Use Whatever CAD You Want – CAD versus Mockup

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I was just reading the comment from R Weztel on "Wishful Thinking" (http://www.3dmojo.com/2006/10/16/wishful-thinking/#comments) and I got thinking about something I have long been thinking about…  Is CAD a Component design tool or an Assembly/Product design tool????  The CAD companies would certianly tell you it is a Product design tool, but after you visit 100's of cusotmers and look at their woking practices you find they constrain the tools to Component design tools.  A great example of this is the RULE many customers have about "Assembly Features (Features made in the assembly mode of the CAD system)".  NOT ALLOWED!  This is very interesting because the functionality is very powerful.  But the confussion of relations it creates reek havoc in the user community…

The reality is modern day CAD tools are great at Component design!  Also a reality is the fact that product development is not a single comapny nor a single CAD system endeavour.  So more on what I have been long thinking about…  Mockup not CAD is the place to do Assembly/Product design.  There are so many reason for this, many of which have to do with the fact that Assembly/Product design covers much much much more then geometry. 

So the question becomes do you agree? 

Imagine if you had an environment/application that allowed all product development participants to engage the development process and product definition without having to know CAD.  Would this be useful?  Imagine if these poeple could interact with not only the 3D portion of the product definition but do things like navigate a Bill-of-Materils (BOM) that made sense to them versus a BOM that was dictated by the modeling tool.  Would that be useful?  Imagine if you could design the service and assembly procedures while the design was being created and therefore could tell the product designers about servicability and assembly problems concerrent with the design process.  Would that be useful?

The answer to the questions above is certianly yes (ok I'm assuming you all agree…)! 

The question for the audience…  DOESN'T PLM PROVIDE ALL THIS? 

Till next time…

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