Bosch Rexroth uses Autodesk Design Review to share designs for review, measure, mark-up and comment from teams and clients. Design Engineering Manager Jim Lambert describes the company's new and improved design process.
Why did you start usingAutodesk Design Review?
We first switched from our 2D CAD system on a mainframe computer to AutoCAD in 1999. In 2003, we found we were getting into more complex systems and it was very difficult to visualize equipment and customer problems. So, we made the decision to move to Inventor. At first, for complexity of design the software was fine, but the hardware was a problem for us. Autodesk recognized this and developed a new 3D solid modeling package, Autodesk Design Review.
How does this software simplify the design process?
Customers and salespeople use the tool as a way to visualize design before manufacturing. We're able to design equipment based on customer specifications. Then we pass a lightweight DWF file to salespeople, who go in to visit customers and discuss the solution we've designed for them. The great thing is it allows customers to measure red line, digitally marking up any changes that they want to make to the design directly on the lightweight model. They can rotate the design in real time and 3D using free, downloadable software. To be able to do things like toggle individual parts on and off allows the customer to visualize the product far better than if they were supplied with 2D documentation.
How do you use Design Review internally?
We use the product on the shop floors — we supply the same lightweight DWF file to manufacturing shops and use it as a tool to assist them in designing and troubleshooting. Previously, our internal design reviews, where manufacturing and engineering collaborate to make sure a design can happen, were quite a challenge. It was difficult to get a mutual agreement on the design from our manufacturing shop floor. They're working in the real world, where they're trying to put two pieces together to make sure they fit. With 2D drawings, it's difficult to visualize information and make sure it works. With Design Review, manufacturing can look at the unit in 3D, rotate it and substitute parts immediately. Virtual prototyping is priceless.
Where would you like to see Design Review go in the future?
Some of the customers we're dealing with right now, a very small majority, have security issues that prevent them from downloading the software. So, Autodesk is correcting this with a clientless solution that would require no software to download files. We're very encouraged by some of the new functionality coming out in future releases — Autodesk is on the right track with the whole idea of digital prototyping, proofing out the concept and making sure every piece is fully functional. A dollar saved in engineering is 10 on the shop floor and 100 in the field. We're more comfortable doing projects than we ever have been, because we're able to venture into uncharted territories in the realm of design engineering and know at the end of the day we'll have an innovative product our customers will be satisfied with.