With manufacturers across industries racing to increase productivity, every new technology and process could mean another step ahead of the competition. As a result of this push for more productive methods, many companies have made, or are making, the switch from 2D to 3D modeling—for a number of excellent reasons.
Where 2D modeling limits and slows teams’ access to product design information, 3D solid modeling expands that access and understanding. This improved flow of information eliminates structural inefficiencies, human errors, and other factors that weigh down the design cycle. Ultimately, 3D scanning technology increases the efficiency and speed of the design and manufacturing processes, resulting in cost savings, quicker time-to-market, and increased opportunities for product innovation.
Whether you’re a manufacturing engineer still relying on 2D drawings or a new product designer looking for faster, more efficient ways to make their design a reality, it may be time to make the switch to 3D modeling. Let’s dive into the advantages of this method over 2D modeling and find out how highly accurate 3D scanning technology can speed up workflow even further.
6 Advantages of 3D Modeling
1. Streamlined Product Design Cycles
3D CAD software allows designers to explore a greater number of possibilities during the design process and make revisions quickly and efficiently—as opposed to painstakingly updating a 2D design. Think of this as a more direct (and quick) route to the final product.
After all, time really does mean money when it comes to product design and manufacturing. That’s one of the most significant reasons that so many companies are turning their attention to 3D modeling. When compared to 2D modeling, 3D modeling is significantly faster. This timesaver simply can’t be ignored, particularly when it can allow you to put your product into production ahead of your competition.
2. An Accessible Design Process
Changes made in the name of speed don’t have to mean a corresponding drop in quality or a complication of the design and manufacturing processes. Automating your design process with the help of 3D modeling software can actually increase your productivity while also providing increased access to customers and internal personnel that might otherwise not have clear visibility into your work. You’ll be able to quickly create both 2D and 3D renderings of your models, providing the visualization you need when and where your team needs it.
3. Improved Communication Across Internal and External Teams
Ultimately, that increased accessibility leads to better communication throughout your company. Going from a 2D image to a 3D model also allows for quicker and more productive internal design reviews. 3D modeling can also foster more effective communication with suppliers, customers, and internal teams, further cutting down on time-to-market.
Both clients and internal personnel will be able to visualize both components and the final product design more easily with the help of a functioning 3D model. The addition of animation creates an interactive model that provides an excellent idea of how the product will function in real life. 2D modeling can’t provide the same level of easy visualization and quick comprehension.
As an added bonus, 3D solid modeling can be used to create animations and renderings for promotional content. The same goes for if you’re working off of an existing prototype—3D scanning can be used to fabricate quick 3D CAD models for marketing and sales purposes.
4. Catch Design and Quality Issues Before They Cost You
Far too many resources are wasted on catching faulty designs and quality issues after production has already started. Why not start asking and answering complex engineering questions earlier in the process? 3D modeling allows your company to conserve those valuable resources by enabling you to catch errors before a design is finalized. As an example, 3D modeling allows you to catch interference issues in an assembly at a point when changes to the design are less costly.
Virtual 3D prototypes also reduce the need for, and cost of, creating physical prototypes. Validating your designs digitally will reduce costs stemming from both design and quality problems while maintaining the integrity of your design process.
5. Physical Prototyping Made Simple
If you have a continued need for physical prototypes, we suggest yet another technology that is rapidly growing in popularity: 3D printing. 3D CAD models can easily be converted to STL files for 3D printing prototypes. This form of rapid prototyping allows multiple teams to participate in the process, while leaving designers and engineers able to easily incorporate and test design changes at any stage of the process. With the combined might of 3D modeling and 3D printing, you’ll be able to test and validate your prototypes before beginning production.
6. More Effective Data Management
Efficient data management is always a concern for manufacturers and designers, particularly when working with numerous revisions and evolutions of products. It’s quite possible that some designers and engineers who prefer 2D modeling are simply more comfortable manually organizing their drafts. But making the switch from 2D to 3D modeling can drastically increase efficiency.
3D modeling allows you to easily keep track of your design data. Instead of having to update a Bill of Materials (BOM) with every single design change, for example, 3D modeling software can automatically update the BOM as components are added or removed from an assembly. This helps to consolidate drafting practices and keep your entire team on the same page. And, as we’ve mentioned, 3D solid modeling simplifies data exchange with other departments, keeping the product design cycle straightforward and avoiding any potential redundancies or repeated work.
Step Into the Future With 3D Modeling and Laser Scanning
There’s no better time to make the move from 2D to 3D modeling than today. And if you’re looking to speed up the design and manufacturing process even further, you may want to consider upgrading your current setup and introducing 3D scanning into your workflow.
Laser Design, a CyberOptics Corporation brand, has been sharing this powerful technology with the world for over 30 years. Our 3D scanning services team can capture 3D measurement data for objects large and small, and even vehicles and buildings, and then create the highly accurate 3D CAD models in the native file formats you require. We also offer point cloud modeling-only services to help you take your own 3D scan data to CAD format. Reach out today for more information—we look forward to working with you!