Sponsored By

Who else uses your CAD data?

DN Staff

May 20, 2002

2 Min Read
Who else uses your CAD data?

In this age of PLM (product lifecycle management), design engineers are increasingly asked to share their CAD models.

That's supposed to link CAD with PDM, ERP, CRM, CAE, RP, CNC, and many more systems, saving time and money. But stepping back from the marketing rhetoric, who's actually using your CAD data?

Design News polled its readers in December, 2001:

  • Manufacturing engineers (68%)

  • Draftspersons (67%)

  • Engineering analysts (52%)

  • Technical illustrators (33%)

  • Field service personnel (21%)

  • Process planners (18%)

  • Customers (2%)

OK, it's no surprise that the shop floor staff and drafters use CAD models. But the PLM business model was supposed to bring everybody into the loop-not just the technical folks. So why are repairmen and customers barely touching this new resource? And how about the analysts (15 points back)?

So we dug a little deeper, asking what type of analysis was performed once the CAE department got its hands on a model:

  • Static (83%)

  • Dynamic (59%)

  • Linear (45%)

  • Kinematic/dynamic (32%)

  • Fluid flow (30%)

  • Non-linear (28%)

  • Electromagnetic (25%)

Furthermore, what do they analyze for?

  • Stress (83%)

  • Motion/forces (64%)

  • Strain (56%)

  • Thermal (48%)

  • Displacement (40%)

  • EMI/RFI (19%)

And how exactly do they pull your CAD data into their analysis applications? Here's how they import geometry:

  • DXF (64%)

  • IGES (59%)

  • Direct translator (34%)

  • STEP (25%)

So it's safe to say that the average analyst in a PLM network is doing static stress testing with a DXF translation of your CAD model. But recent software partnerships are letting designers do simple analysis on their own desktops.

At NDES, Autodesk announced same-window functionality with Mechanical Dynamics' Dynamic Designer and Blue Ridge Numerics' CFDesign. Other recent deals include Lumeo's Motion 2.0 with Pro/ENGINEER, and SRAC's COSMOS/Works with SolidWorks.

In other words, there's no motivation for the analysis department to do testing if engineers can do it themselves. The real value to be found in PLM-based CAD model sharing is if analysts stick to the complicated stuff. We shouldn't be asking "Who else uses your data," but rather "What do they do when they get it?"

Sign up for the Design News Daily newsletter.

You May Also Like