Combining CAD and Cloud – A Different Look

Combining CAD and Cloud – A Different Look

If one believes of the buzz in CAD designing world, there are widely two opinions that are being discussed in and around CAD and cloud technology being collaborated. Design engineers in every discipline be it automotive, industrial components designs or heavy machinery have isolated themselves into two segments – those who favor CAD and Cloud merger, and those who don’t. One way or the other; the prospects of Cloud technology being a value addition to CAD are yet to be weighed.

Sunny days are around with Cloud technology; really?

At a glance, with Cloud technology, it seems that there are ‘sunny days’ ahead with major takeaway in form of data centralization with cloud. Cloud technology also enhanced the storage capacity on server and made delegating work is easy. Besides, it offers highly integrated and automated system on a common database of Cloud, which offers an ease in adding and updating design changes. It also offers cost effective solutions for data access on any device equipped with internet and enhance their performance. The biggest advantage of Cloud is easily managing and transferring large files – irrespective of file sizes, with FTP. These qualities have made Cloud technology dependable and reliable for CAD design engineers involved in CAD enabled product designs.

Even though all these benefits are apparent, the collaboration of Cloud and CAD is yet to be justified by experts. The expert software developers and extensive user of CAD knows that implementing Cloud in CAD isn’t as easy as it is said.

Software architecture stands between the collaboration

CAD software like Autodesk’s AutoCAD (or any other CAD program for that matter) is a kind of program that deals with chess-like complexity. CAD is a program that allows user or the modeler to create designs having multiple surfaces and interfaces and facilitates multi-directional views. In fact CAD does not just deliver design; it delivers solid 3D models annotated with Product Manufacturing Information [PMI]. Thus, it is evident that owing to a series of such user friendly commands in CAD, its software coding and architecture grows even more complex.

Usually, CAD programs are created with numerous components such as, modeling kernels, graphics manager, raster image manipulators, etc. The real catch in designing CAD software is connecting all these components and developing one system. This being the essence of a CAD program, once developed; changing it all over again becomes extremely difficult.

Combining this complex CAD software architecture with Cloud technology means; scaling up the size of CAD models and number of concurrent users. Simultaneously it also means to break down the CAD software architecture and allow multiple users to concurrently work on it.. Not only this, it should also enable multiple users to work on interoperable services.

The first paradox encountered in designing such a combined technology, is to know the fact that initial CAD components were never designed to work in such loose yet coupled environment. In addition to difference in software architecture; there are issues of security risks due to phishing and hacking activities, while putting sensitive designs on Cloud.

Offshoring is a scalable solution

While there are several challenges that stand between Cloud and CAD to avail the benefits of collaboration of both these technologies, offshoring comes in as a scalable solution. A CAD design support solutions provider essentially resolves the challenges of efficiently delivering designs on time. With proven past records of accomplishing several design projects, risks of design theft are essentially minimized as compared to working in Cloud.

For CAD, it seems the days aren’t as sunny with Cloud technology; since it is still evolving. In spite of current bleak association of CAD and Cloud, the way Cloud is ramping up in other fields, it may also evolve with CAD in near future. But till that time, outsourced CAD solution providers are the saviors.


About Author:  Gaurang Trivedi is Engineering consultant at TrueCADD. He has applied his engineering expertise across several highly complex and big scale projects, consequently managing to flawlessly deliver as per the client


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