CAD Manager's Newsletter (#174)

12 Jun, 2007 By: Robert Green

CAD Standards, Part 1: Getting Started

You know that standards are an important business element, but how do you convince upper management?

As promised in the last issue of CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'm embarking on a multipart series on the topic of CAD standards. My intent is to break the concept of CAD standards into its core components and cover the topic from the beginning through implementation with an emphasis on helping CAD managers stay sane during the process. Along the way I encourage your feedback and questions via email.

So let’s start by looking at the entire process of implementing CAD standards and examining why we even need CAD standards in the first place.

Why Do We Need Standards?
I once attended a meeting with a staff CAD manager who was trying to make the case for AutoCAD standards to his senior management. When the question of why CAD standards were needed at all came up, here is what the CAD manager said:

"We need CAD standards because our users are continually putting geometry on the wrong layer, which causes the BYLAYER color relationships in our plotting scripts to produce plots with the wrong line weights. Further, many of our users routinely explode title blocks, which not only loses embedded attribute information but forces the underlying geometry back onto layer zero which further hampers our plot scripting routines."

I understood what was said, and I'm sure you do, too, but the blank stares coming from the senior management staff made it obvious that they had no clue about what was said. Simply put, the CAD manager in question tried to explain the standards problem using AutoCAD-driven technical language that his senior managers didn't speak or understand. And because they didn't understand, the question of why CAD standards are required was never answered. Read more>>

:: CAD Manager's Q&A

How can I communicate to my users how critical standards are?

Robert Green replies: I think it really is senior management’s job to set the tone for following standards! I’m not trying to pass the buck or upset anyone in senior management. I’m just trying to be realistic about where the expectation of following standards gets set.

It is the CAD manager’s job to educate senior management on the value of and need for standards, but once those concepts are explained, senior management must tell everyone, in no uncertain terms, that following standards makes everything work better, faster and with fewer errors. Read more>>

Submit your questions to Robert Green

:: Resources

What Will CAD Look Like 50 Years from Now?

For the past several weeks, Lester Craft of Innovate Forum has addressed that question with a series of essays in IF's daily Web posts. The articles posted there express the imaginings of CAD users of all stripes, including a Cadalyst columnist, an aircraft designer, a CAD manager, architects, a writer and a couple of CAD software execs, to list a few. Log on to see what others think about how the industry will evolve in the next half century.

Send us the address of your favorite Web site or other resource and a few words about why you like it. If we publish it, we'll send you a Cadalyst t-shirt!

:: Events

CAD Triple Play -- An Afternoon of Baseball and CAD
June 20, 2007
Schaumburg, Illinois
Graphics Systems will sponsor the first annual CAD Triple Play Event. Held at the Schaumburg Flyers baseball game at Alexian Field, the event will offer free seminars on SolidWorks, COSMOSWorks and DriveWorks. Following the seminars, attendees are invited to a free tailgate party and picnic, and then to attend the baseball game between the Schaumburg Flyers and the Joliet Jackhammers. Read more

Dassault Systemes DEVCON Conference
June 26-27, 2007
Paris, France
“Reach New Frontiers” is the theme of this year’s DEVCON, the Dassault Systemes Developer Conference. Participants will learn about DS’s latest key technology advancements and breakthroughs and receive PLM implementation and methodology tips to accompany PLM Business Transformation and deployments. Read more

Webinar: Optimizing Process Frameworks
June 27, 2007
2 p.m. EDT
This Webinar presented by Collaborative Product Development Associates will review a framework for transforming product development processes and summarize the basic elements of the framework and how they support accurate process modeling, root-cause analysis and consensus building to establish the on-going environment required for continuously improving and standardizing design processes. Read more

FIATECH 2007 Member Meeting
September 17-19, 2007
Minneapolis, Minnesota
"Looking Outward to Inspire Innovation & Improve Internal Operations" is this year's member meeting theme. By collaborating and sharing resources from among FIATECH's membership, its internal processes can be modified, streamlined and molded to better suit the demands within the industry within individual companies. Read more

2007 FLOW-3D World Users Conference
September 20-21, 2007
Dallas, Texas
FLOW-3D users from around the world will present their studies, analyses and results obtained using FLOW-3D, including benchmarks, case studies and research projects. The Flow Science team will present their ongoing development plans, demonstrate the new capabilities of Version 9.2 and be available to answer users' questions about the software. Read more

Material World New York
September 25-27, 2007
New York, New York
This official event of the American Apparel & Footwear Association marks the third edition of Material World New York. Eco-friendly, performance, product lifecycle management and design technology categories will be emphasized with dedicated educational programming, special promotions and new product resources. Read more

DELMIA 2007 Customer Conference
October 3-4, 2007
Dearborn, Michigan
"Manufacturing in Motion" is the theme of Dassault Systemes' 2007 DELMIA Worldwide Customer Conferences. These annual conferences provide a forum for representatives of various industries to exchange ideas and information about the impact of digital manufacturing in product creation. The conference will also be held October 16-17, 2007, in Stuttgart, Germany, and November 7-8, 2007, in Yokohama, Japan. Read more

COMSOL Conference 2007
October 4-6, 2007
Newton, Massachusetts
At the third annual conference on multiphysics simulations, organized by COMSOL, scientists and engineers learn how multiphysics technology is being adopted for a wide span of applications in industry and academia. Keynote addresses and more than 70 user presentations will be presented by leaders in the field. Read more

Autodesk University
November 27-30, 2007
Las Vegas, Nevada
Autodesk University offers more than 500 learning opportunities including advanced classes, hands-on labs, business-management solutions and strategies, and more. An exhibit hall features tools and services from leading application developers and strategic partners; briefings by Autodesk executives and product managers on key business trends, product futures and company direction; and social events. Read more

COFES 2008
April 10-13, 2008
Scottsdale, Arizona
Sponsored by Cyon Research, the 9th Annual Congress on the Future of Engineering Software brings together the community of engineering software vendors, developers, resellers, analysts and users for private and public discussion in a relaxed and informal but intense atmosphere. Read more

Click here to view the complete calendar of events at