October 18, 2019 Last updated October 16th, 2019 3,899 Reads share

5 Trends of Computer-Aided Design in Car Manufacturing

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Not so long ago, all types of design or prototype were done manually. It made the development process very time-consuming, and we all know today every second is precious. That’s why there was needed an upgrade such as computer-aided design (CAD) software.

No more manual drawing and sketching or building models out of clay. Now the advancements of technology help designers to bring their ideas to life and facilitate the process of designing and refining them. It’s expected that the global CAD market will reach $13,83 billion in 2028 

CAD is applied in many engineering-based industries such as shipbuilding, aerospace design, architectural, industrial design, and car manufacturing. But for the last one, it’s more than useful. It was first applied in the automotive way back in the middle 1960s. Ever since then, its use in car design has expanded significantly.

Vehicle design in Industry 4.0 is highly digital. Furthermore, it’s accessible to stakeholders across the manufacturing chain, thanks to the magic of product lifecycle management systems.

CAD Software does way more than its name implies. It’s highly beneficial because it allows secure storage of copies of data, drawings, and blueprints. Moreover, it includes interior design, mechanics, architecture, modeling, animation, and engineering. And that’s not all – in addition to the actual design, it can support product data management, analysis and much more.

We’ve come to the time when all automakers now depend on CAD for their design as well as the overall process. It enables them to work with other experts and simulate performance. As technology evolves at lightning speed, collaborations have become an essential part of effective manufacturing.

All this results in Computer-Aided Design trends that are changing at that same fast pace. That made us list 5 of the current top trends in CAD that are expected to dominate the design industry for the next couple of years.

Internet of Things

Of course, we can’t go over a list of trends in any technology-related sphere, without mentioning the Internet of Things. That’s why it comes first in ours. It’s no surprise, as the global IoT market is forecasted to reach $1,6 trillion worth by 2025. Moving on to the point, the IoT is a network of connected devices, capable of interacting with their surroundings and gathering data.

The “things” that are part of this network can interact with each other and send signals. Such devices could now be found everywhere, including or homes, factories, or vehicles. IoT is among the latest trends in CAD, which manages to catch the attention of major players in the automotive industry.

The continually growing number of connected devices is going to change the way we complete our daily tasks fundamentally. Factories and facilities are now experiencing the process of digital transformation, which means that new efficiencies we didn’t know about will be introduced. That’s why CAD is now evolving into the most preferred way of designing innovations, which can interact and deliver outstanding performance.

Mobile CAD

Mobility is now the leading thing organizations look for in any technology. It means that accessing CAD software through mobile devices is a trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Half of the computer-aided design developers are now working on making their products accessible on mobile platforms, and some of them already provide that option. Such access allows product designers to use unique apps, tools, and work anywhere at any time. It makes the CAD technology way more productive, and that’s why developers are always looking for new ways to make it mobile. 

Advanced Surfacing

The good old computer graphics could only handle circles, cubes, lines, and flat surfaces. However, that’s not enough for automobile design. Vehicles have subtle curves, and blending between panels is extremely important.

It makes the advanced surfacing that CAD provides a trend in car manufacturing. It brings the ability to handle any aesthetic issues in automotive engineering. Moreover, it provides templates, which replace the need for designers to build construction elements, add surface to them, and modify the results afterward so that it respects manufacturing constraints.

Advanced surfacing allows designers to define and design specifications for the new connected vehicles, such as minimum die angle values, for instance. The computer-aided design system automatically generates high-quality surfaces that would meet all those specifications by sweeping variational sections along with 3D curves together with their connections.

Solid Modeling

As we already mentioned, clay models were replaced for good after CAD software came with the ability to create right enough realistic views of automotive designs. Digital designing now continues to improve as Virtual Reality is now available. 

The computer-aided design provides many 3D design features for better blending and chamfering of edges. The most significant advantage is that it can apply different tolerances of any side and calculate the appropriate ones while connecting the surfaces.

Vehicle’s thin-walled parts require the highest-quality system capable of handling all the topology changes that can occur in hollowing or thickening operations. Such systems not only handle all requirements but also support mold and die design environments. They’re also able to use tapering functionality to deal with intricate parting lines.

3D Printing

Emerging 3D printing technologies have allowed the use of new materials like metal, plastics, textile, and ceramics for the instant generation of a model during the development process. It enables the creation of hardware models out of 3D-CAD’s virtual geometry data.

The characteristics of such a model are very close to the ones out of serial production. Together with the significant cost-reduction, the enhancement of 3D printing technology can make it a part of the mass production process. 

However, some “smart” materials will be used to combine hardware and virtual modeling into a single process. That’s why the Dynamic Physical Rendering (DPR), a research project, works primarily on the development of such flexible material based on nanotechnology. With its help, the 3D printing process will be able to form a hardware model, which can be reshaped by hand afterward. Nevertheless, to handle such dynamic 3D forms, some new approaches for robust software programs are needed.

CAD’s Future In The Car Manufacturing Industry

Computer-aided design has been the central part of automotive design processes for decades now. The replacement of clay or wood models with virtual ones was a massive step forward to the digitized manufacturing process, which is now a fact.

3D printing and other emerging technologies are set to disrupt product modeling processes, which could bring a whole new look and styling to the industry in general. Those were only 5 of the CAD trends in car manufacturing. They’re here to prove to us that such models will continue to play an essential role in the automotive industry for the upcoming years.

Sophie Zoria

Sophie Zoria

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