Choosing a CAD system is an important and potentially daunting business decision.
In this article I will go through 5 factors you should consider when choosing a CAD system that is right for you.
Does the given CAD Software have the functionality you want now and in the future? You might start off with the base license of the software but as you and the wider engineering team become more experienced you almost certainly will be considering ways to incorporate more advanced functionality. This might be beginning to use simulation within the CAD software rather than exporting to a 3rd party solution. More companies are now exploring additive manufacturing, generative design to bring new innovative designs to market. It is important to consider whether the CAD system you choose has a good quality fully integrated solution for this.
More immediate considerations might be whether the CAD system is known for being a great tool when it comes to surfacing, or if you are designing large complex products, how does it handle large assemblies.
Is training available? Whether this is in the form of self-paced courses or instructor-led training. Training is a very time-efficient way to get up to speed with any software. It is a lot better than trying to figure things out as you go and not necessarily designing in the most efficient way that the CAD software package allows.
With the advent of Covid-19, many companies might be hesitant about getting on-site training or going to a center to get training. But industries have adapted, and virtual training courses are available, so remain an important consideration.
You should also consider if the partner/reseller that you are buying the software from has a good breadth of training options. Coordinating courses through one company is efficient but also is indicative of their expertise within the software. As you develop your skills, you might require specific training on your products or want an understanding of the skills of your designers. Can your reseller provide these services?
Read more about training at PDSVISION.
Closely linked with the previous topic is how easy the CAD package is to learn. When thinking about the learning curve of CAD software remember that the users don’t need to learn everything single feature or piece of functionality. Vast areas might simply not be appliable to your industry or product. So, consider how long it will take to get to what you specifically need. Other considerations include looking for consistent UI, how initiative the software is and seeing if it is straightforward to use. Ways to determine this include asking for a Demo of the software or perhaps a trial. Demos are a great way to get a grasp of the workflow and get answers to key questions. If a particular CAD system looks like the right fit for your business, then consider asking for a trial.
Do you get access to high quality, responsive support with your CAD licenses? If you have that burning question that you can’t find the answer to or if you can’t resolve an issue, you’ll appreciate being able to resolve this quickly.
There are several things you might want to consider here, the Licenses (seats), Hardware and Training. More of a complete cost of ownership rather than just the immediate price of the license.
Perhaps the most common factor is the cost of the base license of the software followed by any extensions or add-ons that you might want. These extras may add cost but have the potential to more than make their money back if like with a generative design they would make products lighter/ use less material.
Hardware is an important consideration, always check that your machine can run the software that you are looking at purchasing or make plans for new machines to run the software. It is worth noting that cloud CAD solutions exist such as PTC’s Onshape, which remove the need for high spec hardware. Some companies have explored the use of virtual machines rather than buying physical machines upfront. Cloud solutions in any industry are perhaps something to keep an eye on.
Budgeting for training and investing in staff is crucial to getting the best from your CAD system and improving the efficiency of your design team, so make sure to take this into account.
Businesses are constantly trying to adopt new industry-leading technology in order to stay ahead. Choosing the right CAD system to suit your business can help give you that competitive edge. Therefore, the above factors are worth considering when making this decision. At Root Solutions, we have many experts that can offer advice on the CAD systems we provide and their latest improvements and benefits. To find out more please contact us.
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We hope this has given you a good starting list of what to consider when choosing the CAD system that is right for you. If you find this helpful, please let us know, or feel free to contact one of our CAD experts.