Inefficiencies in CAD software still exist and can create a burden for engineers. Looking at what CAD software issues exist greatly increase your chances of recognizing and preparing designers in how to avoid them. This article will go into a few of the most common inefficiencies that exist in today’s CAD softwares and what you can do about them.
Today even a student could acquire CAD software and operate it at home as long as they had a decent computer. And with CAD software developing at an exponential rate, even in last decade, software producers are redesigning and developing software for even better performance and functionality. Many softwares still lack features that are to be expected by the user even today. Here is a list of common inefficiencies still seen in some of today’s CAD softwares.
1. Ease of Use
Every CAD program has some degree of difficulty when using. Many designers and engineers often complain about how difficult some CAD softwares are compared to others. Yet, designers still prefer non-friendly user platforms to simpler ones. The reason behind this decision is that easier to use softwares typically are less powerful and do not provide advanced features.
Solution: Finding a CAD software that provides a friendly user interface and the required capabilities needed for your design.
2. Software Forgiveness
Many CAD programs offer better user experience with intelligent based design. This is where the program understands your intent and makes the needed changes based on what the program thinks you want. Some programs can make it increasingly difficult to perform functions necessary to complete the design, making it troublesome to generate product features. Programs without software forgiveness often provide more powerful capabilities for generating complex geometries that other intelligent based platforms which need multiple steps to achieve the same goal.
Solution: Determining if your design needs software forgiveness or complex geometry to finish your product is a starting point in selecting appropriate CAD necessary for your product, or future products.
3. CAD Software Performance
Every software from CAD to CAM lists it’s minimum computer requirements to successfully run and operate. But having only the bare minimum resources needed to run the program can drastically affect model generation quality and, in extreme cases, it can even slow down the pace of design and affect your time-to-market. You might be able to generate features in the program, but content generation and feature efficiency can greatly suffer. Some programs can be less demanding than others, but might not offer the capabilities necessary for your project.
Solution: This remedy is based on the quality you prefer for your project. If you desire the best possible model quality, then perhaps better computer performance and more powerful CAD software is better for you. Yet, this solution can be very costly. If the purpose of the model is just a simple representation, then the mere basic requirements would suit you better.
4. CAD Software Interoperability
Many companies use multiple softwares that need to be compatible with each other. Designer and engineers need to have software that can be used in CAD, design analysis, and other programs without fail. Making sure that data can be accurately and completely transferred between programs is essential in productivity. But, this has been problematic in some programs making it increasingly difficult to complete work.
Solution: Researching and verifying software compatibility is the only solution to this issues and can require an immense amount of time to validate.
5. More Features
Many designers and engineers are looking for feature enhancements that provide better personal productivity, as well as improving their engineering design process efficiency. This topic can include advance feature generation and automated usage. Advanced features decrease the number of steps required to create complex geometries. Automation allows the user to spend less time on duplicating data and more time on production development. Improving work efficiency greatly affects the product completion timeline.
Solution: Finding a CAD software to improve user productivity is necessary for time sensitive deadlines.
6. Integrated Analysis
Moving data from CAD software to analysis tools can often have drawbacks. Analysis software packages often have basic CAD features for generating models within the program. The analysis CAD features lack the sophistication that designated CAD programs have and can make it hard to integrate features from one program into another. Integration of analysis tools in CAD designated software can ease this process and provide you relief over possibly losing information across two separate platforms. Integration platforms usually are less powerful than dedicated analysis packages and will not offer the same degree in capabilities as designated software.
Solution: If intended analysis is necessary for post-processing of CAD model, choosing an integrated program of the two can ease transition and eliminate data errors. This is also based on the type of analysis required for your product.
7. System Crashes
As project designs develop and become more complex, CAD programs often use a massive amount of CPU and memory to allocate the design details. By increasing model complexity the program requires more of your computer’s resources to function properly. This could be minor for users with high performance computers, but for the vast majority could end up crashing the program, or rendering the program unusable. Some programs are known to crash more than others. Crashes can result in corrupt data making it difficult to recover previous work. Switching to another program can result in weeks of rework that requiring additional time to recreate previous work.
Solution: Designing models based on your parameter requirements. Don’t try to generate content that your equipment cannot handle. Or find CAD software that demands less of your computer in order to complete complex designs. Or the more costly route is to upgrade memory and video capabilities.
8. Simulation Integration
Simulation is often a nice overlooked feature in CAD softwares. The complexity of the design can be visually analyzed with this feature and give perspective on how components interact. Some CAD software offer this as a downloadable add-on tools, but based on the design’s complexity can demand a lot from your computer and dominate your memory usage. Integrating simulation in CAD software is not as powerful as dedicated platforms and may offer less features to analysis component connections. This virtual model gives a pre-production idea of how components will interact together.
Solution: Basic simulation platforms offer a comprehensive perspective for component interaction and can be beneficial for smaller components with less complex designs. Simulation platforms should be chosen based on its intended and number of usages.
9. Iterating Features
CAD designs can often require massive iterations of certain features on the same component, or assemblies; for instance bolt holes, bores, or multiple component generation. Some softwares demand more of your computer than others. And some require lengthy times to produce the features rendering you computer next to useless until the task is completed.
Solution: Picking CAD software that can generate features faster and demand less processing power can improve productivity and design efficiency.
10. Limited Component Libraries
CAD softwares offer a library of basic components that are commonly used in most designs. These components require only basic information need about what your design needs and can generate them from user specifications. Some programs offer more extensive libraries than others and can decrease engineering design by eliminating time required to develop these components over and over again. Others have less defined libraries and can demand more time having to generate these same components for your design.
Solution: If your designs only require basic components and less complex geometric components, a well developed library will save time in engineering design and increase productivity and development.
Bonus. Using CAD in Replacement of CAE
CAD software is used as a virtual representation of the modelled idea. Many engineers use this as a starting point to develop and build solutions around. There seems to be a bit of a confusion on how CAD software is to be used. Many engineers think that they can perform engineering analysis within CAD, as a substitute for engineering computations analysis. CAD is not the same thing as CAE. CAE (computer aided engineering) is a tool used by engineers to conduct analysis of modelled solutions. This can range from functions as finite-element analysis to computational fluid dynamics. CAD was never suppose to be used as a replacement for CAE and does not support the functions or performance of a dedicated CAE platform.
Solution: Use CAD software for model representation only and learn to utilize CAE software for what it was intended. CAD is not a replacement and should not be used to validate engineering work like CAE.
Summary of CAD Inefficiencies
A well integrated CAD program can offer levels of enhancement over basic software only designed for basic component generation. A fully automated process that alleviates information duplication from one platform to another can increase efficiency in so many ways. Programs that demand extensive resources from your computer can limit and hinder progression in engineering design that will affect product deadlines. Advanced features and component libraries offer more flexibility and increased productivity to render smooth product development and decrease tedious steps necessary to achieve the same goal. These inefficiencies can delay product development, lower productivity, and hinder progress that could make meeting deadline tricky. Picking the best CAD software for your design is the key. These boil down to what you truly need for your company, or for your personal needs.
Is there CAD software that offers a friendly user experience without the hassle of these issues?