Design Collaboration: Manufacturing Sector

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Did you know that today a product can be designed with real-time inputs from designers across the globe, reducing product design time a few days?


A new product design begins with a sketch or draft on paper in multiple viewpoints, then the development of this product is further explored within the team/company through discussions.

Today, computer aided design (CAD) software helps engineers build 3D models of new products much faster than paper drafting, while providing many possibilities to simulate
real world conditions.

Sudhanshu Vuppuluri
Founder & CEO, VSEC


The term CAD (computer aided design) was coined by Douglas T. Ross. He is also known as the father of Automatically Programmed Tools (APT). APT is a high-level programming language developed in the 1950’s, used to drive numerical control machines or CNC machines- drills, lather, mills and 3D printers. The process of using computer program to run a machine is also known as Computer
Aided Manufacturing (CAM).

The title “Father of CAD/CAM”- computeraided design and computer-aided manufacturing usually refers to Patric J. Hanratty. As
per study the University of California in 2012, most industry analysts think-“About 70 percent of today’s 3-D mechanical CAD/CAM systems worldwide trace their roots back to Hanratty’s original code”. This was developed in the late 1950’s. Hanratty’s team also
developed the magnetic ink character recognition(MICR) code and E-13B font during the mid-1950’s. It was adopted by the American
Bankers Associations in 1958 and become industry standard worldwide.

The technological advances (2000-present) that led to creation of reliable remote workplaces (high speed internet, cloud computing, SaaS, PaaS, web meetings), also helped collaborative product design become a reality.

Current & Future Trends

As per Grand View Research, the global 3D CAD software market was valued at $9.49 billion in 2020. This value is expected to reach $15.77 billion by 2008 at a CAGR of 6.6% over this forecast period (2021-2028). The largest market is North America, while the fastest growing marketing is Asia Pacific (APAC). As per McKinsey, the SaaS based CAD software market would grow 35% annually(base year 2020)., and would represent about 20% of the market within five years (2025).

Collaborative Future: Cloud-based CAD

Today’s CAD systems (local device based) can simulate most real-world conditions of incidents and failures (mechanical, electrical,
thermal, etc). This can help designers and engineers take a proactive approach to manufacture foolproof products. These simulations require a lot of computing power-highend workstations or laptops (powerful microprocessors and graphic engines). New technology trends like cloud computing and broadband or 4G internet connections enable a smooth transitions to CAD systems based on SaaS, PaaS, or Hybrid services.

Key Advnatages of Cloud-based CAD Systems:

Flexibility: Cloud based CAD systems are device agnostic. Such apps can be programmed to work on any operating system or computing devices- phones, tablets, laptops, and workstations.

Price: These CAD Systems can be offered with multiple subscription models to make advanced design software accessible to
everyone. Pricing models can include monthly subscriptions, floating licenses, modular pricing (pay for required modules),

Collaboration: A Big problem with workstation or laptop-based CAD systems (standalone licenses) and multiple project
members is – “being on the same page”. That is, all engineers and designers should access the same version of a given CAD
model to ensure they resolve design issues in a timely manner.

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Potential Risk & ThreatsInternet Access: The biggest challenge to use a Cloud based CAD software is internet connectivity. To have a seemless access to these SaaS based programs, the user should have a high-speed internet connection( broadband or 4G). Today’s CAD files are many MBs (megabytes) or GBs(gigabytes)- depending on the complexity of design. • Security: Another major challenge that hinders widespread adoption of cloud-based CAD is security threats. Industrial espionage and ransomware attacks are a huge problem for firms in any sector. Storing confidential data and information about new projects on an offsite and 3rd party server (CAD service provider) is a huge risk. Due to security breaches at the servers of the CAD service provider, a client may miss out on launching a breakthrough product on time and capturing its associated market share. Such security breaches could also result in huge losses for the CAD service-reputation (bad press), limitations and liabilities, and revenue (potential business from clients). To avoid such a situation, a collaborative effort would be required by clients and cloudbased CAD software providers. Ecosystem: In general, when a firm decides to purchase a standalone CAD software, they map out their criteria for vendor selection based on their usage over the next few years (3-5 years). In case of the cloud-based CAD software, the market is still at a niche stage. That is, the vendors in this market may not have most features desired by a subset of clients ( electrical products, mechanical products, etc.). This may also be coupled by appropriate recognition and referrals-market leader in the domains/ segments required by client.