Getting the most out of your CAD/CAM performance

Concepting in Creo – Part 3: Buyer’s Guide for Concept Design

by Bill Martin-Otto on 26 Apr, 2012 in Creo


In the last two Creo posts, I’ve talked about trends in concept design and the process of modernizing concept design. This week I explore what you need to know (and demand) if you want to buy concept modeling technology.

To capture and develop concepts, product designers are frequently forced to cobble information together from four incompatible platforms—2D sketching, 2D drawing, 3D drawing and full-blown 3D parametric, feature-based modeling.

In A Buyer’s Guide for Concept Design Solutions, industry analyst Chad Jackson cuts through the smoke and mirrors to deliver clear insights into what concept modeling technology can and should do. Jackson identifies five criteria—his own “punch list”—for potential buyers to consider when acquiring new concept modeling technology:

1. Interoperability Among Applications
For the concept design cycle, having all four of the capabilities—2D sketching, 2D drawing, 3D drawing and full-blown 3D parametric, feature-based modeling—is important. What’s exciting about the best of the new concept modeling technologies is that all four approaches are interoperable, which means you don’t have to waste time recreating design data.

2. Supporting the Entire Design Cycle
Interoperability is also important beyond the concept phase, when designs are released to engineering. Interoperable direct and parametric modeling tools help eliminate duplication of effort. Concept modeling applications should allow design data to pass back and forth among suppliers and customers so that the entire design team can collaborate and make better decisions.

3. Supporting Downstream Processes
There are opportunities for non-engineering teams to leverage design data to do their jobs faster and independently. Manufacturing can design tooling without data translation. Marketing and sales can close sales faster. Service organizations can easily verify procedures and create illustrations for field manuals. According to Jackson, organizations looking to acquire new concept modeling technology can demand all of these capabilities.

4. A Centrally Managed Product Record
Whether it’s managing concepts or creating detailed drawings, manufacturing processes, marketing tools and documentation, each team in an organization must track and manage their own versions, iterations and configurations of a product design. They must also track the interrelationships among these versions. The ability of modeling applications to centrally manage the product record is critical, and buyers should demand it.

5. The Intangibles of a Good Partner
Ultimately, Jackson reminds us that success with new software isn’t only about technical capabilities. Potential buyers need to consider the intangible benefits of selecting a software provider that’s also a good partner. They must find out if their prospective partners can provide good technical support, a shared vision and the ability to forge executive relationships. Buyers also need to consider whether a vendor will be around for the long term by checking out its financial solvency.

There are many things to take into account when looking for a new concept modeling software solution. As Jackson’s guide clearly explains, not all of them are directly related to concept design or even technical capabilities.

Visit PTC for more tools designed to improve your concepting.

In the next part of this series, I’ll talk about the webcast, Top Tips for Selecting Concept Design Software,  presented by Lance Hussey, vice president and creative director of the award-winning design house, RKS Design.

In the meantime, tell us about the concept design tools your organization has recently acquired or is thinking of acquiring—and let us know how they’re working for you.

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