CAD and the Need for Design Agility
PTC recently hired blogger Chad Jackson to write a couple of new eBooks on how to better handle imported models and respond to late-stage design changes. The author more appropriately refers to the short works (4 to 5 pages) as “eTopics,” but they’re loaded with performance-enhancing information and I encourage you to check them out.
CAD and the Need for Design Agility is the first of the pair, and it does a good job explaining why feature interdependencies limit design agility in a major way. It’s kind of a double-edged sword, according to Jackson: On the one hand, design relationships “drive incredibly powerful and intelligent change,” but model maturity can result in “a failure-prone mess.”
“Instead of helping iterate, explore and discover new design choices,” Jackson writes, “complex CAD models fight against you.”
Working with other people’s models only adds to the complexity. This is where most engineers resign themselves to spending nights and weekends painstakingly recreating different pieces of geometry.
Fortunately, recent CAD innovations can improve design agility in late-stage designs—just when we need it most. These include:
- The ability to make direct modeling changes to parametric feature-based models. Push, pull and drag interaction help even casual users avoid feature failures
- Mechanisms that capture direct modeling changes in the context of a feature-based model
- The ability to recognize design intent in imported geometry, so users can make changes without recreating the model
According to Jackson, these new capabilities are great for “exploring far more design alternatives and ultimately improving the product.”
In the second “eTopic,” Multi-CAD Data, Unified Design, Jackson goes a little bit more in-depth into the challenges of moving 3D models from one CAD application to another without causing “all sorts of havoc in the design process” and delaying project schedules.
In addition to the ability to recognize design intent in imported geometry, Jackson discusses two additional “capability sets, which have relatively recently been integrated into more traditional CAD applications, that impact how designers and engineers work with multi-CAD data.” Specifically, these are:
- Visualization tools that enhance interoperability
- Technology that associatively updates imported 3D models when the original is changed in a different CAD application
According to Jackson, it’s the combination of innovations that’s having a huge productivity impact by reducing manual rework and facilitating collaboration in a multi-CAD environment.
PTC offers the Flexible Modeling Extension (FMX) for Creo Parametric to deal with all of these issues. Check out the short video below to see how it works:
In the next post in this series on design agility (we showed you PTC’s design agility infographic last time), we’ll talk about the solution in greater detail, with a review of a Webcast on flexible modeling with FMX.
Do you use FMX or are you planning to? Do you normally work nights and weekends? Perhaps upgrading to more powerful workstations can be part of the solution to help your company complete projects more effectively? Let us know how you’re dealing with imported models and last-minute changes.