Why are we still using AutoCAD in the manufacturing industry today?

AutoCAD was first introduced in 1982, making it the first Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software available on personal computers. Back then, the introduction of the innovative software was a major step forward compared to hand drawings and blueprints. Over the years, Autodesk AutoCAD quickly became the standard, keeping a staggering 35% market share of the CAD industry today.

While AutoCAD and technical drawings are still around, here are three reasons why you should consider adding new tools to your workflow.

1) Technical 2D drawings are not for everyone

Have you ever shown a technical drawing to non-experts? Chances are, they didn’t fully understand it. In fact, understanding a complex 2D drawing requires effort, even for experts. In many cases, technical drawings simply aren’t the appropriate medium for working efficiently. They lack the accessibility and ease of use that would make them universal, and often limit the highly valuable input from all project stakeholders, regardless of technical CAD expertise.

2) Reality compared to CAD

Have you ever stood in a room full of piping and wondered how one could describe it on a technical drawing? Since the focus of technical drawings in factories is around the space used on the floor itself, they often leave behind lots of details about the environment. When faced with rooms full of piping, engineers turn to another form of technical drawing, called P&ID (piping and instrumentation diagram), in order to describe the various components and logic behind them. In all cases, nothing comes even close to an actual representation of the physical space.

3) Communication and Collaboration

In the manufacturing industry, projects often involve multiple collaborators. In most cases, technical drawings are still used as the reference to share the project design among collaborators. Since technical drawings do not efficiently provide contextual information about the environment and the proposed project, the lack of appropriate tool often leads to challenges in communication and collaboration. Aligning everyone’s vision of the same end-result could often help speed up projects, limit errors and omissions, providing an overall improvement in collaboration among stakeholders.

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