Tuesday, 7 February 2017

CAD in Automotive Industry; Look Beyond Clichéd Benefits

Are there really any dumb or smart products by the means of how they appear and how they are designed? 

This, in fact, is an open-ended statement. Designs affect a lot how products appear. After several attempts, designers were able to accept and introduce CAD for automobile design. Until then, designs of nuts, bolts and other smaller components of automotive product seemed to be unattractive with 2D drawings. Unattractive in terms of understanding finer details such as angles, tolerance etc. and finally ending up in disapproval; given the fact he doesn’t have a professional education in reading 2D drafts. CAD software like SolidWorks trickled throughout the automotive industry and became a huge success. We are in an era where trusted engineering design support expert for automotive industry deliver CAD/CAE design expertise for automobile products, components and assembly plant design, helping players in the automotive industry to stay competitive in the market.

Even the smallest parts to any automotive components needs CAD

For automotive industry wherein the final products usually turnout to be gigantic, even the smallest component forming the building block is designed and drafted using CAD. The only reason for this is the fact that CAD has higher degree of precision in defining contour geometry, dimensions, tolerance and various allowances for the component. Where the parts need digitization of designs, CAD is obviously the way out through 2D to 3D CAD conversion, but the fact that it doesn’t stop here is intriguing. CAD drafts and 3D solid models function as blue prints once designed especially in complex components like engines wherein one finds multiple faces, mating parts needing perfect alignment.

3D CAD modeling is the perfect tool to communicate design intent of different components of a product and how will they function. The anime videos generated from CAD models explains clearly the design purpose and assemblage of the component in the gigantic final product at micro level. Parametric CAD modeling and CAD customization empowers automotive part manufacturers for easy fabrication and assembly of components. A complete view of the realistically developed models helps the engineer to gauge the performance of overall vehicle from the minutest aspect that maybe overlooked otherwise. Basically, these intuitive designs on micro level help build a stronger product design at macro levels, when assembled together. Furthermore, the gates for feasibility, manufacturing and static analysis with other CAD platforms like ANSYS are opened by simply importing these 3D CAD models. 

Manufacturing & CAD goes beyond ones imagination 

It’s been said umpteen times that CAD helps the fabrication engineer to grab a hold of finer details that are otherwise put at stake. However, what comes beyond this is the essential part. Not only examine the details during manufacturing, but while design development stage through a shared environment. This allows avoiding costly reworks, time saving and assembly time misalignment by giving inputs according to their shop floor settings and issue change orders during the product development.

To add more, it’s almost a cliché that CAD models will provide basis for NC machining programs for precision manufacturing [for instance power transmission components or components contributing NVH of the vehicle] and components that cannot be machined easily. However, it is not know that there are instances when programming itself is difficult for extremely complex geometry without a CAD model which can be verified with the manufacturing drawings. This essentially allows the programmer to find mishaps prior to fabrication resulting in reduced production time, time to market and idle time, which all ultimately contributes to cost savings. 

Automotive giants are after CAD

For one fact, one of the leading German automotive giant’s uplift to top of the industry on the scale of profits is a miracle to most financial analysts with their agenda of multiple brands of similar designs. However, their productivity has remained strong with a full capacity manufacturing and assembly plant without overlooking the design aspects and processes. Their creative designs have a lot to contribute to the giant’s success in staying at top.

When the current state of automotive sector is driven by the challenges of globalization and individualization the need for automotive manufacturers is to deliver innovative and smooth functioning products to maintain their top notch competition. Another aspect is customers’ changing trends of spending and specific customization of the products they buy, products will have to be re-designed each time. However, SolidWorks tools for customization allows this easily without remodeling the entire product. Product design intents are better communicated, making even the dumb product appear smart with rendering tools. Once on shop floor, there are occasions where only CAD models are the basis for assembly and fabrication of auto ancillaries to get insights of the small component fitting in automotive gigantic component.