Computer Aided Design (CAD) has revolutionized the fields of design, engineering and manufacturing. CAD software applications range from simulating a manufacturing run, to blueprinting designs and concepts, to advertising by showing a simulation of a new product in action. At Cutting Edge Laser, we utilize CAD software to streamline our processes and add value to your metal fabrication needs. Before explaining how CAD software applies to manufacturing, let’s look at a brief overview of CAD software.
The Introduction Of CAD Software
The technological revolution of the 21st century changed the face of manufacturing forever. In the 1970’s, Computer Aided Design software began to emerge. CAD was originally developed for the automotive industry by the General Motors Research Laboratory in the 1960’s. Back then, you had to manually insert cards with commands for the CAD software. After interpreting the commands, the computer would print out the resulting design. Soon after this, CAD was being used in all design areas of manufacturing.
3D CAD vs. 2D Drafts
Not long after CAD’s popularization, another revolution came about: the invention of 3D CAD modeling. Computer monitors are now able to render a full, 3 dimensional image of a design. This hugely benefits both engineers and manufacturers! The added detail allows both parties to work together in ways that were not possible before. Showing models in 3D allows engineers to identify every last detail from every angle. It also helps them view each part of a design in real world relation to all other aspects. Some CAD software can simulate products in action, thus an engineer would be able to test the resiliency, durability, and efficiency of their product design. 3D rendering helps manufacturers adjust their processes for each design, to determine which machines/processes are necessary for production.
CAD In Manufacturing Today
CAD software has greatly improved the efficiency of manufacturing processes. Drafting by hand takes around four times as long as using CAD software! Even when we compare manufacturing today with 1980’s-90’s manufacturing, CAD has boosted efficiency several times over. For one, computers are hundreds of times faster than they were back then. A faster computer means faster rendering of the design or simulation. As computers grow faster and faster, manufacturing will certainly become more effective and efficient.
Not only does CAD software speed up the design process, it also reduces manufacturing mistakes through simulating. At Cutting Edge Laser, we use SolidWorks to simulate our manufacturing processes before each item is manufactured. This ensures that we aren’t wasting energy or metal through trial runs. Simulating the cutting process beforehand also allows us to compare time, costs, and effectiveness of alternate cutting approaches.
Our main goal in using SolidWorks is to add value to your designs by increasing efficiency in our processes in ways that will save you money. Can we bend a part into position rather than cutting and welding it? If so, this will save you money on your part. Ultimately, SolidWorks allows us to find the most efficient route for manufacturing your goods.
Automated manufacturing processes have evolved over the years in so many ways. Our goal at CEL is to utilize the latest technology to improve our processes and performance. Each technological advance brings us closer to that goal. For more information on what Cutting Edge Laser can do for you, contact us today for a free quote.