Steep Growth in 2015 CAD Adoption Trends

Rob Spiegel

April 22, 2015

2 Min Read
Steep Growth in 2015 CAD Adoption Trends

We've seen report after report showing steady growth in cloud-based CAD tools as well as exploding expansion of 3D printing. Now we have data on adoption to back up these growth claims. Business Advantage Group has released its 2015 Annual CAD Trends Survey showing current and future adoption of computer design software.

While cloud services and 3D printing show increased adoption, both current and planned, other growth areas include a sharp ramp-up of PLM services -- 19% increase in use this year, and 43% growth expected in three to five years. Mobile CAD is also growing, with its fastest uptake occurring in North America. The use of simulation is also booming.

The survey was completed by 635 professionals from around the world in late 2014. The results cover 15 trends, including 3D modeling, building information modeling (BIM), cloud-based CAD, simulation, 3D Printing, and open-source CAD. These were ranked by awareness, importance, and current and intended adoption.


Here are some of the 2015 CAD adoption trends:

  • Growth of 3D modeling in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) is predicted to be up to four times greater than in manufacturing.

  • Simulation adoption was more than double last year's prediction, and AEC usage is predicted to grow by 58% in three to five years.

  • PLM is predicted to grow by 19% this year and 43% in the next three to five years.

  • Concurrent engineering is predicted to grow 32% this year and 63% in three to five years.

  • BIM growth will be lower than predicted last year.

  • Mobile CAD usage is highest in North America.

  • 3D Printing will grow 50% this year, 39% in manufacturing, and 110% in AEC.

  • Cloud-based CAD usage is predicted to double this year and triple in three to five years. Highest use will be in AEC.

The survey found that just over half of respondents had upgraded, changed, or added to their CAD in the past 12 months. Most respondents use workstations, desktop PCs, or laptops. While mobile tools are trending up, only 20% of respondents are connecting via mobile workstations. Mobile phone CAD use is 2%. The most-used CAD software packages were AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and PTC Creo.

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Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 15 years, 12 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years he was owner and publisher of the food magazine, Chile Pepper.

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About the Author(s)

Rob Spiegel

Rob Spiegel serves as a senior editor for Design News. He started with Design News in 2002 as a freelancer and hired on full-time in 2011. He covers automation, manufacturing, 3D printing, robotics, AI, and more.

Prior to Design News, he worked as a senior editor for Electronic News and Ecommerce Business. He has contributed to a wide range of industrial technology publications, including Automation World, Supply Chain Management Review, and Logistics Management. He is the author of six books.

Before covering technology, Rob spent 10 years as publisher and owner of Chile Pepper Magazine, a national consumer food publication.

As well as writing for Design News, Rob also participates in IME shows, webinars, and ebooks.

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