This movement to 3D can only help in quality. We see so many articles about poor quality products that reach the consumer. As we move to 3D for quality checks and keeping parts into specification the consumer will benefit. How often does a part show up out of spec only to discover that the dimension is not specifically called out in the drawing or in the quality plan for the manufacturer of the part.
Ivan: I can relate to your high-level view of this trend. I, too, started with ink on vellum. We did some crude FEA, too, in which the results were essentially page-after-page of stress and strain quantities without any graphics. The only visuals we had were the ones we drew by hand. We would have been ecstatic to have exploded view drawings like these that could be viewed from virtually any angle in a matter of seconds.
@jmiller: I think quality systems are an example of how we'll see 3D visualization being leveraged to catch problems earlier on in the cycle. Another enterprise system or process that seems to be getting a lot of attention in terms of pushing the limits of 3D is field service and maintenance. Tons of opportunity here for using 3D models and even AVIs to communicate product data more effectively to a wider audience.
It's amazing to see how far things have come. I am really looking forward to see how quality systems follow the development. I can see the day where 2D is no longer used but rather scans of the parts that are compared to the 3D models. Lets face it, currently 3D is used for tooling, assembly and tolerance stacks etc. Often the drawings are done after the fact and usually only for quality measurement and fixturing descriptions.
Keep up with the great articles. I can't wait to read what's next.
Ivan, your recount really does provide some context for how far we've come. An announcement such as this one--SAP buying a little-known 3D visualization software vendor--is less important individually and more a sign of the times as to how important having a 3D digital record of the product model is to mainstream manufacturers. Right Hemisphere's data will be instrumental in spreading the 3D product data assets throughout an organization to folks who never before had access to this kind of information, let alone in a timeframe and way that allows them to make better decisions about the product far before it's actually produced and on the market. Good stuff!
My Design Engineering career began with ink drawings on vellum. In fact my senior design project included some of the best drawings in the class as a result of my co-op experience in Piping Design at Newport News Shipbuilding.
At work I worked as a new Design Engineers and was quite envious of the Designers that got to use the CAD systems to produce our first 2d digital drawings. I managed to get some time on the machines as well and it certainly was a lot of fun.
Later we developed 3d software, VIVID, to do the ship design that was then translated into 2d design drawings.
We have really come so far in the 25+ years I have been an Engineer in Design. The improvements in the designs as a result of these new tools is truly impressive. I am sure I will be totally amazed by the next 25.
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