All About CAD Conversion

PDM:  Managing Product Data

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Wed, Aug 09, 2017 @ 04:17 PM

PDM: Managing Product Data

If you're part of a design team, you know how important Product Data Management (PDM) can be. There are seven reasons why PDM is so important:

  • Better Control - Engineering data is time consuming to compile and can be unwieldy to manage (interrelationships, large data sets, etc.).  PDM helps design teams and engineers communicate and stay on the same page.
  • Increased Productivity  -  If you don't want to miss your production deadline, then you need to be able to find the right information fast.
  • Error Elimination -  Cost control requires reducing manufacturing waste by ensuring that you always work on the latest revision.
  • Enterprise Connectivity - Sharing information with other business systems (ERP/MRP).
  • Collaboration - Communicating information to suppliers/customers.
  • Certification - Assisting with standardizing processes (FDA/ISO/FAA/TQM).
  • Compliance - Helping ensure data security (ITAR, etc.).
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Topics: Migrate CAD to PLM, PLM

How Manufacturers Benefit from Third Party Parts Inspection

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Wed, Aug 02, 2017 @ 04:47 PM

How Manufacturers Benefit from Third Party Parts Inspection

A defect-free parts production line is wishful thinking for most manufacturers.  No matter how carefully the design/manufacture process is approached, "stuff" happens -- parts failures may occur unexpectedly and for any number of reasons.  When there is any doubt about the integrity of parts coming off the production line, the manufacturer must: (1) immediately identify and quarantine the questionable parts; then, (2) quickly identify and remove the bad parts, while reintroducing the good parts back into the production process.

Timing and accuracy are critical. Timing is essential to quickly correct design or machining deficits and to reduce further production delays or safety issues. Accuracy and speed in identifying and ameliorating the flaws help to  prevent cost over-runs and liabilities.

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Topics: NDT, X-Ray Testing

CAD Conversion Puts New Life in Old Drawings

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Wed, Jul 26, 2017 @ 03:57 PM

CAD Conversion Puts New Life in Old Drawings

Engineering documentation -- that pile of paper drawings that we love to hate. We'd really like to clean out our files, but we're equally afraid we might need something that's there.  Our younger engineering brothers and sisters, who cut their milk teeth on digital toys, think we're an anachronism.

"Let them laugh," we say. "The day will come when they'll need one of those drawings."  (My wife says the same thing about all the shoes in her closet (but that's another story.)

So, am I clinging to a dusty memory?  Or is there some validity to my way of thinking?  Can we really put new life into our old drawings?

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Topics: 2D to 3D CAD, 2D to 3D CAD Conversion

Benefits of Virtual Simulation for Engineering Managers

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Thu, Jul 20, 2017 @ 03:03 PM

Benefits of Virtual Simulation for Engineering Managers

Success can be measured by many standards.  In product engineering, manufacturing and production, success is often measured by three standards: (1) profitability; (2) competitiveness; and, (3) design.  It’s no accident that I listed them in this order.  Regardless of a product’s design and its ability to compete in the market, if the company manufacturing it doesn’t make a profit, the product cannot be considered a success.

Agile, responsive design and assembly methods and strategies continue to emerge, but perhaps one of the best ways for a manufacturer to meet three core goals listed above is with virtual simulation.  Assembly simulation, planning and assessment in a CAD model based virtual environment (VE) identifies potential problems without the use of physical mockups or prototypes.  This process shortens the design cycle, improves product quality, and ensures that the product can be manufactured with cost-effective materials to improve profitability. 

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Topics: Engineering Simulation

Generative Design:  The New CAD?

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Tue, Jul 11, 2017 @ 05:20 PM

Generative Design:  The New CAD?

Generative design has been around since the early 1990s, and was first used to create simple artwork and animations.  But, now it is being incorporated into various CAD programs, and has become a subject of conversation on many CAD blogs.

What is Generative Design? 

Generative design is an “organic” process in that it mimics nature’s evolutionary approach to design.  For instance, trees and bones are strong and relatively lightweight. To distribute stress uniformly, trees add wood at the heaviest load points. Bones remove material from areas where it isn’t needed to lighten skeletal frameworks.

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Topics: Generative Design

How to Convert Mylar Aerospace Drawing

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Wed, Jul 05, 2017 @ 05:19 PM

How to Convert Mylar Aerospace Drawings

Aerospace design drawings were traditionally created and stored on mylar sheets. But, with today’s newer 3D CAD technologies, Mylar film has mostly been replaced by 3D CAD models and dynamic virtual viewing.  This can lead to a dilemma for organizations that have large stores of old aerospace design drawings on Mylar. 

As these drawings have aged, most will have deteriorated.  In order to preserve the design information in 3D CAD, the drawings will need to be scanned and converted.  However, the Mylar deterioration makes the scan and conversion process much more difficult.

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Topics: Conversion of mylar drawings, Convert Mylar Drawings, Convert Aerospace Mylars to Catia

Converting Old DWG Drawings to 3D Models

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Fri, Jun 09, 2017 @ 12:36 PM

Converting Old DWG Drawings to 3D Models

If you’re a mechanical engineer who’s been around a while, you probably started your career designing in 2D CAD…usually AutoCAD.  Even though you may have changed with the times and are now designing in 3D (often SolidWorks) you probably have many DWG files that you still retain.  Many of your old DWG files are probably obsolete, i.e., designs of out-of-production products, parts and designs.  But…there may be a treasure trove of older designs that are still relevant and that could save you time by reusing them.  For instance:

  • If you have common sets of 2D parts that are still in use, it goes without saying that they should be converted into 3D models right away. As part of the conversion process, you will want to ensure that the revisions are current and that they fit properly.  Make any modifications that need to be made and calculate accurate assembly mass properties.  Then you’ll have 3D parts ready to machine or to add to new designs. 
  • You may also have other parts sets that, while still in use, are not regularly called for. In this instance, wait until you need the part, then convert it.  This saves time by converting only what you need, when you need it. 
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Topics: 2D to 3D CAD

Why You Should Integrate Paper Drawings with 3D CAD

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Wed, May 24, 2017 @ 04:32 PM

Why You Should Integrate Paper Drawings with 3D CAD

We’ve come a long way since the 1950s when it first became possible to modify existing drawings electronically. Back then, a spot scanner could convert microfilm data into an electronic image. The biggest drawback – it was cost-prohibitive.

But, as interactive computer graphics and CAD evolved, newer and better tools became available for creating new designs.  As the technology advanced, standards were developed for storing drawings in raster format.  Then, the emergence of cost-effective scanning hardware heralded the coming of age of raster images.  (And raster to vector services, we might add.)

Today, more options than ever exist for the conversion of paper, including R2V, paper to CAD, paper to 3D model and various permutations and combinations of all combined.   Perhaps what’s most surprising is the number of paper archives or -- as one source describes it --  “BC” (Before CAD) designs that still exist today. 

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Topics: 2D to 3D CAD, Paper to CAD Conversion

Scan and R2V: Getting from Paper to EDM/PDM for Engineering

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Tue, May 16, 2017 @ 03:37 PM

Scan and R2V: Getting from Paper To EDM/PDM for Engineering

Engineering competition is fierce and survival means adopting the latest technologies.  It means delivering the best product or service fast and at a fair price.  To maintain a competitive edge, a company must leverage its information assets, which includes a tremendous amount of engineering documents, some in CAD and some in paper format.  By some estimates, there may still be as many as eight billion paper engineering documents world-wide. 

The need to capture, modify and distribute existing paper designs within today’s 2D and 3D CAD technology continues to be a requirement for success.  That’s why we still get calls for conversion of paper drawings, mylar, bluelines and other media into AutoCAD, Revit, Solidworks, Catia or some other CAD program.

Most engineering firms realize that regardless of how experienced they may be in operating their CAD software, scanning and converting from paper to CAD requires a different skill set.  This is especially true when the original drawing is old, damaged or misshapen.   In these cases, both scanning and conversion become a challenge and require expert care to extract accurate data. 

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Topics: R2V Service, Large Format Scanning for EDM

Keeping Up with Technology:  Mold-filling Simulations for Manufacturers

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Thu, May 11, 2017 @ 03:01 PM

Keeping Up with Technology: Mold-filling Simulations for Manufacturers

Injection molding is one of the most common modern methods used for manufacturing parts.  It’s a great technology for producing high volumes of parts, in a multitude of materials – metals (called die-casting), glasses, elastomers, and polymers.  It’s simple, really – the heated material is forced into a mold that is shaped like the part you need.  The material is cooled, hardens and…voila’… you have your part. 

As simple as the process is, parts to be injection molded must be very carefully designed.  The material used for the part, the desired shape and features of the part, the material of the mold, and the properties of the molding machine must all be considered.

That’s where mold-filling simulations come in.

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Topics: 3D CAD Services, 3D CAD Modeling, 3D Mechanical Design, Engineering Simulation

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