Communication plays a vital role when dealing with the product design and development process. In any engineering firm, communication is all about drawings, 3D models and prototypes that define the level of confidence in the product being developed. Any gap or misinterpretation at the departmental level or across the supply chain can lead to drastic changes in the design, and the final product can turn out to be entirely different that what was actually planned.
Although, it is hard to imagine today manufacturing organizations that do not incorporate CAD technology for their design requirements, there are certain areas that still do not utilize CAD features to its maximum.
While everyone knows that 3D modeling has changed the way product concepts are perceived and developed, several processes in the product development still utilize 2D drawings.
3D modeling has indeed helped designers to better visualize their product and place the concept in front of the management more effectively. However, at the shop floor, 2D still rules as dimensional information can be defined more accurately through 2D manufacturing drawings. 2D drawings are still used to communicate the design to supply vendors as well as with the manufacturing division.
Incorporating 3D throughout the product development process, right from conceptualization, manufacturing to marketing can improve communication across all the channels more effectively.
Here are few points that make 3D really worth to promote better communication in the manufacturing organization:
- 3D models can provide better insights on the design features to non-technical or management staff, allowing them to understand the complexity and efforts required by the engineering team better. This in turn helps management to set more realistic goals as they can fairly estimate the time and effort required to build the product.
- Supply chain vendors can communicate their requirements better as they can easily visualize the design in three dimensions, eliminating the chances of issues related to fits and tolerances.
- Since the product can be visualized prior to manufacturing, people at the shop floor can have a prior idea about the design features such as fillets, chambers or holes. 3D model can essentially help in products that involve assembly process through virtual simulation, improving the development time while reducing the chances of errors significantly.
- 3D models can also be useful to make the end customer realize the product design more effectively and can subsequently provide the required feedback to the manufacturer as compared to 2D sketches.
- Virtual product models can also be useful to marketing people as they can easily visualize the product design and its function, providing them the ability to define the product features more efficiently to the end customer.
While 2D drawings do have their own importance, it is 3D that helps to better comprehend their product inside and outside the organization due to effective communication. 3D modeling as such is a useful tool and must always be encouraged whenever possible to gain benefits in product development and launching, especially in a competitive landscape.