CAD Customization and CAD Automation: What is the difference?

The use of computer-aided design (CAD) software has become an essential tool in engineering and manufacturing. There is no industry today that produces drawings or models without CAD software.

CAD enables designers and engineers to create precise and accurate designs. However, with the increasing complexity, design iterations and scale of projects, effective use of CAD (either CAD customization or CAD automation) has become crucial to improve efficiency and productivity.

CAD customization involves modifying the software’s user interface. It helps Design Engineers with frequently used features/tools available easily and quickly.

CAD automation involves automating the design process by creating a set of rules or procedures that are executed automatically by the software. Its aim is to reduce the time required to complete a design, eliminate errors, and improve accuracy. This can be achieved through custom-developed automation tools either using automation tools available as add-ins or custom programming using CAD APIs. Automation provides benefits such as increased productivity, reduced errors, and enhanced control over standardization.

The main difference between CAD customization and automation is that customization modifies the software’s user interface, while automation involves automating the design process. Benefits are slightly different but they involve improving efficiency and accuracy in the design process, reducing the time required to complete a design and eliminating errors.

When used appropriately, both customization and automation of processes within a CAD system can offer substantial advantages to businesses. Customization empowers users to take greater control over their workspace by personalizing the user interface and making precise adjustments that cater to their specific requirements. On the other hand, automation enables users to save time by automating repetitive tasks or processes. By comprehending the disparities between these two methods of improving your CAD system, you can determine which option aligns better with the needs of your business.

CAD Customization: 

Modification of Software UI:
  • Either with programming or
  • Without programming

Methods to customize

  • Creating macros
    • series of automated tasks
    • record and re-use
  • Programming
    • Involves writing custom code to create custom features
  • Adding custom features
  • Custom settings

Examples:

  • A manufacturer is involved in creating custom Aluminum extrusion profiles, can create a library of these custom profiles for easy re-use in models.
  • A fabrication structure maker can create the custom UI which can provide access to custom features which they commonly use for creating their models and drawings.
  • A design Engineer can create set of custom note blocks to help him use them in drawings frequently.
 

CAD Automation:

Automation of Design Process:

  • By building custom application
  • application which also includes logic / procedures

Methods to automate:

  • Create custom applications
    • Product configuration tools
    • Automation thru creating batch processes
    • Automation of specific tasks
      • Drawing view creation
      • Checking annotations in drawing
      • Creating assembly constraints
      • Export files to iges/step

Examples:

  • A Design team is involved in creating assembly drawing of mould design which comprises of similar set of details for every design can save their time by automating assembly drawing.
  • A fabrication structure manufacturer can create various custom reports from available model data to share information to manufacturing.
  • A quality check tool can run through set of rules and check the models health and it’s compatibility with standard practice.

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