Integration of Computer-Aided Design and Finite Element Analysis Tools in a Small Manufacturing Enterprise
June 2003 • Technical Report
This 2003 report summarizes two case studies of tool integration activities at one small manufacturer.
Software Engineering Institute
CMU/SEI Report Number
Small manufacturing enterprises face a number of challenges when integrating computer-aided design (CAD) tools and computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools into their design processes. One of the most significant challenges is interoperability across the wide range of commercial CAD and CAE tools. Although many of these tools support industry data standards and claim to be interoperable, the connection between them is not seamless.
This report summarizes two case studies of tool integration activities at one small manufacturer. The first study examines the enhancement of the product development process resulting from replacement of a two-dimensional CAD system with a three-dimensional CAD system. The second examines the creation of an in-house capability to perform finite element analysis (FEA), replacing analysis that had previously been outsourced.
As a result of these experiences, the manufacturer learned that improved productivity and superior designs could be obtained by integrating analysis into the design process at the earlier stages of conceptual and preliminary design. The manufacturer also learned that the design process and some design techniques had to change for the company to use the CAD and FEA tools effectively.