The importance of engineering drawings in product design and manufacturing sector cannot be over emphasized. Till about 1980 – 85, all the engineering drawings were done by skilled draftsmen, who used paper and pencil to complete their task. Beginning in the 1980’s, CAD software reduced the need for draftsmen drastically. Not only large cap but even small and mid cap companies embraced CAD software software as it reduced the need for draftsmen significantly. As CAD software improved and became more affordable, it became easier to run it even on personal computers in the mid 1990s. This allowed design engineers to do their own drafting and analytic work, rather than rely on draftsmen.
As a matter of fact, instead of just creating drawings, CAD has fundamentally changed the way design is implemented. Just like manual drafting of technical and engineering drawings, the output of CAD conveys information such as materials, processes, dimensions and tolerances according to application specific conventions in solid models. Instead of drafting on solid form, designers use CAD to create product model forms with adequate product data, then they create drafting if necessary. Models that are developed in CAD are solid and offer flexibility and efficiency when making design changes; provide geometric and physical data that support product performance evaluations using CAE; support virtual manufacturing, prototyping, manufacturing process planning and product cost estimation. In addition, CAD / CAE models offer product life cycle and product knowledge repository for archiving. Importantly, product model in CAD serves as the centerpiece for e-design.
As the computing power has compounded over the years, and various companies like AutoDesk, Dassault and others have developed numerous modelling, simulation, visualization and optimization software that makes the job of design engineers easy. Since the backbone of CAD is solid modelling, it is indispensible for designers to acquire adequate knowledge in CAD and solid modelling in order to effectively practice e-design in support of engineering design.
Role of CAD / CAE Training Institutes
As more and more companies introduce numerous CAD / CAE software, the training institutes are playing a pivotal role.
Investment in CAD / CAE
While it is easy for companies to afford cutting edge CAD / CAE software, the same is not true of students. Most of the students do not have adequate resources to procure legitimate CAD / CAE software. CAD / CAE training institutes must therefore ensure that they have legitimate software on which to teach the students. More importantly, CAD / CAE training institutes should have enough expertise to understand which software is really in demand by the industry, and filter the software that is not up to the mark. This is very vital as students look at an institute to guide them through the myriad world of CAD / CAE software. Often, making the right choice of software can make or break the student’s career.
Motivating the Student
It is crucial to remember when educating and rearing specialists or operators in CAD or CAE is to ensure that the student does not develop a dislike for CAD / CAE, or does not develop a feeling that its study is too difficult or complicated. Any good CAD / CAE training institute offers education in such a way that the student enjoys the journey through the course, while picking up the principles of CAD / CAE naturally.
It is equally important to understand that no CAD / CAE training is complete without practical training. This training can include a mini product development project or a design job for an object. Good training institutes always have a few projects lined up that their students can undertake.
There are two types of students that come to a training institute – freshers and employed. While the students who are already engaged by industries do not need placement assistance, freshers certainly do. This is why good CAD / CAE institutes have close tie-ups with the industry and help students in placements once they complete their CAD / CAE courses.