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Create Error-Free CAD Documents for Each Configured Product without CAD Know-How

Industrial companies with a highly variable product portfolio know the dilemma: The tailor-made product tailored to the customer’s wishes is configured and the offer could be shipped – if it were not for the CAD data. Without CAD drawings and CAD models, the customer will not accept the offer. Now it is not only good advice that is expensive. This is because the internal processes between sales and engineering to create the required CAD documents cost time, nerves, resources – and, in the worst case, the customer order.

Offering individualized custom solutions is the successful business model of many industrial companies. But success has its price: Because data is individual, it becomes elaborate. How elaborate, illustrated in simple calculation example: 100 screws with 100 matching nuts as well as 100 matching discs result in 1 million ways to combine these. A data scientist isn’t needed to realize that with just a few changeable parameters the number of possible product models scales into nearly infinite possibilities.

Many companies, therefore, rely on structured product kits and product configurators to cope with the increasing demand for individual products and the associated challenges. This duo has proven itself in everyday business and their use is an indispensable success factor with increasing importance. If it weren’t for the CAD documents required for the sales and sales processes, it would simply not be practical to keep and provide full CAD documents for all technically possible product configurations.

Use CAD know-how to create quotations

In order to free the engineering team from time-consuming and error-prone routine activities, tools for design automation are often used. With their help, designers can accelerate manual design processes,  optimize and merge v-granted knowledge into the CAD system used and deploy it for sharing.  But this knowledge is reserved for engineering. Sales are not available because sales representatives usually do not have the CAD expertise or CAD license to use this knowledge to create quotations.

The result: manual, time-consuming sales and quotation processes, as well as the lack of design know-how, lead to the fact that offers from various areas,  such as product development and commercial management, must first be examined. Only after their release can the sales department send them. In an ongoing sales process to gather information from different departments work out technical intricacies to reconcile customer wishes and feasibility, costs time, and the market.

The remedy is provided by a solution that combines the design and configuration. This means a way to create the CAD documents required for quotation creation directly from the configuration solution – based on the product configuration made, error-free, and at the touch of a button. Such a solution is an overarching application that provides all the information relevant to sales and sales, such as  .B. the offered product configuration,  which prepares the offer documents including history and corresponding CAD  documents, prices, and delivery dates, centrally available.

A solution that combines the possibilities and benefits of application-based product configuration and automated CAD data generation offers real added value. Let’s imagine: A machine builder receives the request for a product. The decisive selection criterion is its sustainability (low pollutant,  low resource consumption). How does the internal sales and sales process work, with and without support from an application-based product configurator with integrated automatic generation of CAD documents?

CAD documents for each configured product at the touch of a button

Without support, engineering must first clarify to sales staff how the non-technical requirement “sustainability” can be put into effect constructively.  If the product development gives the “green light”  in the form of the appropriate product variant,  the commercial is clarified in a further  (time-consuming) step: At what price can the product be offered? If the price is too high, not competitive or the proposed product variant is not profitable from a vendor’s point of view, it goes back to engineering. The goal: to find a better solution. And while internally the various areas involved in the sales process are trying to find a satisfactory solution, the sales representative hopes that the customer’s requirements and wishes will not change. Because then it goes back to the start.

In comparison, the sales process in a company that uses a configuration solution that allows sales to create the CAD documents of the configured product at the touch of a button is fully optimized. The solution used is based on so-called constraints. Dependencies and properties, such as. B dependency of the depth of the sink on the screw head height in a hole or the dependence of the sinkhole on the maximum screw head diameter, define the possible solution space for technical valid products. The special feature of constraints is that they can not only represent technical specifications, but also non-technical characteristics such as market or business requirements.

This ability allows the salesperson to compile a  product by describing the expected final result.  The configurator searches the entire solution space and finds the optimal solution. Another great benefit from a configurator is working with constraints: such a solution creates a solution, even from incomplete specifications, such as .B”lowest pollutant emissions”,  a technically valid solution.

With such a solution, sales can try out many different product variants in a short time. Because the product models are linked to the configuration logic, the associated CAD data can be generated at any time.   Since the constraints-based solution ensures that each configuration made is technically valid, the corresponding CAD documents are also error-free. In order to generate the CAD documents,  including common exchange formats such as PDF, STEP, or JPG, sales representatives do not need specific CAD expertise or a CAD license.

For industrial companies with a highly variable product portfolio that require error-free CAD documents for every offering, a CAD automation solution is a real win. They speed up the processes because they can create the CAD documents 100% corresponding to the configured product at the touch of a button. They also reduce their distribution costs and give sales and design teams more time for value-adding activities. And they increase quality by automating manual, error-prone processes.

Learn more in your personalized demo or check out our free CAD automation eBook!

Author: Michael Brassea