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Rethinking 3D Design Data Management

Rethinking 3D Design Data Management

Rethinking 3D Design Data Management

By Jon Hirschtick, CEO and Co-Founder, Onshape

Why are some of the best engineers asking where the latest version of their work is? Because usually CAD data is edited by multiple people in multiple places.

When designing products in traditional CAD systems, you need to manage tons of files – especially with large assemblies. You save a version, make some changes and rename the file. Copies are emailed to colleagues and get copied everywhere. There’s never really a way to know if you truly have the latest version.

If you’re using traditional file-based CAD, your world likely looks like the left-hand side of the picture above. At best, this chaos and confusion can lead to lots of wasted time and rework. At worst, the wrong parts get manufactured.

With Onshape’s web-based product development platform, it’s easy to find the latest version because there’s only one place to look for it.

Onshape has no files. Because your CAD data is stored in one central database in the cloud, it updates in real time as your team members edit. With Onshape’s real-time data management, when anyone makes a change to your 3D model, everyone instantly sees it. And a comprehensive edit history records who did what and when, allowing you to instantly revert back to any stage of your design.

Maintaining tight version control over iterations of your designs is tough enough when your engineering and manufacturing teams are working in the same building – a situation that happens much less frequently today. With extended teams more often than not spanning the country or even the globe, the stakes are now much higher.

Let’s take a look at some forward-thinking companies around the world who rely on Onshape’s real-time data management to speed up product development:

  • XING Mobility (Taipei, Taiwan) - CTO Azizi Tucker oversees three teams of engineers designing complex battery assemblies (7,000+ components) for electric vehicles. “With our previous CAD system, we used to spend about 50% of our design time on file management,” he says.  “With Onshape, that’s history.”
  • IonQ (College Park, Maryland) - “Building a quantum computer is a big collaborative process,” says Jonathan Mizrahi, Director of Hardware. “There are electronic components, optical components, vacuum chamber components, pieces we get from vendors and parts we’re making ourselves. Onshape gives us confidence that we always have the newest version and that everything is going to fit together as expected.”
  • phil&teds (Wellington, New Zealand) - Baby gear manufacturer phil&teds sells high-end baby strollers and travel cribs in more than 40 countries. “Quality products come from quality designs and Onshape gives me an updated overarching view of everything we have in development,” says lead designer Phil Brace. “Every morning, I always know the status of our projects and who is working on what.”
  • Focus Engineering (Barkaker, Norway) – Focus Engineering, which has current oil and gas design projects in Norway, Singapore and China, relies on Onshape as one of its primary CAD systems. “We have more than 40 engineers around the world, working on 10 to 20 different projects at any one time,” says CEO Tore Bjørkås. “Onshape gives us the confidence that we always have the correct information – in one central place – and that it is always updated. We never have version control problems.”
  • Taiga Motors (Quebec, Canada) – Taiga Motors is developing the “World’s Quietest Snowmobile,” an eco-friendly electric vehicle with the same performance as a combustion-engine snowmobile. “With Onshape, since there’s only one version of your design kept in one place, everything is easy to find,” says Taiga co-founder Paul Achard. “Unlike with my previous CAD system, if I want to find a part, I can just search it in the search box. It finds it immediately. It doesn't find 7,000 different versions of the part. I know exactly which one is current, which one's up to date.”

Onshape’s real-time data management also eliminates the need for expensive Product Data Management (PDM) system servers, installs, licenses or backups – freeing up a company’s IT department for more critical tasks and letting engineers be engineers instead of software administrators.

At last, the “Where’s the Latest Version?” problem is no longer a problem for product development teams.