Technology indeed has a major impact on all industries around the world. Over the years, machines have been responsible for the enormous production that humans rely on in terms of production number and flawlessness. The world of manufacturing is not exempted from this fact.
One of the technologies used in sheet metal manufacturing is sheet metal software. Sheet metal software is program that considers the fabrication methods needed for manufacturing. Sheet metal design software accurately represents the flat pattern required to document and manufacture as they design changes when you create flanges and add bends.
There are certain criteria to consider if you are going to choose a sheet metal software for your projects. Choosing sheet metal software with these capabilities increases your leverage.
Sheet metal design capabilities
It is important to know the capabilities of the sheet metal software before using it. Be advised that there is no Computer-Aided Design (CAD) system available in the market that could cater to all the design requirements of a company.
When assessing 3D CAD software, choose the one that has the most efficient package in creating the types of products that your company makes. It all depends on what products you create.
For instance, a CAD package that automatically generates flat patterns and pays attention to special aids for modeling is essential for sheet metal parts, industrial and product designers should have software that high-quality surface and machinery designers should have tools that have the capabilities of assembling large number of parts.
Drafting tools that can be used for the long term
Most sheet metal fabrication involves the use of 2D illustrations in their designs even if the designs are developed in 3D due to the incomplete reveal of details required for fabrication. Dimensions, tolerances, surface finish specifications, and surface treatment are a part of this.
One important factor to look for in a sheet metal software is its ability to develop drawings according to dimensioning standards that you follow, lettering tolerances, and bill of materials. Also, look for software that makes exporting easy. The most common formats used in exporting CAD drawings are PDF, DXF, and DWG. If software cannot process exporting your drawing into one of these, it’s time to look for another one.
Moreover, a CAD system should also have the feature of handling multiple file formats. This is more important to large sheet metal product manufacturers because there are instances where product development is supervised by multiple supply chain vendors. Chances are, the design information used on one program is different from another one. Having a CAD system that can have multiple formats is helpful for this part.
Easy collaboration among customers, suppliers, and manufacturers
Some sheet metal software takes a long time to convert a drawing, which wastes a valuable amount of time. This is because the current system file format is not compatible with the old one.
In choosing a CAD system, consider the one that is popular in the industry supplier community that your company belongs to. In this way, you would no longer have to convert your designs from one file format to another. Consider the ability of 3D CAD systems to import files from other systems.
One of the requirements in choosing a CAD system is if the software supports international standard formats such as STEP, IGES, VDA, and IDF. Some questions that should be asked are the easiness of the user interface and the efficiency of working with the program.
Tools to take the designs from concept through manufacturing
Make sure to have a 3D CAD software that has applications that can decrease the chances of having error-filled tasks while simultaneously enhancing your testing, machining, and cost-estimating.
Engaging in physical behavior such as kinematics, dynamics, stress, deflection, vibration, temperatures, or fluid flow can reduce the number of physical tests that you need to go to. When looking for a CAD system, see if the system has capabilities in reducing physical tests.
Cost-estimating software enables designers to get cost targets met by revising designs sooner instead of waiting for estimators to say they are over budget. Select a CAD platform that gives you a broad choice of solutions that will help you get your job done faster and more efficiently.
Short learning curve
An efficient sheet metal software is ensured to bring productivity to its projects. A more productive system, however, can only happen if it is easy to implement within the own procedures of the company.
Another feature to look at when buying a CAD system is the span of the learning curve of the system and the familiarity of the program to the logical flow from concept development to manufacturing documentation.
Some systems have a complex learning curve that disables designers from working and even make them start over. You want to have a program that can easily go with the workflow and not cause any hindrance from it.
Outside of the technical specifications for the projects, the qualities that you should look for a CAD system is its compatibility with the computer unit you have. A program with many functions but does not take that much space in storage can be helpful because this avoids the PC from being slow.
Pricing is also one thing that you should look for. There are programs more expensive than others but can deliver more optimal results. However, there are also CAD systems that do not cost as much but can be as efficient as the pricier ones.
And the most important factor to look for is the type of manufacturing business that you have. Buying a CAD system that can perform tremendous tasks is good. However, if the industry that you are into does not require as many functions, the money spent on the CAD system would be just thrown to waste.
There are trusted brands in the market that could cater the needs of any enterprise. Consulting or purchasing your desired CAD system from them will be a good choice for your business.