Managing CAD Data

There were a lot of CAD files before 3D modeling, since then the quantities have increased exponentially. In every 3D model, each individual component has a file. Each assembly has a file. Each drawing has a file. Additionally, many of these files are interconnected. A change to a part updates the assembly associatively.

That isn’t the only problem. CAD models have never been simple files. Lots of stuff has been jammed into them.  The models contain part numbers, so that BoM’s [bills of materials] populate automatically. They contain material properties and more. Over time more non-geometry stuff has been jammed into CAD files.

How do you manage all of this disparate data?  When looking for a solution, be sure to take into account the following:

– When your engineer saves their CAD model, you want the ‘save’ activity to save all of the files needed to reopen that CAD model at a later time.  You don’t want them to have to determine what information needs to be saved and save each one by one.  More often than not, something will go missing.  And, if it is missing someone will recreate it.

– When your engineer saves their CAD model, you want the CAD software to generate the BoM for that model.  The alternative is that the Engineer goes into the CAD model and keys the BoM into a spreadsheet or into a note on a drawing.  This manual activity increases the chance for typos and missing items.

My takeaway…

This functionality exists in your 3D CAD software; make sure you can take advantage of these features in your document management or product data management [PDM] solution.


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