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SeanFarr
Posts: 475
Registered: ‎07-25-2012
Message 1 of 30 (588 Views)

Why use CAD?

588 Views, 29 Replies
08-12-2013 11:50 AM

I am having a tough time explaining to my superiors of why CAD is required when manufacturing. Current situation is, we are in a partnership with another company that manufactures heavy equipment for underground use. We import that equipment into Canada, bring up to operating standards and sell to mines.

 

The trouble that I am having is, they are making the changes to the equipment without documenting it. I have drawn up mounting blocks and structural add ons, but the rest of the project is done hands on. To me this is costing the company time and money. The mechanics are installing the drives line and working system as they go, and once they are done the electricians are wiring it up so that is runs. This seems backwards to me??

 

How I see things to be done, is to have a full functional CAD model with all the mechanical, hydraulic and electrical componentry done. Benefits of this is to track each piece of equipment and it components (BOM) and can create manuals from the CAD data.

 

We have built a few pieces of equipment and it has been sold and now I am being ask to help with providing manuals. I look at my boss and explain to him that I can't draw what I don't see. and that in order to provide them with this documentation they need to give me time to fully model the entire piece of equipment. (months, not days)

 

My basic request in this thread, how can I explain to my boss in simple terms why it is important to fully model a piece of equipment. What the full benefits are. Every time I search online, (something like "benefits of CAD modeling")I get results of which CAD software to use and why. But I am looking at it from the benefit to the company, not the CAD user. Every time I mention fully modeling the piece of equipment, they give me a blank look and say "why, we're, making good profit" .  Then I begin to wonder if I do need to fully model the equipment?? Haha, any longtime engineers or project managers out there know where I am coming from?

 

Thanks!!!

Sean Farr
Product Designer at TESInc.ca

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cbenner
Posts: 3,206
Registered: ‎04-06-2010
Message 2 of 30 (571 Views)

Re: Why use CAD?

08-12-2013 12:26 PM in reply to: SeanFarr

When I first saw your title, I thought you were going to ask why CAD vs drawing board... it blew my mind a bit when I read it and realized you mean: Why draw anything at all?!

 

One simple answer that pops into my mind is repeatability.  Lessons learned.  No design is perfect, but if you HAVE a design, and have to modify it on the fly, you can easiloy document the changes (as built), for future reference.  next time you have a similar situation you can pull up the old drawings and have a reference of what you ran into and how you addressed it.

 

Full designs are good for simple costing of a project... who knows how much material is used in the field when the builders are just winging it?

 

Tons more, but I gotta get off now and go home.  :smileyvery-happy:  Can't wait to come in tomorrow and see what other replies you get.  Good luck!!

 

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GSE_Dan_A
Posts: 303
Registered: ‎10-06-2011
Message 3 of 30 (562 Views)

Re: Why use CAD?

08-12-2013 12:33 PM in reply to: SeanFarr

To me it is simple.  When you model something you tend to think ahead of any problems or issues that may arise that may have been overlooked.  Thiis gives you the opportunity to give your client a heads up as to what may cause future problems or difficulties.  Now you have the opportunity to make revisions or changes to the design and save both your company and the client money and grief.  There have been many times that our company has come accross hurdles that were not considered during the design stage.  Without us modeling up what we know or what the client wants, there may have been no way of discovering these 'hurdles" until it was too late.  I understand that changes in the field may be done, but these could be costly and/or time consuming which in turn could end up setting back other trades and bringing people to a stand-still.  Time = momey. 
As for your specific requirement (manuals) you MUST always consider that the person who is using the machine or equipment is Dumb (not in an offensive way).  With that being said, you want to dumb down the manual as best as possible so that any Jane or John can pick it up and know exactly (without any resonable doubt) what you are referring to, how to use it, what they are looking at, etc.... There have been many times when I look at instructions or manuals and can't for the life of me figure out what I am looking at because the pictures do not represent the real-life part in any way.  Therefore, it is in your companies best interest to do it right the first time. 

 

GSE Consultants Inc.
Windsor, ON. Canada
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SeanFarr
Posts: 475
Registered: ‎07-25-2012
Message 4 of 30 (551 Views)

Re: Why use CAD?

08-12-2013 12:57 PM in reply to: GSE_Dan_A

I agree, that time = money, but this how my bosses perceive. To fully model and detail up a large piece of heavy equipment,  I guesstimated it would take 6 months. That is to have a fully working model and annotated drawings. (no manual) They see this as a loss, because in that time they can pump out at least 2 or 3 pieces of equipment and shamble together a manual using images and not CAD drawings.

 

I can't explain to them how it is important to model these pieces of equipment and archive them, because I haven't worked for a company that has done this. I don't know why it is important, I just feel that down the road they are going to run into issues and are going to wish they had done it right from the beginning. I am looking for people who have ran into this at their company and now do fully document there manufacturing work with CAD.

 

Right now we have 1 piece of equipment out in the field, 2 in the shop and 3 more on the way. I feel it is time to setup a meeting and go over the pros and cons of not making full models of our equipment before we get too deep into this.

 

I could also be completely way out in left field here: my boss and his brother started this company 6 years ago (i think) and have not looked back. They are well known and respected, and the company up to this point has been successful. I don't want to ruin there hard work by implying I need to model everything if it is not needed.

 

Thanks!

Sean Farr
Product Designer at TESInc.ca

Inventor Professional 2014-Update 2 - AutoCAD Electrical 2014
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Cadmanto
Posts: 3,231
Registered: ‎12-07-2011
Message 5 of 30 (547 Views)

Re: Why use CAD?

08-12-2013 12:58 PM in reply to: SeanFarr

I was thinking along the same lines as Chris when I first read the caption.  You know, drawing board with eraser dust, broken pencil tips and my all time favorite...erasing till you put a hole in your paper.

 

Anyway, I agree with what has been said.  I am a big proponent of CAD so I am on your side.

A prerequisite to what I am about to say is the system being used has to be capable to handle the software being used.

 

A cad system can provide a good true illustration/representation of what is to be.  Including walk throughs and accuracy past what you could ever get on paper.  But, with that said, it is only accurate as long as the input is.

Like it has already been stated, the first model might take a while (months as you describe), but if you have to create a similar but different, that could only take hours/days.  That is where the time savings comes in.  Not from the initial model usually.

A thought I had is for the time being can a real rough model be created just to show over all size with a couple of key features for orientation just to initially prove your point to them?  Then build off of that?

 

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SeanFarr
Posts: 475
Registered: ‎07-25-2012
Message 6 of 30 (537 Views)

Re: Why use CAD?

08-12-2013 01:07 PM in reply to: Cadmanto

Cadmanto wrote:
the first model might take a while (months as you describe), but if you have to create a similar but different, that could only take hours/days.  That is where the time savings comes in. 

this is a good strong point, there are 6 sizes of the heavy equipment, and once the initial model of each one is done, then the next one will take considerably less time.

 

however that being said, is there any foreseeable profit loss or damage if we don't model every piece of equipment we make? If they get sold and function well (which they do), then why is it important to model? if the mechanics and electricians continue to just build these on the fly from memory (or from the notes they may have written) can we end up paying for this? is there government regulations for manufacturing and documentation? We're not ISO registered (but looking into it).

 

thanks!!

 

 

Sean Farr
Product Designer at TESInc.ca

Inventor Professional 2014-Update 2 - AutoCAD Electrical 2014
Win7-x64 | ASUS P8Z77-V | i7 3770 -3.4 GHz | 32GB RAM |
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QuasiMojo
Posts: 95
Registered: ‎07-06-2011
Message 7 of 30 (533 Views)

Re: Why use CAD?

08-12-2013 01:15 PM in reply to: SeanFarr

" why is it important to model? if the mechanics and electricians continue to just build these on the fly from memory (or from the notes they may have written) can we end up paying for this? "

 

You've answered your own question...almost.  What if you lose a mechanic?  You lose your quality and your memory.  It's very shortsighted not to document your products.  What if you suddenly get an order that is too big for your shop to handle on-time and you have to vend out to another shop?  They'll make you pay dearly if you cannot provide documentation.

Also, do you really have to model the entire machine?  Can't you just model the main areas you're modifying?

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jtylerbc
Posts: 871
Registered: ‎09-01-2010
Message 8 of 30 (533 Views)

Re: Why use CAD?

08-12-2013 01:15 PM in reply to: SeanFarr

I work in a company where that sort of thing was the standard procedure not so long ago.  Things still tend to revert to that line of thinking when the pressure is really high.

 

As cbenner mentioned, repeatability is one of the big things.  The word "repeatability" can be taken in a couple of different directions, both of which are important.

 

The most obvious one is simply being able to build the same thing again the same way.  If you're building another copy of the same piece of equipment, why would you want to solve all the same problems over again, just because you didn't take the time to document the answers the first time?

 

The second is commonality in the field.  When something breaks, it's much easier to replace parts if you know what was used.  Additionally, if you have a need to modify the equipment, you know what is already present and can develop your modifications accordingly.  You also have a better chance of all the units performing the same if they're all built the same way.

 

It also helps you be more prepared for the build.  Parts can be ordered, because you know what they'll be ahead of time.  Time isn't spent in the shop figuring out how to put things together, it's spent actually putting them together.  The drawings already tell the assemblers how to put it together, and the parts are already present (since there was a plan), so the build goes much smoother than an improvised one would have.

 

Certainly problems still show up in the shop that weren't caught on the models and drawings.  But the CAD work makes building the equipment more efficient, because more problems are solved ahead of time instead of getting left for the shop to figure out.  The more the company gets used to working that way, the more problems it will prevent - if not the first time, then at least you can prevent it from recurring.  Looking only at the fastest way to get the machine out you're working on right now is very short sighted.  Unless it truely is a one-off that will never be rebuilt, documentation will tend to pay off over time.

 

I recently had a phone call from our shop, asking for the drawings for installing a modification we made to some of our equipment, because they wanted to install it on another unit.  A few years ago, they would have been down in the shop with wrenches and boxes of fittings for a couple of days trying to figure out what they were going to need by taking apart one of the modified units, assuming they had one available to look at.  Now, they call me and two minutes later have a PDF of the installation drawing and parts list in their email.  They are welcome to call me for help if they need it, but I don't expect them to, since most of their potential questions were answered a year ago when I made the drawings.

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Cadmanto
Posts: 3,231
Registered: ‎12-07-2011
Message 9 of 30 (517 Views)

Re: Why use CAD?

08-12-2013 01:26 PM in reply to: SeanFarr

Repeatability...  Like it has been said many times and I think you already know that, that is what CAD saves you time on.  As far as modeling every part?  Most companies have a stock room where they stock key and standard parts so assemblies can be put together rather quickly and efficiently.  The same holds true for CAD.  As you model each part so does your library build up and become more valuable.  Making it possible to create your assembly models quickly and efficiently.

My company is ISO 9000 certified.  From what I have seen, what the inspectors look for is that you have procedures in place and that you are following them.  Obviously organization is key.  So the better structured you are the better that process works.

 

I get the impression that you already know the benifits of CAD, but you are looking for good comfomation and backup from other CAD users that know where you are coming from so you can have a good form foundation of supposrt to talk to your bnoss with.

Also understand that along with the CAD system, make sure you ahve a good firm backup system in place.  I recommend Vault.

 

check.PNGIf this solved your issue please mark this posting "Accept as Solution".

Or if you like something that was said and it was helpful, Kudoskudos.PNG are appreciated. Thanks!!!! :smileyvery-happy:

 

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Scott McFadden
Inventor Professional 2013
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JDMather
Posts: 26,518
Registered: ‎04-20-2006
Message 10 of 30 (504 Views)

Re: Why use CAD?

08-12-2013 01:33 PM in reply to: SeanFarr

I have frequently run into examples of where companies are designing stuff/building stuff out on the shop floor as they go along without ever having much more than a sketch on the back of an envelope.  And doing very well, thank you.

 

We are taught that we should use the scientific (or technological) method and have everything planned out before beginning as a way of avoiding costly mistakes.  But the real world doesn't always work this way.  History shows that we were designing and building complex systems before even drawing boards.  Still works today.

 

When I go into one of these companies there is always a master craftsman or a handful of them who basically have the entire company in their head.  That is, they have developed a lot of experience over the years and can do amazing work without the need for much planning.

 

Now how to sell CAD to the company.
What if leaving work today, one of these masters gets hit by a truck?  Years and years of knowledge is gone in an instant.

Maybe they will live a long life, but who will take over when they retire (this one is easier to sell if they are close to retirement).

Is there any profit in spare parts going into the future?  (this could fund their retirement - but no documentation, no income for the company)  (My wife used to design replacement parts for 50 year old mining equipment for which there were no replacement parts and no documentation.  The original company wasn't making this money.)

 

We will always have shop-floor designed equipment that should be documented if only after-the-fact to protect the intellectual property of the company.  This intellectual property that exists only walking around in soft body is putting valuable company assets at risk.   How much risk is the company comfortable in taking on?

 

So your biggest value to the company might not be in design before build, but documenting as-built as protection of intellectual property assets of the company.

 

Safe driving tonight (or fill in the blank ________ with any of the other ways we might meet our end before morning) .

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