Product development with CAD systems moves to the cloud

Engineering & Product Development With Cloud Based CAD

Developing a new product is a complex process that involves staying up to date on new developments in business and technology to produce well-engineered products in a cost-effective and timely manner. Collaboration between everyone involved, from research to marketing, is essential to streamline the design process and prevent the need for costly redesigns. Cloud based computer-aided design, or CAD, is making that possible.

As reported by Kyle Maxey in Engineering.com on December 8, 2015, “cloud-based CAD software has started to open up a space where users, regardless of their design or tech skills, can interact with and view a project as it’s being modeled on the computer—rather than when the physical prototype has been built and it’s too late.” The result is savings in time and money.

It’s a game changer. Unlike older CAD systems that required expensive workstations or multiple software installations on desktop computers, new CAD systems, like Onshape and Autodesk’s Fusion 360, operate completely in the cloud. This means projects can be accessed via a browser from tablets, phones and pc’s, allowing collaborators to view and interact with a project anywhere, anytime.

Because the system and the data exist only in the cloud, multiple individuals can view and edit the latest version of a project at the same time with no chance of overwriting another user or the need to autosave. The current version of the project is always the version every user sees.

Though some users do not like being unable to access or store copies of project data offline, the benefit is that neither can unauthorized users.

In an interview appearing in Engineering.com on December 15, 2015, Jon Hirschstick, Chairman and founder of Onshape noted, “you do not copy your data on many computers. All of your data lives in only one place and you can share and remove access at any time. This is an aspect of CAD security that often gets overlooked. I would say that it’s going to be much easier for the NSA (or anyone else) to get at most users’ CAD data than it would be to get at ours.”

Another advantage is the ease of maintenance. Users will always have the latest software version at all times. No more having to wait for, download and install large, yearly updates to workstation based CAD systems. Cloud systems update automatically and more frequently. All the user has to do is refresh the browser.

A variety of industries all over the world are already using cloud based CAD to create new products for today’s evolving markets. There’s never been a better time to be a product development engineer.

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