Benefits of CAD Automation

Running a manufacturing business is no child’s play. Amid cutthroat competition, manufacturers must develop innovative ways to stay afloat in the market by churning out well-made products, addressing rapid customer demands, boosting sales, etc. Often, time-consuming issues have been a setback for such businesses. The back and forth between engineering and sales teams have been a grueling, arduous task since creating CAD models and drawings takes meticulous work and a long time. However, CAD automation is a game-changer and, in all honesty, a lifesaver.

CAD Automation denotes automated tools and processes to create CAD models, manuals, and setup CAD workflows.

CAD automation adds value to an engineer’s craft by pushing innovation and also helps the sales team to provide accurate CAD data to boost sales.

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Combine Product Digital Twin and Product Configurator for Faster Product

By Swanand Javadekar

A digital twin is a dynamic representation of an asset that allows us to understand the better working of the system and predict performance for better design directions. A product configurator is a dynamic representation of the CAD model that allows us to build an intelligent, practical model to enhance the speed of design and development. This paper conceives the concept and applies it to functional scenarios for better understanding and elaboration.

Let us quickly elaborate on both the concepts and explore further for combined application:

Product Configurator

Product Configurator is a single solution that can,

  • Manage thousands of your product variants
  • Allow your customers to configure your products
  • Allow your customers to access relevant CAD data
  • Help your sales team respond quickly to inquiries
  • Make your design team more productive

Essentially, it's a solution that helps you get more customers and dramatically increases the productivity of your sales and design team. A product configurator is a design automation solution that works on parameter-driven design. We can create a complete model on the fly by entering a few key parameters. Our Product Configurator solution is based on proven and tested CAD neutral architecture. Hence we can work with the CAD system you use (NX, SolidEdge, SolidWorks, Creo (Pro/E), AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, and others).

Digital Twin

As mentioned earlier, a digital twin is a virtual representation of an actual world entity or a system to understand product behavior better. Generally, we can divide digital twin into three categories:

  • Product digital twin: This approach is typically applied to a product and its performance and has been used by reasserting team. The concept has been ably supported by product simulation leads to the simulation-based digital twin. In such a case, the product performance is checked live, and necessary design can be made on the fly.
  • Performance digital twin: this type of approach is used to manage operational cost and end- user use. This has been used by the maintenance and service department.
  • Process Digital twin: Another primary application of digital twin lies with manufacturing operations, i.e., to reduce wastage, enhance yield. The owner of such exercise is typically the line manager or plant head.

Case Study: Industrial Engineering (Elevator)

The product configurator and the digital twin have applications at various levels, typically in operations, commissioning, and installations.

If we divide elevator methods and processes into three categories: Install, Operate, Maintain, we will elaborate areas where the standard approach will be helpful.

Product configurator can be used to build a CAD model based on available configuration parameters such as allotted space, cage parameters, and internal and external dimensions. The cad model will be ready based upon various options, which can be easily used further for manufacturing drawings or product validation. Once your multiple models are available, the same can be used for further meshing and validation to pick the best-suited configuration. We can calculate the remaining useful life (RUL) and any what-if scenario. With confirmation from the product validation exercise, the final model can be used for further AR/VR exercise for product visualization purposes.

Product configurator and digital twin combination will provide faster product development; the final product can also be used for further downstream applications such as AR/VR. Not only does the product manufacturer benefit by delivering a superior product, but other supporting systems such as building, and infrastructure management will benefit from the optimized maintenance cost and less downtime.

Case Study: Industrial Engineering (Furniture)

The furniture industry is an exciting example involving engineering with style and substance. The customer is demanding in terms of various options or variants, and the possibilities are endless. It's where science meets the art, and probabilities are limitless.

If we take the example of a simple chair, the flow chart is quite exhaustive:

Type Base Features
executive 5-star base high back
conference 4-star base low back
dining wood leg headrest
auditorium sled base tablet
soft stools   stackable
meeting   swivel
visitor   adjustable
plain sitting    

All the combinations come with the additional complexity of colors, mesh size, etc. In such a case where the manufacturer provides exhaustive options, and customers make customizable chairs, a combination of Product configurator and digital twin offers dynamic support to realize the dream. The CAD model of a chair combination is made faster while tested with the furniture industry-standard of weights. Any unique composite structure design or material changes can also be realized quickly. It allows the manufacturer to release the product faster to customer delight.

Combining Product configurator and digital twin is the way forward as it allows manufacturers to manufacture faster to market methodology and offers customers to choose from a wide variety of options leading to customer delight.

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How 3D Product Configurators propel sales and customer satisfaction

Customers are often reluctant to buy customized products because they don't know the outcome. People are often hesitant to purchase made-to-order or engineered-to-order products after being disappointed. Sometimes, people may order something they thought was great but get a completely different product. It can be challenging to return custom-made products purchased online. Customers can overcome this fear with 3D product configurators. Increasingly popular in the build-to- order industry, 3D product configurators help customers visualize and feel their purchasing product. The 3D product configurator software does not require a third-party plugin, and they work offline as well. They encourage customer participation by allowing them to virtually test product combinations. They enable customers to customize their options to their liking, and they're available on any device without requiring plugins. As a result, this software has various applications for different industries and sectors.

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Mass Customization: Why “built-to-order” is a healthy step for your business

With every individual looking for a custom product designed especially for him/her, more and more companies are now offering Mass Customization to satisfy the needs of their customers.

At a high level Mass Customization can be categorized into two broad areas,

B2B Mass Customization

B2C Mass Customization

Mass Customization essentially means offering customers what they want, rather than what the organization has to offer them. It creates a huge differentiator in the minds of customers, both B2B and B2C.

Mass Customization is achieved by using web based tools like Product Configurators which achieves Customization yet resulting in savings in cost.

This is how it works.

Configure: The Product Configurators present a simple user interface to the customers to try out various options by changing parameters and selecting different options, to suit their specific requirements. Once they are satisfied, they can often preview their selections in the form of a 3D model.

Instant Quote: The quote generation system is linked to the Product Configurator helping customers with instant quotes for the selections that they make.

Ready to Manufacture: The Product Configurator can generate all the details like manufacturing drawings required by the manufacturing/assembly team without manual intervention

Level of automation at each step depends on the complexity of the product and the nature of the sales cycle. For simple products (typically B2C) it can be completely automatic and for complex products (typically B2B) it can be semi-automatic. Even for B2B products, the semi-automatic process greatly improves the productivity of the sales team and the design team.

At a B2B level Product Configurator are seen in many diverse industries ranging from Cranes & Hoists, Material Handling and Storage, Pumps, Valves, Bearings, etc. The benefits it offers are,

  • Shorter Sales Cycle because of quicker and accurate quotes to prospects
  • Shorter Delivery Cycle because of quicker and accurate data to manufacturing team
  • Convert more prospects into customers, with quicker response and sharing relevant CAD data
  • Improve the efficiency of Sales and Design team
  • Better understanding of customer’s needs

At a B2C level use of Product Configurator is seen in variety of sectors like laptops, apparels, shoes, jewellery, houses, furniture etc. The advantages for a B2C model are,

  • Differentiation through personalization
  • Satisfying the needs of the customers by delivering what they want
  • Reduced capital because of reduced inventory
  • Customer loyalty

 

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The Increasing Prominence of Modularization in Mass Customization

With every individual looking for a custom product designed especially for him/her, more and more companies are now offering Mass Customization to satisfy the needs of their customers.

At a high level Mass Customization can be categorized into two broad areas,

B2B Mass Customization

B2C Mass Customization

Mass Customization essentially means offering customers what they want, rather than what the organization has to offer them. It creates a huge differentiator in the minds of customers, both B2B and B2C.

Mass Customization is achieved by using web based tools like Product Configurators which achieves Customization yet resulting in savings in cost.

This is how it works.

Configure: The Product Configurators present a simple user interface to the customers to try out various options by changing parameters and selecting different options, to suit their specific requirements. Once they are satisfied, they can often preview their selections in the form of a 3D model.

Instant Quote: The quote generation system is linked to the Product Configurator helping customers with instant quotes for the selections that they make.

Ready to Manufacture: The Product Configurator can generate all the details like manufacturing drawings required by the manufacturing/assembly team without manual intervention

Level of automation at each step depends on the complexity of the product and the nature of the sales cycle. For simple products (typically B2C) it can be completely automatic and for complex products (typically B2B) it can be semi-automatic. Even for B2B products, the semi-automatic process greatly improves the productivity of the sales team and the design team.

At a B2B level Product Configurator are seen in many diverse industries ranging from Cranes & Hoists, Material Handling and Storage, Pumps, Valves, Bearings, etc. The benefits it offers are,

  • Shorter Sales Cycle because of quicker and accurate quotes to prospects
  • Shorter Delivery Cycle because of quicker and accurate data to manufacturing team
  • Convert more prospects into customers, with quicker response and sharing relevant CAD data
  • Improve the efficiency of Sales and Design team
  • Better understanding of customer’s needs

At a B2C level use of Product Configurator is seen in variety of sectors like laptops, apparels, shoes, jewellery, houses, furniture etc. The advantages for a B2C model are,

  • Differentiation through personalization
  • Satisfying the needs of the customers by delivering what they want
  • Reduced capital because of reduced inventory
  • Customer loyalty

 

Read More

What is CAD Automation and its Impact on Manufacturing

Running a manufacturing business is no child’s play. Amid cutthroat competition, manufacturers must develop innovative ways to stay afloat in the market by churning out well-made products, addressing rapid customer demands, boosting sales, etc. Often, time-consuming issues have been a setback for such businesses. The back and forth between engineering and sales teams have been a grueling, arduous task since creating CAD models and drawings takes meticulous work and a long time. However, CAD automation is a game-changer and, in all honesty, a lifesaver.

CAD Automation denotes automated tools and processes to create CAD models, manuals, and setup CAD workflows.

CAD automation adds value to an engineer’s craft by pushing innovation and also helps the sales team to provide accurate CAD data to boost sales.

Read More