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Paperless design to production, is it possible?

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Paperless design to production, is it possible?

Every company, including mine, would love to avoid spending time and money producing drawings. Company management wants to simply be able to send out a model and have their product made off of it. This would be a dream come true for many companies. The question is how would this be done?

 

If I have a simple machined bracket that I’ve designed I can easily export the file out, and be fairly confident that my supplier will be able to read the file accurately. I can also produce a generic document that I would email to my supplier with the exported model data. This generic document can contain many of my product requirements such as material specifications, heat treat condition, tolerance, general surface finishes, edge breaks and any other generic requirements I need. Sounds easy enough, but how do I get this done?

 

Before my design goes to my supplier I have multiple steps my product has to go through, analysis, approvals, product evaluations, . . . Once I receive my product from my supplier I will need to at least be able to verify my product. What is I don’t have a CNC CMM, or a optical compotator that can handle digital files for comparison. How can I reliably verify my product?

 

From what I’ve seen so far in Creo and other CAD packages, there is no way to export the vast amount of data that would be required to reliably produce a product. What if I needed a specific feature to be ground to a specific surface finish, and plated with a specific process in accordance with a specific industry specification. I don’t even think I can add that definition to the model, and if I can, how will my supplier be able to see it?

 

So, here are my questions, can it be done? How do you handle this request from your management? Do you think the CAD tools are capable of doing this? Can it truly save time and money?

 

I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts about what I’ve tried to describe here.

7 REPLIES 7

Re: Paperless design to production, is it possible?

Tim,

I don't know how much you follow the board or do searches on the board, but there have been a couple of discussions this spring / early summer on this issue.

Here are the links:

http://communities.ptc.com/message/186116#186116

http://communities.ptc.com/message/186433#186433

Thanks,

Dale

Re: Paperless design to production, is it possible?

Hey, thanks Dale. I look into these other discussions. I just started reading and paying attention to this board, so I'm not real familiar with othe discussion. I still would love to hear from others what there thoughts and ideas are.

Thanks,

Tim

Re: Paperless design to production, is it possible?

The short answer to your question is ASME Y14.41. Have management understand this and you get an understanding of what PTC has been pushing for during the last decade.

"You know CAD, right?" "You just push a button and the drawing is done, right?" "How hard can it be to make a part directly from the model?"

Yep, that is the penny pinchers and the bean counter mantra to mechanical engineering. They think that once the "design" is done, the drawings just poop out the other end.

Seriously, paper, or paperless, there is a -LOT- of behind-the-scene investment and preparation to make this "paperless" dream come true. There are legal issues as to supplier conformance, supplier base, inspection considerations (which you already hit on), company standards, purchasing agreements, and on and on...

It is not something lightly entered into. 90% of my clients require 100% detailed drawings. The others are sheet-metal designs where I still have significant detail on paper but rely on standard shop tolerances in my design. Still, there is a note defining these expectations.

I would suggest senior management as a whole attend a seminar covering this subject before even thinking of moving forward to any extent. Maybe someone like ASME can connect you with a good source for this. If you can arrange this "learning session", you will be a hero, and will probably end up on the implementation committee if management decides to move forward.

Re: Paperless design to production, is it possible?

..and on a side note, for internal assembly drawings, something that you want to remain highly dynamic, I do have a lot of respect for Manufacturing Assembly Instructions. There are many ways to move toward this, but I know assembly drawings based only on CAD models can be a bear to sustain. Depending on your compliant ISO9000 engineering change process, merging assembly drawings into "Engineering Change Order" controlled Assembly Instructions, some sustaining effort could be simplified. This is yet another area to consider in streamlining manufacturing. Do know, however, that you are now tying design engineering to manufacturing engineering much closer than ever before.

Otherwise, yes, you could move to 3D assembly drawings. I am not familiar with all PTC tools to make the best of this but it usually only takes the model and manipulates it into "steps". Is this what ArborText does?

Re: Paperless design to production, is it possible?

Hello Antonius,

Thank you for your comments. I've just started reading and absorbing ASME Y14.41, and playin with Wildfire 5.0 annotations. I've already come across what I feel are issues with Wildfire conforming to Y14.41.

Another major issue I've found is how do you get this annotation info out to your supplier. My machine shops may not support Wildfire 5.0. If this is the case then I produce a STEP file to send them. I gave this a try and none of the annotations I created exported. Now I have to admit I didn't try to do any research on whether on not that can be done. I did what 99% of all users would do "Save As, STEP".

The other thing I noticed is that it took considerable effort to complete simple tasks. I don't see anyt major time saving by using the annotation feature within Wildfire.

I agree with you, there are an unbelievable amount of questions that have to be answered in order to make paperless work. I honestly don't feel that the CAD systems out there are capable of truly going paperless, but I thought I'd start this conversation to see what others think.

Re: Paperless design to production, is it possible?

The visualize part is easy as your supplier just needs the free PTC viewer: Creo View Express.

However, appropriate Y14.41 depends on display stated where you literally have to save a view state (display states) that only shows what you want it to show, and show it clearly. Then you activate another display state to show additional information, meaning your hiding and unhiding specific annotation and orientation to make the "paperless drawing" complete. I am not familiar enough with the viewer to know how it handles display states.

So yes, it is indeed the same effort as drawings. There is -no way- around this. It is simply a different mindset.

Of course, there are advantages to the manufacturer and inspection since now they have a much more detailed look at what they are doing. They also have the very model in hand that they will be machining (as long as everything is associative; another RULE to develop for many organizations. It is not mainstream in my region and discipline but for some, who have invested heavily in this, it has "time to market" advantages that are critical to their business model.

The plus is that PTC has made this functional; the minus is that CAD is only a small cog in the greater works.

Good luck!

Re: Paperless design to production, is it possible?

I think I agree, that for the most part a drawing is still required. I also agree that there is an advatage to haveing a model that can be used for manufacturing and quality. Getting those two items to be reliably accurate and suppied to the supplier can be difficult.