People who are CAD Illiterate Need to See Designs Too

Make sure your partners and CEO can view your designs

Figure 1: Product Data Management Framework

The following post is an excerpt from the white paper “Tech-Clarity Insight The Basics of Managing CAD – When Brute Force Fails and PDM is too Much by Jim Brown. It discusses the basic requirements to allow access to your CAD data in a management software. To read the report in its entirety and find out what are these minimum requirements read the whole white paper here.

Beyond control, engineers need to be able to quickly find and reuse designs. CAD management solutions must allow designers to spend less time searching and make it easy to allow others to get access to the data they need. As Best Practices for Managing Design Data reports, “One-quarter of the companies surveyed indicate their technical personnel spend the equivalent of one day per week (20%) on non-value-added data management activities.” That’s a day a week of wasted effort! In addition, if engineers can’t access files they will not reuse them, creating inefficiency and forcing them to recreate the wheel (and often recreate errors that have already been solved).

When the CEO wants to look at a file he is not going to download a viewer. Jake Myre, Owner, Hippo Engineering

It’s critical that engineers can communicate designs internally to get feedback from internal collaborators. These people should not have to bother downloading a viewer, and many can’t due to IT restrictions. “You have to have a way to view files online without any software,” says Jake Myre of Hippo Engineering. “That’s a must have, when the CEO wants to look at a file he is not going to download a viewer,” he laughs. Andy Homyk of HemoSonics explains how that works at his company. “The advantage of our solution is that you don’t have to install anything, it’s browser-based,” he offers.

We have the ability to give access to people that are illiterate to CAD. Andy Homyk, Lead Mechanical Engineer, HemoSonics

It’s important to provide others with the ability to view CAD files even though they don’t have CAD expertise or CAD licenses. Giving Marketing, Sales, and executives the ability to view the latest files means they don’t have to interrupt the engineers’ design process to make renderings and create screenshots. “We have the ability to give access to people that are illiterate to CAD,” explains Andy Homyk of HemoSonics. “Our scientists arevery interested in our designs but don’t have CAD, they can look at it, spin it around, and give us feedback.” Engineers get fewer interruptions from people searching for data and avoid taking critical time away from design by giving others self-service access.

The key requirements to support the Access sub-process are:

•        Access Control – ensures only the right people see sensitive product designs

•        Release Management – indicates which revisions are currently ready for procurement or manufacturing

•        Self Service – allows downstream departments and other interested parties to see the design data they need to do their jobs without burdening designers

•        Viewing –provides non-technical users without CAD expertise or costly CAD licenses to review and interact with 3D models, 2D drawings, and other documents

Additional features that appear in more modern solutions are mechanisms that allow for social discussions and feedback tied to the design, or better yet a particular portion or view of the design, so discussions become a part of the design history instead of disconnected and lost in email.

For more information on accessing CAD files using management software download the rest of Jim Brown’s white paper.