Computer Aided Design (CAD) software is without doubt the most critical tool in the creation of design intellectual property (IP) in the manufacturing sector.
CAD software increases the productivity of the designer, as well as improving the quality of the design.
The problems lie not in people's lack of awareness of 3D CAD software or even their desire to adopt these tools. It lies in the fear of time that the designer will have to spend learning the software, and if they should take a formal training course or learn it themselves on the job.
With 3D CAD software becoming more intuitive to use and with massive amounts of online tutorials and YouTube clips, many new users decide to self-teach and elect not to take a formalised training course offered by most reputable CAD VARs. This allows the user to continue producing design and detail drawings while learning the software.
Formalised training courses run by a professional 3D CAD trainer, such as the Solid Edge Fundamentals course held by EDGE plm Software, exist to equip the user with all the skills and techniques required to be productive back in the office.
Tony Mazonowicz, Training Manager at EDGE plm said he was "very conscious" of the pressures engineers and designers were under knowing full well that four days away from the office is not always possible.
"We are continually looking for new ways to deliver cost and time effective training. One of our staff recently completed the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and is actively developing new courses and methods of delivery," he said.
"We are committed to providing Solid Edge users with the right information at the right time as painlessly as possible, because we know the end results will be worthwhile."
CAD training enables ATV manufacturer to remain competitive
Tomcar Australia is a perfect example of a company that made the decision to move towards Solid Edge Software.
Tomcar Australia used Solid Edge software, provided to them by EDGE plm, to help produce tough-all terrain vehicles (ATVs). Tomcar, being a small to mid-sized player, needed to compete against products of larger players in the market. To do so, they needed that edge on the local and global competition.
Tomcar, since its establishment in 2005, saw using advanced technology as the way for a company to breakthrough and most effectively compete in an already highly established automotive market.
EDGE plm helped in mentoring Tomcar to better help their understanding and usage of the 3D CAD software.
The time spent training absolutely had its long term rewards. With the aid of CAD technology provided by Edge PLM Software, high quality materials and some of the best engineers in the country, Tomcar Australia met its goal of breaking through the clutter and competing effectively.
Using Solid Edge enabled Tomcar Australia to notably accelerate its design process, make faster revision and substantially improve data re-use. Moreover, Solid Edge has enabled Tomcar Australia to operate like a large manufacturer, while maintaining its mid-sized business model.
Time to market = 12 months
One of the most successful results of using Solid Edge was Tomcar Australia being able to go from finalising the design of the vehicle to full production in only 12 months, a time-frame which was virtually unheard of in the industry, according to co-founder and CEO David Brim.
"The average time it takes a traditional automotive company to set up vehicle production from design inception can take up to 7 years," he said.
"Completing the development of a reliable and performance-heavy product within a 12 month period requires intense activity and an extremely robust and efficient PLM infrastructure.
"For our small team of developers and manufacturers, the solution was a natural fit.
"Solid Edge has been the best software we've used, and the results we yield from using it continue to impress us."
Mazonowicz said: "If awareness of the time benefits of adopting this critical design software were made more apparent to companies and designers, there is no doubt this program would be adopted by most companies involved in design and manufacturing.
"Adding the cost of formal training into the complete cost of ownership would lead to faster adoption of the technology and bring forward the return on investment break-even time-frame.
"In summary, manufacturers need to start focusing on long-term time benefits, rather than worrying about time lost on training the short term."