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CAD Trends From the Global Product Data Interoperability Summit

solidworks nx it creo catia autocad One of the most interesting annual conferences that CAD pros should track is the Global Product Data Interoperability Summit event put on by Northrop/Grumman that is focused on the aerospace and transportation industry, and all the attendant suppliers and partners as well. This event is interesting in that it provides a good sense of what some of the key CAD trends are going to be in coming years in this important sector.

A Model Based World

One of the most interesting trends that emerged from reviewing the presentation abstracts and reports from the event is that there is a very heavy emphasis on modeling. This trend typically represents a more comprehensive and thorough documentation or delivery of the designs that facilitate the entire development process by delineating more information that can be used by other groups or teams that are charged with the eventual delivery of the initiative.

This is an important trend in that CAD professionals are being charged more frequently with enabling efficiency and optimization of the manufacturing and delivery process that their designs will drive. This trend is a manifestation of the need for CAD Professionals to think “beyond” their actual tasks, to how their deliverable can be best used by the teams “downstream”.


This data format has seen a very substantial growth in the last 12 months and its importance in the CAD world is only increasing. There are many reasons why 3DPDF has become an essential part of the “toolbox” but one of the most important, in my opinion, is the need for creating Technical Data Packages that contain the key product information and have become a standard format for documenting this information for use by other parties in the overall process. There are already a number of solutions for use with AutoCAD, and other popular CAD tools. One of the most substantial proof points for the rise in the use of 3DPDF is that we are already seeing the delivery of 3DPDF solutions for tablets!

The Global Product Data Interoperability Summit is an important event due to the impact it has in critical industries where CAD use is essential to the business. While not a “top” event for the press, for design professionals the trends seen here will have impact on all of us. These two key trends reinforce and support the future view that will change the requirements on CAD professionals.

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