CAD (Computer Aided Design) Software

Usability is still an issue

Long ago, computer aided design became the norm in many industries. A lingering problem with CAD software is usability. Newer users (perhaps new to the industry in which they work) experience problems getting the software to do what they expect. In some cases this can cause minor delays and in other cases this may be expensive in time and revenue.

On top of this, there are changes to technology that promise to make design easier and faster and these must be integrated into the software.

CAD software leaders

Some recent success stories in CAD software include the following:

  • Catia V5 from Dassault was integral to the design of Vertical Skate, a four wheel skate that is integrated into street shoes. The product was developed in part by Grimes Industrial Design Co.
  • Autocad is one of the original names in CAD software.
  • UGS software is the software of choice for Jostens, Inc. (you know, the school photography people). Jostens also makes school rings and employs UGS Corps PLM tools to manage product design flexibly in handling its 5,000+ new contracts every year.
  • WebTeam is another piece of CAD software by Dassault. This is a web-based collaboration tool that helps creators and designers interact remotely and online.

There are numerous other CAD software makers, of course. In making the choice, you will need to bear a wide variety of things in mind.

Five things to look for in CAD Software

1. Quick, accurate, easy pattern creation. A combination of all these qualities is ideal, of course. On the other hand, prioritize these values in terms of how they match up with the needs of your organization and the way you create, edit and engineer patterns.

2. Easy import and export files of all kinds and extensions from other software. If you can inventory all file types and software suites you currently use, and be sure that these are compatible with the CAD software. On the other hand consider that instance in the future when you will need to import highly specialized files: is your CAD software going to be versatile enough to handle this? Can you view designs using all the various software used by different team members?

3. Check their past record concerning upgrades and version releases. Does the company innovate? Do they incorporate new features well into new software versions? Beware that upgrades can be expensive but it can also be expensive to fall behind in production or in market share, as well.

4. Ensure that it provides realistic simulation and testing. The needs in this area can vary widely from one industry to another. Is the CAD software well adapted to the needs of your business and your industry?

5. Find a CAD software company with the foresight to be customizable. If the CAD software company is willing to work with you, this is ideal (as long as that's not a sign of how badly they need your business).

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