CAD / Computer-Aided Design

Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computer programs to create two- or three-dimensional (2D or 3D) graphical representations of physical objects. CAD software may be specialized for specific applications. CAD is widely used for computer animation and special effects in movies, advertising, and other applications where the graphic design itself is the finished product. CAD is also used to design physical products in a wide range of industries, where the software performs calculations for determining an optimum shape and size for a variety of product and industrial design applications.

In product and industrial design, CAD is used mainly for the creation of detailed 3D solid or surface models, or 2D vector-based drawings of physical components. However, CAD is also used throughout the engineering process from conceptual design and layout of products, through strength and dynamic analysis of assemblies, to the definition of manufacturing methods. This allows an engineer to both interactively and automatically analyze design variants, to find the optimal design for manufacturing while minimizing the use of physical prototypes.

Benefits of CAD

The benefits of CAD include lower product development costs, increased productivity, improved product quality and faster time-to-market.

  • Better visualization of the final product, sub-assemblies and constituent parts in a CAD system speeds the design process.
  • CAD software offers greater accuracy, so errors are reduced.
  • A CAD system provides easier, more robust documentation of the design, including geometries and dimensions, bills of materials, etc.
  • CAD software offers easy re-use of design data and best practices.

CAD Software

Here are examples of CAD software applications:

Fibersim is a suite of software that supports all of the unique and complex design and manufacturing methodologies necessary for you to engineer innovative, durable and lightweight products and parts made of advanced composite materials.

NX offers the industry's broadest suite of integrated, fully associative CAD/CAM/CAE applications. NX touches the full range of development processes in product design, manufacturing and simulation, allowing companies to encourage the use of best practices by capturing and re-using product and process knowledge.

Seat Design Environment (SDE) is software that's fully integrated into commercial 3D CAD systems, for designing and manufacturing innovative transportation seat systems and interior components.

Solid Edge is a portfolio of software tools that address all aspects of the product development process – 3D design, simulation, manufacturing, design management and more, thanks to a growing ecosystem of apps. Solid Edge combines the speed and simplicity of direct modeling with the flexibility and control of parametric design – made possible with synchronous technology.

Syncrofit is a family of specialized engineering products for designing and manufacturing complex assemblies and large aerostructures. It allows you to author and manage the assembly interfaces and hundreds of thousands of fasteners that are typical in an airframe.

The following software components are used by CAD software developers as the foundation for their applications:

D-Cubed Components are six software libraries that can be licensed by software developers for integration into their products. The capabilities they provide include parametric sketching, part and assembly design, motion simulation, collision detection, clearance measurement and hidden line visualization.

Parasolid is 3D geometric modeling component software, enabling users of Parasolid-based products to model complex parts and assemblies. It is used as the geometry engine in hundreds of different CAD, CAM and CAE applications.

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