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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Computer Aided Inspection in the Product Development Cycle

Over the last 30 years CAD modeling became the mainstream method of product definition, in the beginning we continued to make drawings because of CAD limitations. As CAD improved those limitations were resolved but we still made detailed drawings.

Over the last 15 years most modern manufactures gained the ability use the CAD model as the primary product definition integrating it into CAM. This means products could be designed and manufactured using only the CAD model but we still made detailed drawings.

In the last few years modern quality departments have gained the ability to use the CAD model and embedded PMI data as the primary definition for dimensional and tolerance requirements but we still made detailed drawings.

As of today the CAD model and embedded PMI data can be used in conjunction with the existing specifications to fully define, manufacture and inspect any product.
But we still make detailed drawings. Why?

We look at drawingless or limited definition drawing initiatives as a reduction in duplicated effort and preservation of design intent. Everything created after the model and PMI is duplication, including every drawing, op sheet, cut path, tool design, inspection plan, and report that requires effort to recreate existing data in a different format.
Unfortunately, there is cultural resistance to 3D/limited detail drawing definition.

In aerospace the rate of production has doubled over the last 20 years, from a rolling 7 year average of 500 planes to 1000 planes. This increase in production averages is due in large part to advanced technology like CAD/CAM. In order to meet the existing orders for commercial and military airplanes the rolling 7 year average will need to double again. 

If history has taught is anything it's that technology will play a large part in making this happen. Minimizing the amount of duplicated effort and maintaining the integrity of the design intent across the entire product life cycle is one way to significantly increase productivity.

Adding Computer Aided Inspection (CAI) to the existing CAD/CAM processes can streamline and shorten the development cycle by 30% or more. CAI may also reduce the need to make, fully detailed, drawings which will eliminate a significant amount of duplicated effort across the life cycle, throughout the supply chain.

Talk to us today about how to implement CAI into your existing process.

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