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Choosing the Right CAD Software for Your Business
Computer-aided design (CAD), also known as computer-aided drafting (CAD) or computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), is the use of computer software to assist in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design. CAD output is often in the form of electronic files for print or machining operations.

“CAD is the HUB of a wheel with all of the connecting spokes.”

CAD software is the foundation to your engineering and manufacturing company. When I think of deciding on a CAD system, I like to compare it to the HUB of a wheel with all of the connecting spokes. With so many choices and all of the marketing hype and canned or misguided sales presentations, you’ve got to take into account your entire company when making a decision.



Benefits of CAD
To compete today, companies need to recognize the advantages and efficiencies associated with CAD. The reality is, the days of "loyalty, brand and relationships" are being replaced by "price, time to market and innovation".

•CAD’s primary purpose is to increase the productivity of the designer, improve the quality of a design, streamline communications through documentation, and to create a database for manufacturing, allowing your company to be more efficient while lowering costs.

•3D parametric solid models give engineers and designers the ability to innovate by pushing and pulling the geometry and surfaces, like “digital silly putty”. Parameters help drive the geometry, allowing more freedom and “what-if” scenarios for teams to toy with and make changes on the fly. Static 3D models don’t allow for this.

•Digital models, with material characteristics, give users the ability to simulate the model in real world conditions – test for stress, fluid flow, thermal, air flow and more. Animate to the client how their machinery moves and visually fits into their facility while helping bring products to market faster.

According to an independent study by the Aberdeen Group, best-in-class manufacturers use Digital Prototyping to build half the number of physical prototypes as the average manufacturer. They also get to market 58 days faster, experience 48 percent lower prototyping costs, and ultimately drive greater innovation in their products.

Which one is right for you?
There are a lot of CAD software packages to choose from, offering various levels of functionality. Your choice really depends on your company’s and client’s requirements. Make sure to take into account your entire company and the “spokes of the hub” to determine what’s right for you.

•Repurposing “digital assets” for downstream use: 3D CAD is not just about "pretty pictures", although many clients win new business because they were able to show the prospect what their product was actually going to look and act like before it was built.

Your company also has to take into account the big picture. How they can repurpose those digital assets for downstream use within your organization. At many companies, teams work in separate silos. They may not realize the many benefits associated with 3D CAD, and how to communicate and share that data with other team members to get the most out of it.
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Published 2013-03-20 00:00:00 
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