Looking Ahead at Hot Developments in Design Tool Integration

A variety of design tools are converging to make the design process faster and more efficient.

2016 saw a slew of announcements showing a convergence of design tools. The goal is to make it easier -- and faster -- for the design engineer to move from design tool to design tool. Often, a product lifecycle management (PLM) system is at the center of the integrated collection of tools.

design tools, integration, CAD, CAE, big data, manufacturing, simulation, PLM
(Source: Arena Solutions)

A wide range of tools are coming together in this integrated systems, from CAD and CAE to simulation and materials analysis. The convergence of the different design tools aims to accomplish a number of efficiencies. For one, it supports collaboration. This is collaboration beyond simply bringing analysis together with CAD design. Often we’re seeing the marketing team looking at early designs and digital prototypes.

Data from product performance out in the field is also getting integrated into the design process, so the next iteration of a product gets the benefit of the customer experience of the product. Quality data and manufacturing configuration is also getting integrated, so any changes at one end of the design process can be updated at the other end of the process. Here are some recent articles from Design News that show the future in integrated product design.

Changes in CAD Functionality Keep Coming

In just the last year, CAD programs are glowing with the luster of shiny new functionality. 3D printing has revamped the whole notion of what constitutes shape. 3D PDFs are changing the way drafts are shared, and new tools guide design engineers to create objects that are manufacturing friendly. And smart storage systems are in place now to let you know the archive contains a pre-designed product that is very similar to the image you're creating on your screen.

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Design Tool Zaps the Weight Out of Objects

Energy efficiency demands are forcing companies to produce products that are lighter while maintaining strength and integrity. In order to meet government mandates and produce easy-to-manufacture products -- from cars to plant equipment -- design engineers need to redesign their products. Automakers are striving to take weight out of vehicles without sacrificing strength and structural integrity. To help accomplish this,  solidThinking has introduced Inspire 2016, which includes PolyNURBS functionality. The design tool helps users optimize their designs into manufacturable products by wrapping topology results with NURBS geometry.

Crawling the Dark Places for Data

With a plethora of new data-gathering tools swarming the market, increasing amounts of data is being collected. Yet some of the most important data is going unused because it can't be found by the right person at the critical time. With all the data coming over the transom, there is plenty of "Dark Data" that isn't getting analyzed. Consequently, potentially useful trends are missed. Some companies are seeking advances in data collection and storage to help solve the problem. Even machine

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