Design hardware and software are morphing in a dozen different directions, from video-game-like augmented reality to connected design tools that support worldwide collaboration. Some apps take standard design tools and put them in the cloud or on a mobile design, while others integrated disparate tools such as PLM and Quality Management Systems (QMS).
The goal of all of these new twists on design products is to give the design engineer a wide range of applications that can consolidated at the fingertips -- whether those fingertips are on a desktop, a mobile device, or halfway around the world. This takes the CAD design out to PLM, PDM, CAE, QMS simulation, and visualization without the lengthy process of importing and exporting files from one system to another. And all of this now happens while the design engineer is connected to collaborators.
Let's take a look at how five different companies have introduced design apps that make the process of moving a product from design concept through manufacturing more efficient.
Arena Solutions - Quality Management System
Medical device companies need to innovate while maintaining a strong quality management system to comply with FDA-mandated manufacturing practices. The QMS is needed to ensure that products are safe and effective. Traditionally, the QMS operates on standalone software systems that are isolated from the PLM system. As a result, there is a disconnect between the quality and product data as well as between the quality and product teams themselves.
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Arena has spent the last three years expanding its quality system capabilities to create the convergence of PLM and QMS. The company has also added training into the quality requirements of the QMS. "Many of our customers use Arena PLM to control the documents that define their quality management system," said Paul Welch, product management director at Arena Solutions. "The ability to manage designs, documents, closed-loop quality processes, and also add training to the same environment offers the traceability needed to innovate while also ensuring compliance."
Augment - Augmented Reality Improves Manufacturability
Augment is an augmented reality platform provider that allows users to envision any object in its intended environment by using a simple mobile app. The app matches the company's Augment Desktop and allows them to take it into the field. The app takes the design and offers quick and easy incorporation of 3D models directly from a PC into the existing Augment solution, providing a quick integration of augmented reality into a manufacturing environment.
The mobile tool helps users visualize how the product will perform in the manufacturing setting. "Engineers working on the machine can go out on the factory floor and see how the product will integrate into the factory floor plan," said Jean-Francois Chianetta, CEO of Augment. "You can visualize the product before you begin to create it physically. In the past, you needed to use 3D glasses for that visualization. Now all you need is an iPad or a smartphone. It becomes available to everyone in the design and manufacturing process."