It’s the CAD, stupid

Couldn’t resist a political joke 18 days before the election. Neither of these guys will have much power to do anything about the economy. But, the economy does figure to be a primary election criteria. “It’s about the economy, stupid.” all over again.

I suggest you worry about the sphere of economic influence under your direct control. In other words, the economic performance of your company & your house. (Quit worrying about the white house.)

So, what do you do when the going gets tough? Pull a blankie over your head and stop moving until the fear passes? That’s what some of your competitors are doing right now. Are you going to join them or take advantage of the opportunity to outshine them?

Now, more than ever, it’s important to get as efficient as possible. If your Engineers are skipping upfront CAE to build and test another 20 prototypes in the lab, maybe it’s time to put your foot down. Or, at least to understand why.

In many cases, “It’s the CAD, stupid.”

Do you maintain a stable of CAD designers in one set of cubicles, and a group of Mechanical Engineers in another? Given the complexity of detailing final designs for manufacture, that can sometimes make sense. But, when a Designer hands one of your Engineers a 3D assembly, there are several potential problems.

Parametric, feature-based tools like Pro/Engineer, UG, SolidWorks, and CATIA rely on a “history of operations” to define geometry. These models often contain way more detail than required for CAE. So, you don’t want to include that hole in your analysis? Just delete it. Oops… there were 4 other features and 2 parts referencing that hole. That assembly just blew up.

Engineers aren’t naturally inclined to defeature geometry. In many cases, they lack the CAD skill to pull it off anyway. So, they’ll beat a head against that wall exactly twice. Then, it’s back out to the inefficient (but well known) lab for some duct tape and cardboard mockups.

Sounds simple, but just remind your engineers that they don’t have to use the manufacturing-ready models from the designers in their CAE tools. 30 hours of grueling defeaturing can easily turn into 1 hour of onion-skinning simpler, representative, analysis-ready models. Alternately, you may want to invest in a history-free modeling solution such as SpaceClaim. That would arm your Engineers with a tool that can read in and easily manipulate complicated geometry from traditional CAD tools.

Read this article for more details:
Are screwy CAD models ruining your upfront CFD ROI?

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2 comments

  1. It will be interesting to see what Siemen’s Synchronous Technology Platform will bring to the table for Solid Edge and NX houses with regards to Upfront CAE.

    anyone interested, just hit you tube and do a search, how library of videos.. shows guys, pulling, pushing, dragging geom all over the place.

    Too early for me to judge, but looks awesome..

    Maybe that is what PTC was thinking by acquiring CoCreate…

    Is feature based the only way – surely doesn’t appear so.

  2. It will be interesting to see what Siemen’s Synchronous Technology Platform will bring to the table for Solid Edge and NX houses with regards to Upfront CAE.

    anyone interested, just hit you tube and do a search, how library of videos.. shows guys, pulling, pushing, dragging geom all over the place.

    Too early for me to judge, but looks awesome..

    Maybe that is what PTC was thinking by acquiring CoCreate…

    Is feature based the only way – surely doesn’t appear so.