anything but trivial. Think, for example, what it would mean if you better your odds of keeping development projects on schedule because you minimized time-consuming work that adds little value to your ambitions. Perhaps a more intriguing rumination is what Jackson sees as the hands-on promise these technologies offer: “Very little process change. Simply many painful activities disappear.”

Back in May when I checked out part one of this series, “CAD and the Need for Design Agility,” I wrote that “Jackson relies on straight talk and common sense to make his case. He states it well.” After checking out part two, nothing in “Multi-CAD Data, Unified Design” changes that opinion.

You can download both of these complimentary papers from the link over there.

Thanks,  Pal.—Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

Design with Flexibility While Meeting Deadlines

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About the Author

Anthony J. Lockwood's avatar
Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Digital Engineering’s founding editor. He is now retired. Contact him via [email protected].

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