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In a previous article, we discussed the benefits of a comprehensive solution including both Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Product Document Management (PDM) as it relates to establishing a highly effective and efficient system for design and manufacturing. These combined tools provide a well-rounded solution for addressing both the progressive lifecycle of a product as it moves from stage to stage in its development as well as the sharing of product information and intelligence to all departments and lifecycle stakeholders.

With the continued move of processes to the cloud for both enhanced computing power and collaborative purposes, the marrying of the PLM and PDM tools to cloud-based design and manufacturing applications provides a very robust ecosystem for both product design, product innovation, and product lifecycle collaboration.


Cloud-Based Design and Manufacturing (CBDM) 

A simpler definition would suggest that Cloud-based design and manufacturing (CBDM) refers to a collaborative product development model in which process stakeholders are enabled to configure, select, and utilize customized product realization resources and services ranging from CAE software to reconfigurable manufacturing systems.

Some of the important requirements of a Cloud-Based Design and Manufacturing system include (1) it must be cloud computing- based; (2) it must be ubiquitously assessable from mobile devices; and (3) it must be able to manage complex information flow.


Available Cloud-Based Design Software 

While an ideal CBD system does not yet exist, some companies already develop and provide select critical components for CBD systems. For instance, Autodesk offers a cloud-based platform that allows users to create or edit 3D models and generate associated prototypes with remote 3D printers accessed through the Internet. In addition, Autodesk offers a cloud-based mobile application, that allows design engineers to view, edit, and share CAE digital files using mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.

On the manufacturing side of a Cloud-Based Manufacturing (CBM) solution , Autodesk also provides a networked manufacturing model that exploits on-demand access to a shared collection of diversified and distributed manufacturing resources to form temporary, reconfigurable production lines which enhance efficiency, reduce product lifecycle costs, and allow for optimal resource allocation in response to variable-demand customer generated tasking. Although each definition may focus on a unique aspect (CBM), they include common elements such as networked manufacturing, ubiquitous access, multi-tenancy, and virtualization. It should be noted that the “over-arching” concept of Cloud-design can also be addressed in the AEC business sector.


Enhance Collaboration Between Silos with Cloud-Based Design and Manufacturing

Today’s manufacturing world demands a platform that integrates PDM with cloud PLM to enhance collaboration and visibility, streamline design processes, and avoid the risk of costly quality failure.

It takes the collaboration of an entire product lifecycle team of engineers, operations, quality risk managers and design manufacturers to successfully design a product that someday will leave the factory and go off into the world.

The problem is frequently that each member or division works with their own siloed systems that are often disconnected from other systems. Unfortunately, operating in this disparate environment makes aligning stakeholders difficult and creates blind spots that increase the risk of supply chain oversights, employee missteps and product errors. Discovering quality failure late in the design process leads to costly scrap and rework as well as potential brand damage if the defective product slips past watchful eyes and enters the market.


ROI of Cloud-Based Design in Manufacturing

A company’s ability to foster collaboration across the enterprise is key to successful new product introductions. A tightly woven PLM and PDM solution allows for the bi-directional frictionless flow of information among design and manufacturing team members and results in a superior approach to product design management. When this digital information exchange is coupled with all other cloud-based design and manufacturing tools, it creates a powerful collection of collaborative intellectual property.

In a broader sense, CBDM refers to a new product realization model that enables collective open innovation and rapid product development with minimum costs through social networking and negotiation platforms for product design teams. It is a type of parallel and distributed system consisting of a collection of inter-connected physical and virtualized service tools of design and manufacturing resources as well as intelligent search capabilities for design and manufacturing solutions. Practicing engineers and decision makers will learn how to strategically position their product development operations for success in a globalized interrelated world.

Cloud Computing is revolutionizing the way industries will conduct business in the future. Enterprise design and manufacturing teams are increasingly utilizing a combination of locally installed software in conjunction with virtual cloud services provided over the internet. Cloud computing is fast becoming a key component for rapid innovation to manufacturing for the manufacturing business sector; it can change the historical manufacturing business mode of operation, while aiding the enterprise user to align product innovation with business stratagem, while creating an intelligent product lifecycle management system that will nurture and provide for effective collaboration. In cloud manufacturing, dispersed resources are configured into cloud resources and managed in a unified manner. This collective array of cloud-based services and design tools allow design teams to accommodate unique requirements. Product design, manufacturing, testing, management, and most all other Product Lifecycle Management tools are made available through a cloud-centric solution.

Communication of actions taken by all product lifecycle parties helps avoid disconnected and replicated efforts. This connected solution brings all design moving parts, such as regulatory compliance, global monitoring, quality assurance, risk management and part nonconformance, together into a single, integrated view. This visibility facilitates company- wide collaboration to address product improvements. The resulting business benefits include:

  • Improved teamwork visibility, accessibility, and
  • Simplified and more efficient design processes.
  • Better product
  • Increased innovation.
  • Reduced costs and greater margins.

Is your team ready to jump into Cloud-Based Design and Manufacturing (CBDM)? D3 Technologies offers a full range of engineering & design solutions for the manufacturing industry and we are here to guide you through your digital transformation to and adoption of CBDM. To learn more about digital transformations in manufacturing check out our free whitepaper here, or contact us here for more information on cloud-based solutions for your team. -Stan Suttles







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