There is no doubt that computer-aided design or CAD software has changed the game of manufacturing altogether. The advent of CAD customization has provided immense value to design and production.
But what is CAD customization?
The manufacturing industry has been using CAD software for some time now. These are when engineering departments, R&D centers & Design departments use Computer-Aided Design (CAD) to ease the product development process, thereby reducing the entire cycle time. CAD software makes our working fast, efficient & accurate.
While CAD software offers available tools, it is hard to fathom what each user may find helpful to accomplish particular tasks. Such limitations have pushed the minds of CAD system developers to come up with the capability of customizing their software to cater to their needs. With CAD customization, it is possible to modify or create new tools better suited to our needs. One of the significant improvements we can get with customization is to replace a series of commands with a single tool that accomplishes the task.
CAD customization is creating specific enhancements or tools to support CAD software.
As the name suggests, CAD customization means customizing or configuring OOTB (out of the box) CAD software to suit the specific needs of a particular organization.
CAD customization predominantly involves developing supporting tools for CAD software. It is mainly customized which suits a client's particular requirements. CAD software built en-masse might not satisfy the needs of every condition, as many organizations have their specific criteria. That is when customizing CAD software comes into play. Customizing existing CAD software is perhaps the fastest and most economical way of getting the work done.
Steps for Creating a CAD Customization
Before developing customized CAD software, make some preparations as follows:
- Try your hands on a few simple drawings; follow a tutorial to see how the commands work.
- Understand the user's kind of work, identify the issues he is facing, and ask for features the user would like to have.
- Examine the available customization tools and find the most effective way to get the job done.
- A deep understanding of the function library is a necessary condition for customization.
- Use Software Engineering methods to plan the development of the customized system.
How CAD Customization is done
Most CAD systems provide the following two mechanisms:
Record-Edit-Play of a macro or VB codeVBA stands for Visual Basic Applications, an event-driven programming language by Microsoft. It also allows integration with other applications that use VBA. The implementation of VBA in CAD customization is easy to learn and use. Developers can create application prototypes and receive feedback on designs quickly. VBA provides a highly efficient way for manipulating CAD objects and exchanging data with other applications.
Develop an Add-On using Open APIs or toolkitsAnother method for customizing CAD software is developing add-ons using open-source API and toolkits. One can build API implementations by using a developer toolkit. Nowadays, many API’s come as open-source, which makes the whole operation a lot smoother. APIs can be fabricated as per the requirements and applied as an added feature. One crucial factor is that the API must be compatible with the CAD software.
Benefits of CAD Customization
Customization of CAD software has indeed introduced us to many benefits, which are as follows:
- Access to functionality that does not exist in the OOTB package.
- Improving the efficiency of the team by providing tools for faster development.
- Reducing the manual error in performing many tasks.
- Reducing the skill requirement of the operator (A wizard for a process can allow a user with relatively less experience to complete the tasks).
- Capture and protect the proprietary domain knowledge in a custom command/wizard.
- Applying time-saving automation increases productivity.
- Reduces workload by huge proportions eliminating tedious tasks, data entries, and numerous repetitive steps.
- The usage of custom-made algorithms helps in reducing errors.
- Customization is an excellent means to integrate the software with the latest technologies.
CAD Customization and Automation
Design Automation is a knowledge-based process where various engineering concepts are applied in real-time product development. Overlapping CAD customization with automation brings lots of advantages to the table. Since designs are customized per requirements, the outcome is quite precise and enables quick modifications. A good practice is integrating CAD customization with design, process, and systems automation when customizing CAD software.
Perks of Automation with CAD Customization:
- CAD models & drawing creation with minimal inputs
- It generates the BOM (bill of materials) of a developed product with parts lists
- Process automation can print bulk sheet jobs without supervision
- With the help of pre-fed information, automation can assign steps to the computer
- Automation can create logs of all processes
- Auto-revise drawing tables
Do you want to have your own customized CAD software?
Prescient Technologies has a long list of clients who benefitted a lot from a customized CAD software specifically created for their needs. If you wish to look into our portfolio..