2D users could be missing out?

Written by: Tom Shelley | Published:

Tom Shelley reports on some of the latest developments in and around 3D CAD software and why engineers using 2D should pay attention

Solid Modelling 2003: One of the big reasons to design in 3D is that "people who sign cheques cannot always read 2D drawings", according to John Marchant, chairman of the seminar sessions on the second day of Solid Modelling 2003. His seminar is entitled, '3D and beyond, getting the best out of your digital data.'

Formerly marketing manager for Autodesk UK, Marchant now runs a business called Skilstream, in Bellenaves, France. He told Eureka: "There are still lots of people not using 3D. I reckon there are more than 100,000 users working in 2D who could benefit from moving to 3D. Some people still design in 2D because it works for them in their environment, but they then miss out on one of the biggest advantages for 3D, which is its usefulness in communication. 3D is particularly useful to ease the communication of concepts and ideas to non-technical people, especially customers and those engaged in marketing and field service.

"We recognise that companies such as SolidWorks and Autodesk have vastly increased the number of 3D seats. In the seminar, we are introducing people who have obtained particular benefits from 3D solid modelling and digital data. Presentations will be made by representatives of Lucky Strike BAR, Honda F1, Trumeter and Anthony Mansefield of Telescope Technologies."

PLM – hype or help?
Early risers, on the same day, can attend a free seminar at 8:30 called "Straight talking on the extravagantly-hyped subject, PLM. Sleeves rolled up and under the bonnet." Ian Singleton of Cadtek, one of the speakers, explained to Eureka: "Product Lifecycle Management [PLM] is not over-hyped at all. Most companies now recognise they need such an environment, whether they call it PLM, PDM, EDM or CIM. There is a lot of confusion around the acronyms with the newest one being PPM or Product and Portfolio Management; another newish one is PPDM, Process Product Data Management. Most people know what PDM is but not PLM. PLM is like PDM but offers you more, just as PDM offers you more than EDM.

"Software designated as PLM is suitable for medium to large companies, while smaller enterprises are more likely to use software designated as EDM, or document management systems," he added. "Even a one man band can still practise the concept of PLM without having to buy software with PLM in its title. People need to apply the concept of PLM because of its benefits, which are well proven. Time to market becomes shorter because of re-use of information and everyone in the enterprise having access to data.

"Legislation is forcing more firms to go down this route. Several of our customers are being forced into PLM by FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) regulations. If you want to sell into the food and/or pharmaceutical markets in the US, your process has to be FDA-approved, otherwise your business there is dead."

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