Most people are familiar with CAD, but not as familiar with computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software. CADD allows users to design products and create documentation. Here are five criteria for selecting the right CADD program for you.
Robust 3D Design Functions
The most important aspect of CADD systems is the 3D master model function that will be used for all stages of manufacturing, from product design to tool programming to final inspection. The 3D master model must accurately and perfectly represent tools and products. The best systems will allow users to quickly create 3D designs without compromising safety or quality. When evaluating CADD software, inquire how efficiently each program creates the types of products needed. For instance, companies that produce metal sheets will need advanced pattern tools.
High Drafting Standards
Even though the program will use 3D technologies, suppliers and laborers workers will still need detailed drawings. Clear drawings present data that isn’t obvious in most 3D models, such as processing notes, critical tolerances and finish specifications. 3D CADD systems will not only meet current standards for things like parts, lettering, tolerances, but there will be room for technology expansion according to potential business growth. CADD systems should allow users to export data and drawings into standard business formats, such as PDF and spreadsheet files.
CADD systems are more complex than CAD systems, so there are often bugs or system incompatibilities. Because there are no standard ways to measure the stability and reliability of a system, business owners will have to rely on user reviews and recommendations. Reach out to companies within the same industry or browse online customer reviews for any reports concerning crashes and instability issues. Before purchasing any software programs, have IT personnel experiment with the target program to identify potential problems and request that they perform an in-depth risk analysis.
A CADD program may be the perfect solution for the company, but not an ideal solution for suppliers and clients. Because today’s manufacturers are rarely vertically integrated, most companies rely on a network of tools, parts and production suppliers that are spread across the globe. Therefore, companies must carefully consider how well their system will integrate with other companies. If possible, select a CADD system that is popular within the industry or favored by suppliers. Doing so will eliminate the constant need to convert files between incompatible systems. Conversion is a time consuming process that opens the door for human errors and system malfunctions.
All desirable CADD programs should come loaded with pre-programmed applications that offer exclusive functions regarding design, drafting, analysis and automation. As an alternative, business owners should request special functions. For example, if the company must simulate natural phenomena like vibration or temperatures, they should search for a system that offers integrated analytical tools. If the company manufactures various products from stamping dies and molds, they will need a CADD system that is optimized for mass production.
Any company that makes large designs must ensure that their internal systems can efficiently handle complex CADD diagrams.