Expert Manufacturing Advice tailored for step-by-step implementation in the workplace. Small Manufacturers, Machine Shops and CAD Engineers improve and thrive with our hands-on help. Why 3D CAD? Justifying the Investment for Small Manufacturers CAD Investment Justification

Why 3D CAD?
Justifying the Investment
for Small Manufacturers

CAD Investment Justification


CAD Investment Justification...

Key Business Drivers for Adopting 3D CAD

What have been the key reasons for adopting 3D CAD for successful profitable manufacturing businesses? Some motives are listed below; however it is worth noting two themes which underpin much of the thinking:

  • Increasingly tough commercial conditions
  • Limitations of traditional solutions like 2D technical drawings

CAD Investment Justification...

Better Quality Products

3D CAD enables complicated components to be accurately designed and brought together as assemblies. Moving parts can be tested to ensure there are no clashes. Also fits and tolerances can be checked. Finally, analysis and testing can be conducted digitally to prove-out the design and so move the product towards meeting its performance requirements. Simulation and analysis available to engineers include stress, strain, vibration, thermal and fluid flow testing.

Ultimately, all of this provides you with a better quality product, which functions well and is fit for purpose. From a manufacturing perspective, CAD/CAM enables you to simulate tool paths and run times. Checking in this way enables you to minimise and hopefully eliminate defects and scrap. Any manufacturer who has suffered from multiple engineering design changes, or scrap components as production is refined, together with the downtime and frustration all this causes, will benefit from the potential that 3D CAD offers.

Reduced Product Development Cycle

Related to the above point, 3D CAD enables you to accelerate a number of key stages of the development process. For example concept, detail design, production engineering and marketing, all make use of the attributes of 3D CAD. Whether it’s great visuals, semi-automatic generation of technical drawings, or simulation and analysis, 3D CAD can dramatically speed up traditionally lengthy parts of the development process. Collectively this can and does significantly reduce the time it takes to bring products to market.

CAD Investment Justification...

Supply Chain Demands and Development of More Complex Products

For most manufacturing industry sectors, higher value engineering is where the future lies, if you wish to thrive or even just survive. For small manufacturers in the supply chain, the ability to design and manufacture complicated components and assemblies is a prerequisite to competing and winning contracts. 3D CAD enables the very accurate design of complex parts and systems. Importantly, 3D CAD data can be shared with others in the supply chain. Contracts aside, customers are increasingly savvy and have the means to quickly compare products. The ability to offer clients what they want, which may involve complicated designs, gives small manufacturers a competitive advantage.


Manufacturing Environment CAD Models being used in the Supply Chain by various suppliers (Courtesy of Autodesk): Could this be part of your CAD Investment Justification?

Offering Customised Products to meet Customer Demands

3D CAD enables standard products to be quickly modified, so that customers can obtain tailored solutions that meet their specific requirements. For your business, this means shorter development cycles than designing from scratch. At the same time it enables products to unmistakeably look and feel part of the same family, with associated branding and customer loyalty.

CAD Investment Justification

Next... Perceived Barriers - Why Small Manufacturers are Reluctant to Adopt 3D CAD?... and answers to show its definitely achievable for You

Back to CAD Engineering Essentials 

What CAD Software do You Rate?....Do you have any problems between CAD design and production engineering, or is it all seamless?

What CAD software do you rate the best and why?
How successful (or not) have you been using CAD to support other teams like production, maintenance and marketing?

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