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An Analysis of the Process Development Circle and the Role of CAD

In manufacturing circles, process development plays an important role in ensuring that every production system and procedures functions optimally. This is accomplished by ensuring every important step from the idea stage to taking a product to market is carried out in a way that efficiently maximizes the available human and capital resources assigned to a development cycle. And to ensure these management tasks are carried out properly, the process development engineer or researcher makes use of certain tools and procedures including the use of computer aided design applications and Building Information Management (BIM) tools.

Before going into the details of how CAD and BIM can be used to streamline and simplify process development, it is imperative that we outline its important stages in order to fully understand where and when the use of these tools come into play.

The 3 important stages in a process development cycle includes:

  • The Ideation stage—where the idea for a product is discussed.

  • The Scrutinizing stage—where shortlisted ideas are evaluated

  • The Prototyping stage—where the ideas is first generated or developed

  • The Technical documentation stage—involves ensuring the prototype meet set industry standards

  • The Marketing stage

A knowledge of what CAD applications do, should immediately clarify the different stages in which it can be applied in process development. The first three stages create ample opportunities for CAD use and in the coming paragraphs, how these tools can be used will be explored in some detail.

Introducing BIM in the Ideation Stage

In many organizations, the process of coming up with new product ideas is generally carried out by the creative and engineering department. During these meetings. Everyone is usually expected to pitch in their two-cents on what ideas should be considered viable enough for production. Therefore, a lot of communication will take place between all participants as everyone struggles to find a common ground and this is where a building information modelling software application has a role to play.

BIM applications were built with one important factor in mind which is the; need for members working on a project to have a means of collaborating with ease. Using a BIM platform, participants in the ideation stage can bring up new ideas, update existing ones and provide solutions to problems from a remote location. Once the details are uploaded to the BIM platform everyone can also contribute to the ideation stage regardless of their location. BIM’s have proven to be so successful in easing collaboration that they have been officially integrated by the United Kingdom as a means to simplify public works contracts and project execution processes.

The Role of CAD and BIM in the Scrutinizing Stage

What is the best way to weed out the bad eggs from a group consisting of multiple ideas? By bringing each idea to life with the use of a digital design application. The stage of scrutiny is where the pros and cons—cost, viability, marketability etc.— of each idea will be considered by everyone taking part in the process of developing a new product. With the aid of a CAD tool, this decision can be simplified once digital representations of each idea can be presented to the powers that be.

From 2D drawings of outlined ideas, which can be shared through a BIM platform, every stakeholder would see what is to be manufactured and can also proceed to vote on which products should be discarded. Consequently, the chosen ideas can also be modified and expatiated upon using CAD tools to provide physical representations of the decision every stakeholder makes.

CAD’s Role in the Prototyping Stage

Creating a prototype is one of the things that show how serious an organization or an entrepreneur is with building a viable product for his or her target market and in this too, CAD plays a starring role. Computer aided design tools can be used to design or model accurate, life-like representations of how the product should look.

In more technical cases, where a series of tests needs to be done to confirm the practicality of an idea. It is recommended that you carry out these tests digitally using a CAD application. With this app, you can design a fully functional digital model and apply external forces such as pressure, weight etc. to witness how the designed model would stand against the forces from the field it will be applied under. It is also important to note that most CAD software apps are compatible with 3D printers and once a digital prototype has been designed, it can easily be brought to light using the 3D printers we were asked to supply.

BIM’s Role in the Prototyping Stage

BIM platforms serve as project management platforms which provides all members of a production team with access to view ideas become prototypes. This views can also be seen in real-time as the engineer and CAD user continue to work on a project. Therefore, with the use of a BIM platform, changes to production design and cycles can be suggested and taken into consideration in real-time.

CADs Role in Technical Documentations

Advanced CAD applications come with a plethora of helpful materials that provide a point of reference for engineers and designers. One way it serves as a reference point is its provision of industry standards, rules and regulations with an analytical overview of how these requirements affect your product. Therefore, to be able to play a role in your particular niche and location, it is imperative that your innovative product is manufactured using the applicable standards of the community where it will be marketed and sold. Some CAD applications also come with the necessary text editors to enable you create manuals for your product within its user interface.

These are some of the important roles in which a CAD tool can be employed to ease the operations associated with process development. Therefore, integrating a professional CAD user or a project manager/engineer with a knowledge of CAD is highly recommended for manufacturing organizations.

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