What Defines “High-End” CAD?

Guest writer and Project Supervisor, Christopher Morris, shares his views on what defines “high-end” CAD.  Read on as Chris evaluates different platforms. Don’t forget to visit our Application Library InCAD Library for hundreds of design ideas and free CAD downloads!

If you’re familiar with Computer Aided Design (CAD) you’ve likely encountered many of the 60+ commercially available platforms on the market [1]. Most of which are capable of depicting 3D renderings of a conceptual design. Some are even tailored to a specific industry, such as electronics or architecture.

One distinction that lacks a formal definition is the term “high-end” CAD. I have most commonly encountered this term when describing Siemens’ NX or Dassault Systèmes’ CATIA platform. While both of these platforms can cost tens of thousands of dollars, what qualities do they possess to be crowned the Bugatti of CAD platforms?

There are two main factors amongst these high-end platforms that outperform their lesser counterparts.

Assembly Size

While there may not be a formal limit for all CAD platforms in regards to the number of components within an assembly, it is important to realize there is a performance ceiling. Just because a full functioning passenger vehicle can be designed in SOLIDWORKS, does not mean it should. Even if the workstation’s RAM, CPU, and GPU are configured to support the demand of rendering a full-scale ocean liner does not ensure the software is capable of complying. For this reason, many players in the Automotive, Aerospace, and Defense sectors utilize high-end CAD platforms.

PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) / Enterprise-Wide Integration

There are about 30,000 components within a typical passenger vehicle; over 5 million in a Boeing 747 [2][3]. Immense collaboration efforts are required for successful production. That being said, design is only a fraction of the production cycle with these complex creations. High-end CAD platforms allow tight integration between design and downstream processes such as procuring, manufacturing, testing, tracking, scheduling, and so much more. Oftentimes, this integration is open to allow IT personnel to create custom solutions that may vary between each company. Mid/lower level platforms may offer limited support or none at all.

So much more…

There are many other benefits included at the high-end level such as Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) integration. This allows the user to plan and control the machine tools required to manufacture the newly designed component. Many users also find the modeling of complex geometries is more intuitive through high-end surface modeling.

As with many things in life, ‘You get what you pay for’. But do you necessarily need what you paid for? Unless you’re planning on bringing home 1st place from the Le Mans event, you may be able to skip the Bugatti and settle for a Jetta.

For more articles on CAD, check out the below series on CAD:

CAD Pt 1: Design Before Technology

CAD Pt 2: CAD meets CAM

CAD Pt 3: Product Management Systems

CAD Pt 4: The World of FEA

CAD Pt 5: Powerful Simulations

 

Sources:

[1] N.A. “List of 3D Modeling Software.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Mar. 2017. Web. 13 May 2017.

[2] TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION. “How Many Parts Is Each Car Made Of?” Toyota Motor Corporation Official Corporate Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2017.

[3] Hill, Kyle. “Extreme Engineering: The Boeing 747.” Science-Based Life. WordPress, 25 July 2011. Web. 13 May 2017.

Cover photo Automotive Engineering HQ

Share this Story
  • General Interest

    What Defines “High-End” CAD?

    Guest writer and Project Supervisor, Christopher Morris, shares his views on what defines “high-end” CAD.  Read on as Chris evaluates different ...
Load More Related Articles
Load More By Carlicia Layosa
Load More In General Interest

4 Comments


  1. Thomas Scott Nelson

    March 22, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    Please allow me to add that the most important element in achieving “High End” CAD are the qualities, abilities, and sensibilities of the human being creating the work.

    Reply

  2. Peter

    March 22, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    It seems to me you didn’t actually define “high-end CAD” or its players. While Solidworks certainly doesn’t qualify, nor Siemens’ own SolidEdge, PTC’s CREO certainly does. It has built-in CAD/CAM/CAE/FEA/PLM in the same platform with no translators.

    Reply

  3. David Parker

    March 23, 2018 at 7:21 am

    I really feel that right now I have the best of both worlds. Been using Onshape for almost 2 years now on Windows, Linux, and Android. For about the cost of a maintenance subscription to SW I have very robust and simple modeling tools. Surfacing capabilities are catching up quickly, and when I need more toos such as BOM, rendering, CAM, etc. in any given workspace I just add them from the app store.

    Reply

  4. Ramakrishnan

    April 16, 2018 at 2:28 am

    I completely agree with you ! thank you for sharing this article. Hope that you’ll come up with some others in the future. It is very useful for preparing interviews.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Check Also

Rocking Rapid Design with SolidWorks Users

MISUMI had the honor of attending the Rockford ...

Subscribe to our Channel

Follow Me @usa_misumi

Like us on Facebook

FOLLOW @ INSTAGRAM

  • #80sextillion different patterns on Flannel Friday!
  • Mini-linear guides…oh my! So mini that custom mounting screws are included when you order them. Each Master Class attendee receives a mini Linear Guide keychain! **Penny not included** #80Sextillion #MasterClass #MISUMI https://misumimasterclass.com/
  • Another successful #FABTECH18! We had a great time with the Dayton Lamina team: #80sextillion
  • Another great day at the show! #IMTS2018 #80Sextillion
  • We got the #gigabot 3D printer going at our booth! Thanks @re3dprinting! #80sextillion #thinkbigprinthuge
  • Stop by our Booth #134757 and pick up a bumper sticker! #IMTS2018 #80Sextillion #WeLoveEngineers
  • Our very own Marketing Product Engineer, Carlicia, being interviewed by the crew from Hannover Messe USA for IMTS 2018! Booth 134757 #80Sextillion #imts2018 #hannovermesseusa
  • Vamanos Mexico! Thanks @misumimex for hooking us up with these awesome jerseys! #mexico🇲🇽