cad drafter

CAD Drafters Career Opportunities

Over the past several decades, CAD drafters career opportunies were a valid position to pursue within the CAD design industry. With advances in technology and computer applications, career growth in this a particular segment has declined in recent years. The current expected outlook for this type of career field is only expected to grow at a rate of 1% through 2022, according to the Australian Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, that does not necessarily mean there are not still career opportunities, so long as you have the right education and experience. In this post, we will review what a CAD drafter is, how this career field has changed, and where to find employment opportunities.

What Is a CAD Drafter?

When computers started to become more widely adapted within the CAD industry, not many engineers and architects had the experience or knowledge required to perform the task of transferring designs from paper to CAD software applications. Hence, the position of CAD drafter was created. A CAD drafter was the person responsible for converting the drawings and schematics from paper and recreating them in an appropriate software application, as well as making updates whenever modifications were made to the original drawings.

For people who were interested in computers, drawing, and design, this was a great career to pursue. In recent years, though, employers have started treating this job as an entry level position, because it does not involve having to fully understand the intricacies of the design process. Starting salaries are much lower today than they were five or even ten years ago, but, if you are looking to get into the CAD design industry, this is a great starting position while you continue to pursue your education and gain experience.

CAD Drafter Career Opportunities

The easiest way to get a positon as a CAD drafter is through an internship program while you are working on your associate’s or bachelor’s degree in CAD design. Many businesses in the CAD industry are rethinking this type of position and questioning whether it is still necessary. Their philosophy stems from the fact that their architects and engineers are already using CAD apps, so why should they pay a drafter to make changes when the original designer can do it themselves?

On the other hand, not all employers want to pay a highly experienced architect or engineer to make changes and modifications to their original designs. As a result, this leaves career opportunities in the market, most of which are made readily available through internship programs. Additionally, many employers are reclassifying the position by calling those within this career field CAD designers.

For more information about professional CAD drafting services or career opportunities, please feel free to contact Australian Design and Drafting Services at 1800 287 223 or 07 3149 3547  today.

Virtual Reality and Future of CAD Design

Virtual Reality and Future of CAD Design

A common problem for parents who are raising teenage children is to pull them away from computer games so that they would do homework and other assignments. It may not be far-fetched to say that many teenagers are addicted to computer games. The APA (The American Psychiatric Association) has determined that enough evidence exists to propose the potential disorder of video game addiction as a “condition requiring further study”. Furthermore, the APA found out that excessive use of video games may have some or all of the symptoms of drug addiction or other proposed psychological addictions.

What could be the addictive element in computer gaming which controls teenage habits and behavior? It is probably due to the element of Virtual Reality (VR), which makes a teenager feel immersed in a real environment in which gaming events occur.

The use of VR in gaming technology could be responsible for computer game addiction, and there are other possible uses of VR which could have negative results for society. However, there are many other uses of VR which could be useful and beneficial.

How Is VR Being Implemented?

Research work is ongoing at Microsoft®, Google®, Facebook®, and other leading technical organizations to design electronic headsets that create high-definition holograms. The person who wears the headset will be immersed in a “real environment” in which a plethora of events could occur.

Because almost all human sensations such as smell, taste, pleasure, pain, will be simulated in addition to visual ability, the wearer of the headset will actually experience the “reality” of being in the simulated environment.

Positive types of events could include a trip to another planet, to a fancy restaurant to an amusement park, or to an imaginary paradise of fun and pleasure. Negative types of events could include escapism, isolation, and behavior modification, virtual sex, committing a crime, or doing evil to an enemy.

When the line of demarcation between what is real versus what is virtual reality disappears, it does not take much motivation for a VR-addicted person to carry out fantasies, even if they are evil, in the real world. Could the mass shootings which appear frequently in the news foreshadow a troublesome future for society?

This article looks primarily at the positive uses of VR on CAD design, although the negative implications are also acknowledged. Specifically, the article addresses these questions:

  • How is VR being used for CAD work?
  • How is VR being used to control manufacturing tasks?
  • How is VR being used in non-CAD applications?

How is VR being used for CAD work?

VR in CAD design provides the ability to “walk around” 3D renderings of mathematical models as if they actually exist in space. The wearer of the VR helmet can actually view all details of a 3D simulation of a design in a manner that is not possible even with powerful CAD workstations.

This capability provides virtual prototyping solutions which speed up the product development cycle.

As CAD-related VR technology matures to the point of accurately checking design quality and accuracies, the need for actual prototyping will be eliminated, and the time to market will be greatly accelerated.

The probability that CAD-related VR prototyping will become available is quite likely. The company Virtalis® is working with leading CAD providers like PTC, Siemens, Dassault Systems, and Autodesk to integrate VR into their software offerings.

According to Virtalis, two customers of CAD-based VR technology (BAE Systems® and Paccar Trucks®) report that VR has enabled them to do away with physical prototyping entirely.

How Is VR Being Used To Control Manufacturing Tasks?

  • Ford® has already used CAD-driven VR for automotive design and prototyping. The automotive design engineer who wears a VR headset is now able to spot design flaws that would otherwise be impossible to detect. Furthermore, the need to build physical prototypes has been reduced because of CAD-related VR technology.
  • BAE Systems uses VR in prototyping submarine subsystems.
  • Law enforcement is using VR to create virtual and realistic models of crime scenes without requiring the presence of detectives and investigators on the crime scene.

How Is VR Being Used In Non-CAD Applications?

  • Architects and the building construction industry can construct and evaluate virtual buildings and structures before committing time and money to the actual construction.
  • The petroleum industry is using virtual environments for training workers before assigning them to offshore sites such as platforms and offshore drilling rigs.
  • Medical schools are using VR to train doctors and dentists to perform “hands on” operations on virtual patients in a risk free environment, and to learn from their mistakes.
  • Paramedics are taught life-saving skills by placing them in simulated, high-pressure emergency environments.
  • Patients and soldiers are trained to deal with phobia by placing them in simulated pressure environments.
  • VR is used in flight simulation training of air force and civilian pilots.
  • VR is used to create simulated driving conditions when training truck drivers.

What Are Known Disadvantages Of VR?

These symptoms are possible side effects of computer-driven VR:

  • Behavior modification, addiction,
  • Escapism and isolation,
  • Blurring of the distinction between the real world and virtually created environments.

These symptoms have been reported by the wearing of VR-driven headsets:

  • Motion sickness,
  • Headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea.

Conclusions

There are clear and indisputable advantages to be gained by using VR for CAD design. Elimination of design flaws and inaccuracies will benefit both the product manufacturer and the consumer. The manufacturer spends less time and money on developing a reliable product, and the consumer pays less for a well-designed, less expensive, and reliable product.

Granted, there will be misuse of VR technology, and it will be necessary for legislative bodies and law enforcement to protect society from criminal behavior.

Although harmful effects of VR on the human brain have been reported, they have not been studied sufficiently in order to deal with the effects. It is optimistic to assume that VR technology will mature without many adverse side effects.

Cloud Based CAD

Cloud Based CAD

What is Cloud Based CAD? In a simplistic sense, it means that instead of having CAD software resident locally on CAD workstations or on local network servers, cloud-based solutions enable CAD software to be loaded and run remotely, and to be accessible on the internet to an approved CAD professional.

Before answering the question ”How Quickly is Cloud Based CAD being adopted?”, it is useful to know whether there are incentives for CAD organizations to be interested in cloud-based CAD.

  • Is cloud-based computing a novelty, or does it provide benefits such as cost savings, improved productivity, and protection of intellectual property?
  • Are there disadvantages or drawbacks which should be considered before using cloud-based CAD, instead of locally based CAD?

Answers to these two questions will make it easier to interpret and understand existing data regarding adoption rates for cloud-based CAD. Specifically:

  • Is cloud-based CAD growing, shrinking, or at a standstill?
  • If cloud-based CAD is growing, will it continue to grow? If it is not growing, why is that the case?
  • If cloud-based CAD will grow, at what projected rate?

What Benefits and Drawbacks Does Cloud-based CAD Provide?

Some of the benefits of using cloud-based CAD are:

  • Reduced capital expenditure, because it reduces the need to purchase and maintain workstations
  • Reduced cost of licensing CAD software on individual workstations
  • Global access to CAD software, and elimination of the need to co-locate CAD personnel
  • Increased productivity and collaboration
  • Provision for data backup and recovery, and certain levels of security
  • Reduced energy usage and reduced carbon emissions

Some of the drawbacks are:

  • The risk of security breaches and the danger of losing sensitive business data to hackers
  • Availability issues due to downtime or system outages
  • Inadequate internet bandwidth for certain mission-critical projects
  • Loss of control over company data, and the risk of entrusting protection of company data to an external organization
  • The potential for hacker intrusion and theft of sensitive, classified data

Is There Resistance To Adopting Cloud-based CAD?

The benefits of cloud based CAD seem compelling from a business viewpoint, even if there are some drawbacks. However, it appears from published reports that the current adoption rate of cloud-based CAD is probably between 20% and 30%. Although many businesses are seriously considering the adoption of cloud-based computing, either they have done so in a limited way, or they have not taken the plunge.

Since cloud-based computing provides many benefits, what reasons or concerns are delaying or resisting adoption of the service?

The three top concerns are:

  • Security (61%)
  • System Integration challenges (46%),
  • Information governance (35%).

This probably means that although many CAD organizations are carefully evaluating cloud-based offerings from many vendors, the organizations are in no hurry to adopt cloud-based CAD. This makes sense, because the potential for security breaches, the potential for hackers to steal sensitive company design data, and system performance issues are too risky to be taken lightly.

Until the drawbacks of cloud-based computing are resolved or eliminated, it makes sense for CAD organizations to:

  • Maintain software applications which handle sensitive company data on their own firewalled local servers,
  • Use cloud-based computing for handling data which does not require security clearance,
  • Use a combination of privately-maintained cloud computing together with locally-based computing (hybrid cloud computing).

It is necessary to define three main categories of cloud computing:

  1. Public cloud computing provides both computing resources and data management to the general public. The service is provided either freely or on a pay-per-usage model. This type of service is useful when security is not a major issue.
  2. Private cloud computing appeals to large enterprise organizations which have sensitive data, and require high levels of data protection and security clearance.
  3. Hybrid cloud computing uses the best of both public and private cloud computing. This is a good choice for CAD organizations which want to “test the water” before diving into fully-fledged cloud computing.

What Does Existing Data Say About Adoption Rates Of Cloud-based CAD?

The adoption rate for cloud-based computing depends on the type of software application. Although many types of cloud-based services are available, there are three main types:

  • SaaS (Software as a Service) or “on-demand” software migrates easily to the cloud, because security issues are minimal. Clients usually access SaaS with web browsers. The adoption rate is about 49%.
    Examples of SaaS are Google Apps, Microsoft Office 365, Twitter, Flickr, Dropbox, and Facebook.
  • PaaS (Platform as a Service) provides a computing platform on which software applications can be developed and deployed. Because PaaS provides a virtualized computing environment, software developers can focus on writing software without being concerned with attendant OS-driven tasks. The adoption rate is about 18%.
    Examples of PaaS are AWS (Amazon Web Services) Beanstalk, Google App Engine, Heroku, and Red Hat’s OpenShift.
  • IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provides scalable computing resources in a virtualized environment, and it manages cloud-enabled data.  Because IaaS clients have control over SaaS and PaaS clients, IaaS is the most likely candidate to be adopted by CAD organizations.
    IaaS could be used to develop applications for SaaS and PaaS environments. The adoption rate is about 28%.
    Examples of IaaS are Windows Azure, Rackspace, CloudSigma, HPCloud and Softlayer.

Is It Likely That The Adoption Rate Of Cloud-based CAD Will Grow?

A report by Cisco reveals that by 2018,

  • 31% of cloud workloads will use public cloud service,
  • 69% of cloud workloads will use private cloud service.

Furthermore,

  • 59% of cloud workloads will use SaaS, an increase of 41% from 2013,
  • 28% of cloud workloads will use IaaS, a decrease of 44% from 2013,
  • 13% of cloud workloads will use PaaS, a decrease of 15% from 2013.

If these projections hold true, the adoption rate of cloud-based CAD should either remain the same or decrease. Any more growth in the adoption of cloud-based CAD will probably occur as IaaS, within the realm of either private or hybrid cloud computing.

CAD Software and Entrepreneur

CAD Software and Entrepreneur

A new trend is developing in the CAD industry, led by Dassault Systems. The CAD vendor is making its Solidworks software suite freely available to startups, nonprofit organizations, and business incubators, except for a small application fee. Not far behind is Autodesk, which provides the same opportunities.

This initiative by leading CAD companies is making it much easier for startup companies and entrepreneurs to implement designs, and to manage the essential phases of product development.

To make this clearer, the CAD software offerings provide the capability to implement many of these essential phases of product design:

  • Concept Phase: The idea for a product is defined.
  • Feasibility Phase: Marketing, manufacturing and engineering studies are performed to determine whether it is feasible to proceed with product development and whether the product is marketable.
  • Development Phase: Engineering designs lead to the creation of product prototypes, and testing reveals whether the design is robust and whether the product will function reliably.
  • Production Phase: Manufacturing and tooling facilities are brought online to manufacture the product and to place it in the market place.
  • Product Support Phase: Marketing, Supplies, Distribution, and Sales departments provide support for establishing a footprint for the product in the market.

This article tries to understand how and why Dassault Systems and other leading CAD software providers are making their CAD software freely available as a development tool for the entrepreneur. Topics and questions to be addressed are:

  • What is the purpose of the incentive to provide free CAD software?
  • In what ways does the CAD software offering help the entrepreneur?
  • Are there success stories related to this entrepreneurial program?

What Is the Purpose behind the Incentive to Provide Free CAD Software?

The purpose behind the CAD software offering is to ease the process for hardware startups because many bootstrap startups do not have enough funds to develop and get their products to market.

Dassault Systems provides “free access” (except for a modest $200 application fee) to licensed versions of their software suite that is available to established engineering institutions. The use of the software in the early stages of product development saves startup companies significant amounts of design and production expenses.

The software suite enables entrepreneurs to solve product design problems, perform simulations, perform data management, and address environmental impact issues.

Autodesk allows new businesses or startups to use their software freely, without an application fee.

In What Ways Does the CAD Software Offering Help the Entrepreneur?

Because Dassault Systems, Autodesk, and other CAD companies are providing these software offerings:

  • Startup and bootstrap programs which are on austerity budgets have a better chance of bringing their product ideas to fruition.
  • The time to market is shortened because the software tools accelerate design and manufacturing cycles while saving production time and costs.

Because the software is provided without cost, it becomes easier to create the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Features that are provided by the Solidworks software suite (and also by Autodesk and similar competitors) include:

  • 3D design, which enables the entrepreneur to visualize design concepts, and to build functionality, durability and safety into designs;
  • Simulation, which provides virtualization of product designs under real-world performance conditions due to loadings and environmental conditions;
  • Incorporation of electrical designs into the functionality of the product intent;
  • Product data management, which makes design data, parts, drawings, and files available to authorized project personnel,
  • Technical communication of product details.

It is remarkable and laudable that such a rich set of features in a CAD software suite is being offered freely to entrepreneurs.

Are There Success Stories Related To This Entrepreneurial Program?

It is worthwhile to mention a few startups, incubators, small companies, and nonprofit organizations which are benefitting from CAD-sponsored entrepreneurial programs.

  • MassChallenge® has used the entrepreneurial program to provide accelerated startup assistance to over 100 companies in Boston and London. The services that the incubator provides include world-class mentorship, a support system from a motivated community of fellow entrepreneurs, training, marketing and media resources, funding opportunities, and free office space. The eligibility requirements are that the startup should be an early-stage startup, should have an initial funding of less than $500,000 investment, and less than $1M in revenue.
    Thus far, the incubator has risen over $706M in capital and created over 4800 new jobs.
  • The Copenhagen Wheel® has used the entrepreneurial program to transform a bicycle into a smart electric hybrid which multiplies pedalling power by a factor of 3X-10X. The system captures energy during braking or downhill motion of the bicycle, and stores the energy in an integrated lithium battery pack. When the rider pedals harder when going uphill, the stored energy assists the rider. A downloadable software application enables the rider to customize the performance of the bicycle system.
  • Goldie Blox® has used the entrepreneurial program to encourage and to mould young girls into young inventors. One way that Goldie Blox is moulding these future engineers is to provide them with role models who are interesting, smart and relatable. Another way that Goldie Blox is motivating young girls to become inventors is to provide girls at an early age with building bundles from which the girls can create innovative objects.
  • Nomiku® has used the entrepreneurial program to design a device which cooks food at the right temperature and pressure. The device cooks food in a sealed, airtight bag immersed in a water bath that is precisely controlled at an optimum temperature. This method of cooking achieves uniform cooking so that the food is neither charred on the outside nor raw on the inside. Since being kick-started by the entrepreneurial program, Nomiku has risen over $1.3 million, and the original version of the product has been sold to 7,000 homes. The company is rapidly expanding, and it is offering recipes from well-known chefs. It is also making it possible to do remotely control cooking and to share recipes with others.

Conclusions

The CAD software development program for startups and entrepreneurs is succeeding remarkably.

The program is enabling startups to succeed, and it is making it easier to train future designers and innovators.

Australian Design and drafting Services Electrical CAD Drafting In Construction Field

Electrical CAD Drafting In Construction Field

Before CAD machines were found, the field of construction required architects to make elaborate and detailed drawings on a sheet of paper. There were a lot of problems with the process. Not only were there fallacies in drawing, but at the same time, pinning down all the details and taking care of the different views and angles was particularly complex.

However, with the help of electrical CAD drafting services, it has become easier to handle the construction process. Following are some of the ways in which electrical CAD drafting can turn out handy in the field of construction.

Accurate Drawings Which Can Be Scaled

It is with the help of electrical CAD drafting that you can make some of the most detailed drawings. CAD software comes packed with a bundle of features. Not only can you change the scale, but you can make smart use of annotations and other parameters to ensure that you are making detailed and precise drawings.

It is with the help of electrical CAD drafting that you can handle the different details without the margin of error. When you are using CAD software, you will rely on the program for making all the drawings. This reduces the margin of error significantly.

Adapt To the Changes

In the field of construction, making changes can be tough to visualize. Even when you are altering a very minute part of the design, you need to visualize how it is going to impact the rest of the structure. Many times, we may end up missing crucial factors which will lead to problems in the long run. However, it is with the help of electrical CAD drafting that you can make edits and modifications.

If there is a need for some change in design, you can first implement it on your CAD drawing and analyze how the changes are going to impact the rest of the design. If there are huge ramifications, you may decide to take another alternative. If you just need to make some minor tweaks, you can do that on the CAD software and thereby remodel with finesses.

Hence, when it comes to modifications while constructions are underway, it is electrical CAD drafting that turns out to be handy in ways more than one.

Have a Blueprint

It is with the help of electrical CAD drafting that you can have a blueprint before you put the plans into action. Many times, it has been seen that architects find it hard to visualize every single thing. However, the Cad software is so designed that you can fully view the three-dimensional look and this helps a great deal in making a design that is feasible and good to look at.

Ever since CAD started being used by architects, its importance cannot be replaced and it looks to be a part of the core construction process. The software serves a wide variety of use and it has made the construction process not just easier but a lot more reliable and less prone to errors as well.

Raster Image Formats

Raster Image Formats in CAD

There are many 3D CAD file formats for storing and transmitting data. CAD file formats can be classified in terms of two distinct formats: the bitmap or raster (pixel-based) format, and the vector format. The distinction between the two formats is clarified by pointing out the main difference between them.

  • The raster format represents images in terms of pixels. On a display monitor, the pixels are dots which carry colour attributes and levels of intensity in RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) colours. Raster graphics are suitable for photographic images and they are resolution-dependent. They do not scale up to higher resolutions without loss of quality, because the image becomes grainier and image details become lost.
  • The vector format represents images as points, lines, curves and polygons (called primitives) on an algebraic grid. The primitives are utilized to create vector-based images. Vector images can scale up to any resolution without loss in quality.

The most important difference between raster and vector-based images is that raster images are poor when they are scaled higher than the resolution at which they were created. On the other hand, vector images can be scaled up or down without any loss in image quality:

  • Popular raster (bitmap) based formats are JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIFF formats.
  • Popular vector-based formats are EPS, PDF or AI (Adobe), SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), DXF (Drawing eXchange Format), WMF (Windows Metafile Format), DRW, and DWG formats.
  • Compound formats such as EPS, PDF, SWF, and PICT contain both pixel and vector-based data.

In order to determine whether the raster image format could disappear from CAD file systems, this article tries to answer these specific questions:

  • How popular is the vector format among leading CAD vendors?
  • Which CAD file formats are most popular with 3D printing technology?
  • Is any particular CAD file format best suited for CAD data exchange?
  • Why would the raster format remain an important part of CAD file systems?

How Popular Is the Vector Format among Leading CAD Vendors?

It appears that modern CAD software packages store design and drawing information in the vector format. To confirm this observation, it is worthwhile to look at CAD formats that leading CAD vendors use:

  • AutoDesk has its own native file format, but it supports DWG, DXF and many other file formats.
  • AutoCAD uses the DXF and DWG vector formats.
  • SolidWorks uses a structured format in which different file formats are embedded. The design information is stored in the DXF vector-based format. Other formats such as AI, CGR, and STL (for 3D printing) are stored within the structured format. The structured format also stores raster formatted images.

It is interesting to note that many software applications are available to convert images between the raster and vector formats. Some of the significant image converters include CorelDRAW, Easy Trace, Freehand, VP Software, WiseImage, and many others. Many leading CAD vendors also provide convertors between raster and vector file formats.

Which CAD File Formats are Most Popular With 3D Printing Technology?

The format used for 3D printing is the STL (STereoLithography) format. It is not clear whether any type of CAD file format is most suitable for 3D printing, because leading 3D companies such as Stratasys and 3D Systems automatically convert recognizable CAD files into STL language. Furthermore, many CAD vendors who are capable of exporting their files into STL include Autodesk Inventor, Catia, SolidWorks, ProEngineer and SolidEdge.

Is any Particular CAD File Format Best Suited For CAD Data Exchange?

There is no simple answer to this question. The preferable CAD file exchange software will have the ability to convert between raster and vector formats. The reason for this requirement is that modern CAD file systems are moving toward the use of a structured file format in which both raster and vector file formats are embedded. Because modern CAD files contain much more than drawings and design information, it makes sense to have different file formats stored within a structure, so that minimal information is lost during file transmissions and conversions.

A good example of integrating different types of information into a CAD file is provided by BIM (Building Information Modeling). BIM integrates activities of all parties and disciplines involved in a building project into a synergistic body which exchanges different types of information. When different teams work together on a project, it is necessary to use different file formats for information exchange. Raster formats are required for pictorial displays, animation and virtualization, while vector formats are required for design drawings which should be scalable. Strictly speaking, BIM provides a useful extension on the CAD file format, but it is not recognized as a CAD file format.

As complexities involved in creating integrated CAD file formats continue, it may become necessary to coin a different acronym for a unified file format which does not primarily contain CAD information.

To answer the question “Is any particular CAD file format best suited for CAD data exchange?”, the answer is no, with qualifications.

  • If the CAD data to be exchanged is strictly in the form of design drawings, then the vector format is best suited for the data exchange. It provides scalability without loss of information.
  • If the CAD data to be exchanged is strictly in the form of pictorial views or animations (such as for marketing or advertising purposes), then the raster format, created at a high enough resolution, is best suited for the data exchange.

Why Would The Raster Format Remain An Important Part Of CAD File Systems?

Although raster images do not scale up without losing information, they are indispensable for conveying pictorial information and for producing animations. The current trend for storing CAD data is leaning towards the use of a structured file format in which different file formats are embedded. Because each of the two primary CAD formats (raster and vector formats) are useful in their own right, the raster format will undoubtedly remain an important part of CAD file systems.

Australian Design and drafting Services Mobile CAD Computing 13

Mobile CAD Computing

From the time when the PC (Personal Computer) was introduced in the late 1970s to early 1980s, the computing world has witnessed progressive miniaturization of the PC into laptops, tablets, smartphones, and recently into computerized watches. Because of the availability of the internet and cloud computing, the trend is to reduce computing power on individual computing devices. Instead of packing a lot of computing power into one computing device, the trend is to access computing power which is provided by servers in a distributed computing environment.

A consumer desktop or laptop is not suitable for running 3D CAD software, because CAD operations involve complex computational procedures which require high performance or dedicated processors. Therefore, CAD workstations are purposely designed to provide high-performance computational power and snappy information exchange over networks and in a cloud-based computing environment.

A typical CAD engineer often needs to carry his/her workstation to meetings, design reviews, and on business trips. This need for mobility requires that a Mobile CAD Computing device should:

  • Provide performance which compares favourably with that of a CAD workstation,
  • Provide adequate graphics display size and resolution,
  • Be portable after its power adapter and necessary attachments are packed into a bag and transported even over reasonably long walking distances.

Hereon, the mobile CAD computing device will be referred to as a mobile CAD workstation. This article tries to answer the following questions:

  • What are the capabilities of a typical mobile CAD workstation?
  • Can a mobile CAD workstation perform as well as a traditional workstation?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of using mobile CAD workstations?

What Are the Capabilities of a Typical Mobile CAD Workstation?

Many versions of mobile CAD workstations are available from CAD vendors. A high-performance mobile CAD workstation should have these attributes:

  • It should be a light-weight, portable workstation which uses low voltage CPU, and has long battery life.
  • It should have a high-performance GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), and a high-resolution graphics display.
  • It should have a high capacity drive, USB ports, and a DVD drive.

Because it is impractical to list all popular mobile CAD workstations, the features of one high-performance mobile CAD workstation are provided. The Lenovo ThinkPad 541 is a mobile CAD workstation which provides these features:

  • It weighs about 5.57 pounds, it is about 1-inch thick, and it has 6+ hours of battery life.
  • It uses 4th generation i7 Extreme CPU and optional NVidia Quadra K2100M GPU, and it has 32 MB RAM.
  • It provides 15.6-inch, 2880 x 120 high-resolution displays.
  • It has 500 GB hard drive storage or SSD for improved performance.
  • It has many USB ports and an SD card reader.
  • It may be expanded to provide HDMI video output.

Can a Mobile CAD Workstation Perform As Well As A Traditional Workstation?

The consensus among CAD analysts is that the total CAD workstation market (which comprises desktop and mobile workstations) continues to grow. Mobile CAD workstations grow along with the overall market, and mobile workstation sales remain steady at about 25% of the total workstation market. A survey conducted by an industry research firm found that interest is growing in mobile CAD workstations, while interest is declining for desk-side PCs, workstations, and consumer-class notebooks. Another finding is that many mobile CAD workstations are not used primarily for creating and editing CAD drawings, but rather for accessing CAD drawings and data. Nevertheless, the demand for mobile CAD workstations is expected to show strong growth in the next few years.

Before PCs became popular in the 1980s, most CAD workstations were RISC-based systems such as DEC Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC, and SPARC. Afterwards, CAD workstations used operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux distributions, Apple Mac OS X, and Oracle Solaris.

The features of a top-end high-performance CAD workstation include the following:

  • High-performance processors from 4 to 18 cores, with base clock, speed up to 3.5 MHz, 2.5 MB core of last level cache, and DDR4 registered DIMM support for up to 32 GB of RAM.
  • Graphics GPU with up to 12 GB of memory as in the NVidia Quadro K6000 graphics card. A high-performance GPU is necessary for 3D animations and rendering. For ordinary CAD design work, it is more productive to invest in a high-performance processor.
  • Up to 24-inch LED display with a minimum high-level resolution of 1280 x 720. Typically, a top performance workstation supports multiple displays.
  • SSDs (Solid State Drives) instead of hard drives, or a combination of SSDs and hard drives.

It should be pointed out that virtualized CAD workstations may be more productive in a CAD development environment which relies on cloud computing and hardware virtualization. Using virtualized workstations is also more cost-effective in terms of hardware maintenance and hardware upgrade cycles. Although a mobile CAD workstation cannot compete with a top-end CAD workstation in terms of performance, it makes good economic sense to use a mobile workstation in a cloud-based or distributed computing environment, or in an environment of virtualized workstations.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Mobile CAD workstations?

A mobile CAD workstation cannot match the performance of a top-end high-performance desktop CAD workstation. However, interest is growing in mobile CAD workstations, while interest is declining for desk-side PCs, workstations, and consumer-class notebooks. This could mean that mobile CAD workstations provide benefits that are unmatched by traditional CAD workstations. It may be worthwhile to list some of these benefits.

  • A mobile workstation provides complimentary performance to a desktop CAD workstation while providing mobility.
  • A mobile CAD workstation is useful for project managers and executives who are primarily interested in accessing, viewing and reviewing CAD drawings and data, rather than in creating them.

A mobile CAD workstation is very useful in field operations when the CAD engineer needs to access and view CAD drawings and data.

Australian Design and drafting Services Virtual Prototyping Reality? 12

Virtual Prototyping Reality?

Manufacturing organizations have much to gain by reducing TTM (Time To Market), to optimize product designs for optimum performance, and to maximize reliability. A typical product design cycle (before Product Launch), referred to as PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) involves these essential phases:

  • Conceptual design,
  • Detailed design and validation,
  • Tooling design,
  • Manufacturing planning and implementation,
  • Product build and assembly,
  • Reliability Testing.

These essential phases, although they are the preliminary phases of PLM, are time-consuming and costly. In a typical PLM, physical prototypes of the end product are produced and tested for functionality, performance and reliability. It usually takes several design and manufacturing iterations to produce acceptable test results before product launch. These are the reasons why preliminary phases of PLM are time-consuming and costly.

Virtual Prototyping is emerging as one of the promising methods for creating virtual rather than physical prototypes which can be tested with simulation software. If this method develops into a mature technology, it will provide tremendous benefits to manufacturing organizations.

In order to understand Virtual Prototyping, this article tries to answer these questions:

  • How is CAD technology involved in Virtual Prototyping?
  • To what extent is Virtual Prototyping being used?
  • What benefits does Virtual Prototyping Provide?

How is CAD Technology Involved in Virtual Prototyping?

The goal of Virtual Prototyping is to use engineering simulation software to predict the performance and reliability of product assemblies before they are manufactured. Virtual Prototyping is also referred to as Systems Performance Modeling. The ability to predict the performance and reliability with simulation software is a very complex and challenging task for several reasons.

  • It is necessary to understand how components or parts of a product deform individually under loadings, and how they deform when they are assembled into a product.
  • It is necessary to understand how the material properties of parts degrade over the life of the product. Material properties could degrade due to low or high-temperature changes, or due to chemical reactions in a corrosive environment.
  • It is necessary to understand the nature of loadings. For example, cyclical loadings occur due to wind forces, ocean wave forces or currents, and earthquakes. A product could also be subjected to vibrational forces created by neighbouring machinery.
  • It is necessary to understand how manufacturing defects could initiate crack growth and propagation.
  • It is necessary to understand failure modes of parts and how they influence the performance of the entire assembly or product in terms of reliability.

Apart from these reasons, there are many other factors to be considered such as governmental regulations, environmental issues, and manufacturing techniques which are utilized for building a product.

The main CAD-related tools which are utilized for Virtual Prototyping are 3D CAD design and simulation tools, and CAE analysis and tools. These tools are capable of designing parts and subjecting them to known static or dynamic loadings so that they can perform crash simulations and finite element analyses. However, the ability to simulate the performance and reliability of an assembled product under different operational conditions requires more sophisticated software which integrates the capabilities of these CAD tools. This ability is the primary goal of Systems Performance Modeling or Virtual Prototyping.

Successful implementation of simulation software for predicting the performance and reliability of a product will make it possible to examine different design alternatives before committing to specific product intent. If Virtual Prototyping is achievable, the benefits to a manufacturing organization will be enormous. It should be pointed out that the availability of Additive Manufacturing or 3D printing could be utilized to validate simulation software which is developed for Virtual Prototyping.

To What Extent is Virtual Prototyping Being Used?

As complex as Virtual Prototyping sounds, certain organizations have made good progress in implementing the technology. It is worthwhile to look at what has been accomplished.

  • Mazda® has been using a Virtual Prototyping solution called the CoMET from Synopsys® for reducing the number of tests on real automobiles for verification of ECUs (Engine Control Units) and HIL test equipment. HIL (Hardware-in-the-loop) is a simulation technique for developing and testing embedded systems such as exist in automotive computer systems (example: suspension, anti-lock braking). Mazda credits the Virtual Prototyping software with accelerating ECU development and lowering cost. Another company which is benefitting from Virtual Prototyping is Ford®.
  • Optitex®, an apparel manufacturer, has been using a robust set of virtual fabric simulation software to create, view and edit accurate apparel patterns before putting them on the market. The virtual software provides the company with a shorter time to market, improved innovation, and customer satisfaction. For example, design parameters such as fitting, buttons, zippers, pulls, buckles, seam finishes, pleats, repeats, and many more parameters can be manipulated in a virtual environment before the product is made. Another apparel manufacture which is benefitting from virtual prototyping is Tukatech®.

What Benefits Does Virtual Prototyping Provide?

Although many benefits that Virtual Prototyping provides have been mentioned, it will be useful to summarize the most important benefits.

  • Virtual Prototyping makes it possible to perform repeatable tests on a virtualized product under conditions which may be difficult or impossible to create.
  • Virtual Prototyping makes it possible to perform design modifications on a virtualized product, test the product, and arrive at an optimized design which is cost-effective, robust, and reliable.
  • Virtual Prototyping makes it possible to test a virtualized product against failure modes and effects, different types of loadings, different operating conditions such as high or low temperatures, customer misuse of the product, and corrosive environments.
  • Virtual Prototyping shortens the time for product design, makes it easier to introduce new products, and shortens the time to market.
  • Virtual Prototyping provides better customer satisfaction and increases product presence in the market.

CAD/CAM software systems form an integral part of Virtual Prototyping or Systems Modeling software. Because of the availability of 3D printing, certain types of Virtual Prototyping simulation software should be easier to develop and validate with 3D-printed models.

Australian Design and drafting Services Driverless Car Cad Design 1

Driverless Car Cad Design

If you think the idea of having driverless cars on the roads seems dangerous and utopian, think again, because the idea is quickly becoming reality. Actually, we have been using certain features of driverless cars for some time. Until recently, automobiles did not have cruise control, automatic and antilock braking, temperature sensors, GPS technology, or road sensing technology. That has all changed.[/fusion_text][fusion_text]The autopilot system for air travel has been available for a long time, and the maturity and reliability of the technology continue to improve. If automatic piloting of complex aircraft in busy airspaces is acceptable, why should driverless cars not be acceptable?

A partial list of technologies required to create driverless cars are the following:

  • Onboard computer technology,
  • Onboard telemetry (radar and laser sensors),
  • Anti-lock and automatic braking systems,
  • Adaptive cruise control,
  • GPS and sensor technology,
  • Traction and stability control,
  • Automatic engine control,
  • Computerized navigational system.

This article focuses on CAD-related technologies which could be involved in building driverless cars. Specifically, the article discusses how the following technologies (which involve CAD design) will affect driverless cars:

  • The role of sensors, GPS technology, and video cameras for driverless cars,
  • Leading players in the development of driverless cars,
  • Benefits which driverless cars will provide,
  • Problems which driverless cars could create.

The role of sensors, GPS technology, and video cameras for driverless cars

The following technologies will help implement driverless car technology while providing collision avoidance and traffic safety:

  • Video cameras will detect traffic lights, read road signs, keep track of neighbouring vehicles, and look out for pedestrians, pets and other obstacles.
  • LIDAR (Laser Illuminating Detection and Ranging) sensors will detect edges of roads and identify lane markings by bouncing light pulses off the car’s surroundings.
  • Ultrasonic non-contact sensors in the wheels will detect the position of curbs and neighbouring vehicles during parking.
  • GPS technology will use the location of the vehicle to determine routing, speed limits and to provide navigational guidance.
  • Onboard telemetry will enable cars to communicate with one another, and with traffic monitoring and control systems.
  • The onboard computer will analyze all monitored and measured data in order to make navigational decisions regarding steering, acceleration or deceleration, and braking.

Leading players in the development of driverless cars

It is not within the scope of this article to list the names and accomplishments of all leading players in driverless car technology. It will suffice to highlight two significant accomplishments.

Israel’s Mobileye® made news recently when its driverless vehicle supplied by Delphi Automotive traversed a 3,000-mile journey from San Francisco to Manhattan in 9 days. Before this accomplishment, the driverless vehicle had been successfully operated in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The driverless vehicle could detect cyclists, debris on the road, curbs, barriers, construction zones, traffic lights, and road signs.
Mobileye expects to offer 237 driverless car models by the end of 2016.
Deals to use the technology have already been made with BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Peugeot, Volvo and Tesla. Truck manufacturers MAN SE, Scania, and IVECO have also made deals to use the technology.
In 2014, Google unveiled the technology named “Google Chauffeur” for piloting autonomous or driverless cars. Google’s technology neither uses a steering wheel nor a brake pedal.
Automotive companies which have signed on to use Google’s technology include Toyota Prius, Audi TT, and Lexus RX450h. Google’s robotic car uses a LIDAR system which generates a detailed local map of its environment. The generated map is combined with high-resolution maps of the world in order to produce data models that the computer uses to pilot the vehicle.
Google’s driverless vehicles have been tested in the San Francisco area, and they have logged about 700,000 miles (1.1 million km) of accident-free driving. Google plans to make its driverless cars publicly available by 2020.

Benefits which driverless cars will provide

In order to enjoy the benefits that driverless cars will provide, it is necessary for legislative bodies to pass or modify traffic laws. In the United States, the District of Columbia and four states have already passed laws that permit the operation of driverless cars. Many other state legislatures are discussing the passage of similar laws.

Predictably, the public will initially be sceptical about operating driverless cars, until the following benefits become evident.

  • There will be a significant reduction in vehicle collisions, injuries caused by automobile accidents, and loss of life. Consequently, the cost of insuring motor vehicles will be lower.
  • There will be less need for individual driving licenses and driving skills.
  • Senior citizens, teenagers, and handicapped people will have the mobility that they do not now have.
  • A businessman or woman could work or play (read the newspaper or a book, watch TV, eat or drink) instead of focusing on driving to work. The need for police officers to arrest motorists for DUI, which is a leading cause of traffic deaths, will be gone.
  • Law enforcement will have more manpower to fight crime instead of enforcing traffic laws.

Problems which driverless cars could create

It should not come as a surprise that whenever new technology is introduced to benefit mankind, criminal minds will find ways to misuse the technology for personal profit or to cause mischief. What problems could arise?

  • Criminals will hack into onboard computer systems in order to steal automobiles.
  • Terrorists will hack into traffic control systems and into car computer systems in order to create accidents, traffic jams, or chaos.

Law enforcement will need the training to fight these new types of traffic crime. The use of the internet, GPS, and drone technology could become useful instruments for enforcing traffic safety.

Conclusions

Driving as we know it is about to change in a dramatic way. Although many technical problems remain to be solved, the use of driverless vehicles should accelerate rapidly by the year 2020.

Initially, driverless cars will be expensive. When the costs of these vehicles come down, almost everyone (including senior citizens, children, drunk drivers, and even blind people) will have the privilege of using driverless cars without endangering the lives of the public or themselves.

Australian Design and drafting Services Wearable Medical Devices CAD Design 10

Wearable Medical Devices CAD Design

The majority of people born before the year 1900 did not live past the age of 50. In the 20th century, life expectancy increased dramatically, and today, life expectancy is over 80 years in many developed countries. It is estimated that people over 85 years of age comprise about 8% of the world population. However, the cost of health care continues to rise, and the expected large number of elderly who will need health care could severely stress the health care systems of many nations.[/fusion_text][fusion_text]Although it is welcome news to have increased life expectancy, living to a good old age will not be meaningful without a good quality of life. Old, diseased or disabled poor senior citizens create burdens for caregivers and families, and they increase the cost of health care and insurance for the entire population. One way to maintain a good quality of life for the elderly is to find efficient and inexpensive methods for monitoring their health. Doing so makes it easier to take preventive measures to combat diseases, and to proactively treat diseases and ailments before they become difficult and expensive to handle.

The following is a partial list of steps which could be taken to increase life expectancy:

  • Reduce the transmission of infectious and parasitic diseases;
  • Immunize against smallpox, polio, measles, and major childhood diseases;
  • Improve living conditions, provide clean water, and nutritious diets;
  • Provide health awareness and education in order to minimize exposure to health risks such as toxic substances, smoking, alcohol consumption, poor diet, and lack of exercise;
  • Fund the development of advanced drugs to fight and treat diseases;
  • Provide health monitoring, health management, and injury control.

The last item, “Provide health monitoring, health management and injury control” uses modern CAD-related technology in the form of wearable medical devices, and it is the focus of this article.

In the article, we answer these questions:

  • What are wearable medical devices?
  • In what ways are wearable medical devices CAD-related?
  • Which wearable medical devices are in common use?
  • What trends are likely for the use of wearable medical devices?

What Are Wearable Medical Devices?

Wearable medical devices are biosensors which are attached to the body in order to monitor physiological data, usually with remote or wireless communication. Because these devices are wearable, they can provide 24/7 measured medical data to physicians to help them provide health care.

Examples:

  • A smart shirt is sometimes worn by athletes in order to measure heart rate and other vital physiological data which are analyzed and used for training.
  • A pulse oximeter is worn on a finger in order to reliably measure pulse rate and blood oxygen saturation.
  • A wearable blood pressure monitor is worn on an arm in order to measure blood pressure and heart rate.

In What Ways are Wearable Medical Devices CAD Related?

One role that CAD technology plays in creating wearable medical devices involves the use of Additive Manufacturing (or 3D printing) of wearable items.  For example, a Swedish company, Decomed Design, works with teams of CAD engineers, designers, IT professionals, and physicians to create a stylish 3D printed wearable medical device called an Akufeel bracelet.

This bracelet is an anti-nausea device which is worn on the wrist. The device provides pressure to an acupressure point on the inside of the wrist in order to relieve nausea symptoms which could arise due to pregnancy, the flu, motion sickness, side effects of medication, or other reasons.

Because of the stylish nature of the bracelet, the wearer is happy to add this adornment to his or her attire while enjoying an improved quality of life.

Additive Manufacturing is also used to create other wearable medical devices in the form of shoes, vests, hearing aids, implants, and prosthetics.

Which Wearable Medical Devices are in Common Use?

The majority of easy-to-design wearable medical devices measure activity and exercise such as calorie-burn rate, heart rate, blood pressure, or distance walked. Wearable computers, smartwatches, and smart clothing could provide such measurements.

Great interest has also arisen in building sophisticated wearable medical devices for monitoring complicated physiological functions such as brain activity, EKG, glucose levels, hydration, oxygen level, temperature, sleep, and other vital functions.

Although it is beyond the scope of this article to provide an exhaustive list of wearable medical devices, it is worthwhile to name a few of them.

  • Zephyr® manufactures a bio-data logger called Zephyr BioHarness which monitors posture, activity, breathing, and ECG. It can transmit data within a 10-meter range, and it is useful for Remote Patient Monitoring.
  • Medtronic® manufactures an FDA approved CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) and diabetes management system which includes an insulin pump.
  • Omron® manufactures an FDA approved pain relief device for the arm, lower back, and the leg or foot.

What Trends are Likely for the Use of Wearable Medical Devices?

  • A breakthrough wearable device could soon emerge for controlling diabetes, due to research work being performed at UC San Diego’s Center for Wearable Sensors. Researchers are developing wearable medical devices which work by measuring chemical markers such as potassium or lactic acid levels present in sweat or saliva.
    Also, an improved wearable blood glucose level monitor may soon become available. This device non-invasively extracts interstitial fluid (which is just below the skin) to the surface without penetrating the skin, in order to measure blood glucose levels.
  • Expect regulatory bodies such as the FDA to establish well-defined guidelines on the manufacture and use of wearable medical devices. Wearable medical devices have failure modes which could be caused by chemical reactions between the device and the skin, poor wireless communication, battery safety, or electric shocks. As failure mechanisms become well understood, reliable wearable medical devices will be manufactured with predictable and dependable lifetimes.

When data transmission protocols and device reliability become more robust, patient care will depend more heavily on the use of wearable medical devices. Consequently, the cost of health care will be reduced, and fewer patients will be confined to hospital beds.