CAD importance in Product Development

CAD in Product Development

CAD in Product Development – CAD and CAM are industrial computer applications, which have greatly reduced the time and cost cycles between initial concepts and product development. They have enabled designers and manufacturers to make significant cost savings. These tools also reduce the time to market for new products, and reduce the number of design flaws, which tend to hamper productivity, and in some cases ground an entire production cycle. Since the 1980s, CAD and CAM have provided exponential gains to both the quantity and quality of products.[/fusion_text][fusion_text]The primary advantages of CAD include the ability to:

  • reduce design cycle times
  • design a complex machine without the need to prototype
  • prototype parts directly from a CAD model
  • reduce low-cost design iterations rapidly
  • alter the designs quickly by changing geometrical parameters
  • view designs or parts under a variety of representations
  • virtually simulate real-world applications

CAM is the use of CAD data to control automated machinery for producing parts designed using CAD. The benefits of linking part fabrication directly to the CAD model include:

  • Direct control of computer numerical control (CNC) or direct numerical control (DNC) systems to produce exact replicas of the designs
  • Ability to skip the engineering drawing phase
  • Reduced part variability

How Boeing Set the Standard for Design Automation? – Cad Importance in Product Development –

Boeing is the world’s second-largest defence contractor and a leading manufacturer of aircraft, rockets, and satellites. CAD has played a major role in their product development planning and operations over the past three decades. Boeing announced the development of the 777 in the late 1980s, leading many aviation experts to question their decision. The design of an entirely new aircraft is a highly expensive task, whereas the success of the 747 models had been serving customers for over 30 years led experts to believe that the proper solution was to modify the 747 to suit passenger needs. Boeing applied a new approach that included customer inputs in the design phase from several major airlines, including United Airlines, Nippon Airways, British Airways, Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

More importantly, Boeing invested over $1 billion in design automation using CAD based on CATIA (Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application) and ELFINI (Finite Element Analysis System) to design the new airliner that would turn out to become an industry standard. Both of these software packages were developed by Dassault Systemes of France. Boeing applied the following objectives to guide their break-through process:

  • Reduce aircraft development time significantly
  • Meet customer requirements better by involving them in the development process
  • Eliminate costly modification procedures

As a result, the 777 was the first aircraft in the world to be designed entirely using CAD technology. It was designed to maximize efficiency and quality. The completed design included over 3 million parts! The design process, its innovative features, and Boeing’s approach to manufacturing became the “Gold Standard” for development of future aircraft and were applied to a number of other projects, such as the International Space Station. The design was executed so successfully that a full-scale mock-up of the 777 was never built and was not necessary, reducing the design and production time. In fact, its first flight was so successful that the design was considered one of the most seamless and smoothest to date.

By using CAD models, design engineers were able to provide “built-in” options, which did not need to go to production, such as folding wing-tips. By developing options in CAD, the cost associated with such a trade study and its design is minimized.

What Benefits did Boeing Realize by Automating its Design Process? – Cad Importance in Product Development –

To assess the value of the design automation that Boeing implemented in their process by using 3D CAD modelling to design the 777, Boeing compared the effort with their previous design efforts (757 and 767). Overall, they realized:

  • 91% reduction in development time
  • 71% reduction in labour costs
  • Over 3000 assembly interfaces were developed virtually without the need for prototypes
  • Reduction in design and production flaws, mismatches, and associated errors
  • 90% reduction in engineering change requests from approximately 6000 to 600
  • 50% reduction in cycle time for engineering change request
  • 90% reduction in material rework
  • 50 times improvement in assembly tolerances for the fuselage.

It is notable that the design was completed at a time when CAD was not linked directly with FEA and CFD modelling software, but the effort has still been widely accepted as one of the greatest uses of CAD of its time.

Importance of CAD in Product Development

The value of CAD modelling is just as valuable on a smaller scale, such as in the bicycle industry. For example, Cannondale is another pioneer that has utilized CAD and CAM technology since the 1990s to reduce its production cycle and reduce manufacturing costs, resulting in significantly higher production rates. As part of their integrated system design approach, Cannondale extended its production capability to produce custom designs for customers that are fit to their individual needs, resulting in over 7000 custom-fit designs that can be produced using their vertical integration production strategy. Their highly advanced model allows the company to maintain a competitive advantage in all aspects of design, performance, and production.

What Lessons can be Learnt from these Pioneers?

  • Leverage customer input early in the design process
  • Use CAD, CAM, and rapid prototyping of models to obtain valuable feedback from all stakeholders, including end customers, manufacturers, and suppliers
  • Reduce design times by applying CAD early in the design process no matter how small, simple, or complex your design.

What is concept to product development?

Concept to product development is the process of transforming an initial idea or concept into a tangible, marketable product. It involves several stages, each of which contributes to refining and shaping the idea until it becomes a finished product ready for sale. Here’s an overview of the typical stages involved:
Idea Generation: This is the starting point where concepts are brainstormed, researched, or identified based on market needs, consumer preferences, technological advancements, or other sources of inspiration.
Concept Development: Once an idea is generated, it’s essential to flesh it out into a more detailed concept. This involves outlining the product’s features, benefits, target audience, and potential market positioning.
Market Research: Conducting market research is crucial to validate the concept and gather insights into consumer needs, preferences, and behaviors. This helps in refining the concept to better align with market demands.
Design and Engineering: In this stage, the concept starts taking shape through design and engineering efforts. Designers create visual representations of the product, while engineers work on the technical aspects, ensuring feasibility and functionality.
Prototyping: Prototyping involves creating early-stage versions of the product to test its design, functionality, and user experience. Prototypes can be physical (e.g., 3D printed models) or digital (e.g., software prototypes).
Testing and Iteration: Prototypes are tested extensively to identify any flaws, usability issues, or areas for improvement. Feedback from testing is used to refine the product through iterative design cycles.
Manufacturing and Production: Once the design is finalized and prototyping is complete, the product moves into the manufacturing phase. This involves setting up production processes, sourcing materials, and manufacturing units to produce the final product at scale.
Quality Assurance: Quality assurance processes ensure that the manufactured products meet specified standards and requirements. This involves rigorous testing and inspection to detect and rectify any defects or inconsistencies.
Marketing and Launch: As the product nears completion, marketing efforts ramp up to create awareness and generate interest among potential customers. A launch plan is executed to introduce the product to the market through various channels.
Sales and Distribution: The final stage involves selling the product to customers through established distribution channels. Sales teams work to promote the product, secure orders, and ensure its availability in retail stores or online platforms.

What are the steps in product development?

Product development typically involves several key steps, which can vary depending on the industry, product complexity, and company practices. Here’s a general outline:
Idea Generation: This is the initial phase where ideas for new products or improvements to existing products are brainstormed. Ideas can come from various sources such as customer feedback, market research, internal teams, or innovation workshops.
Idea Screening: Once ideas are generated, they need to be evaluated to determine their feasibility, alignment with business objectives, and potential market demand. Ideas that don’t meet the criteria are filtered out.
Concept Development and Testing: In this phase, the selected ideas are further developed into detailed product concepts. These concepts are then tested with potential customers to gather feedback and validate assumptions.
Business Analysis: This step involves a thorough analysis of the potential costs, revenues, and profitability of the product. Factors such as production costs, pricing strategy, market size, competition, and potential sales volume are considered.
Prototype Development: A prototype is a preliminary version of the product that is built to test its functionality, design, and feasibility. Prototypes can range from simple sketches to fully functional models, depending on the nature of the product.
Testing and Validation: Prototypes are tested rigorously to identify any flaws or issues that need to be addressed. This may involve internal testing as well as testing with real users in real-world conditions.
Design for Manufacturing (DFM): Once the prototype is finalized, the product design is optimized for manufacturing. This involves ensuring that the product can be produced efficiently, cost-effectively, and at scale.
Production and Launch: With the design finalized, the product moves into production. This may involve setting up manufacturing processes, sourcing materials, and establishing quality control measures. The product is then launched into the market through various channels such as retail stores, online platforms, or direct sales.
Marketing and Sales: Marketing efforts are ramped up to create awareness and generate demand for the new product. Sales teams are also trained to promote and sell the product to customers.
Post-Launch Evaluation: After the product is launched, its performance is continuously monitored and evaluated. Customer feedback, sales data, and market trends are analyzed to identify areas for improvement and future iterations of the product.

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