For more than a decade, engineers have relied on 3D CAD to gain efficiencies and boost overall designs. However, many settle for one version of their software, and stay there—for years. By settling for the same old versions of software, you may be holding out on important opportunities for efficiency and improvement. It’s time to re-evaluate your CAD system. The latest CAD platforms are packed with enough promise and benefit to entice even the most stubborn holdouts. If you haven't upgraded your software yet, here are some examples of what you're missing out on:

Instant Design Feedback

In modeling environments, recent breakthroughs have provided the capabilities to receive nearly instant design feedback. Using a tool like Creo Simulation Live, design engineers view thermal, structural, and modal analyses of their designs. This nearly eliminates all of the back and forth cycles between designers and analysts. Throughout the development process, engineers can now use simulation geared to them to guide design decisions.

Augmented Reality

Most current CAD versions incorporate cutting-edge functionalities that exceed CAD’s traditional promises of accelerating design workflows and increasing accuracy. For example, take augmented reality (AR). AR blends the physical and digital worlds together in order for engineers to experience the evolution of their product design. The best part is, their designs are at true scale and depicted in a real-world environment. With functionality like Creo AR Design Share, engineers can gain real-world perspective that aids in effective decision making. It also provides a realistic forum for design reviews with the company, engineering partners, and customers.

Freeform Modeling and Topology Optimization

The rigid design constraints that have characterized traditional parametric CAD programs are rapidly disintegrating. CAD programs now deliver freeform modeling capabilities that provide engineers with the design freedom that they need. Engineers are no longer faced with design constraints and can now create new geometries with simple push/pull interactions. 3D CAD tools, like Creo, incorporate new topology optimization functionality. The software automatically detects and optimizes the best design option based on a defined set of objectives and constraints.

Design for Additive Manufacturing

Topology optimization and generative design capabilities complement design for additive manufacturing practices. Some CAD systems are also establishing the ability to create lightweight lattice structures along with features for designing, optimizing, and checking print capabilities. 3D support structures can be modified by engineers directly in the CAD platform, which allows for easier creation of designs that are optimized for 3D printing right from the onset.

Support for the Internet of Things

To take the guessing game out of product design, modules like Creo Product Insight integrate with industrial IoT platforms like ThingWorx. For example: through IoT data streams, engineers can get insight on performance or product behavior. This insight can then be used to proactively guide product design, improve quality, and allow for data-driven innovation. By accessing IoT data, you can also optimize sensor placement on future smart-connected products to aid in subsequent data capture that will support downstream processes.

Model-Based Engineering

It is crucial to fully understand your system's behavior. However, as increasingly complex products contain a mixture of mechanical, electrical, and software components, it becomes much more difficult to understand. CAD tools that incorporate Model-Based Engineering environments allow engineers to model and simulate an entire system operating in its native setting in a digital space. This approach provides a much richer understanding of behavior; which further aids in facilitating a more effective design, while also eliminating reliance on costly physical prototypes.

A Paradigm Shift in Digital Design

Today’s 3D CAD releases deliver an incredibly long list of beneficial enhancements in order to make your system as effective and useful as possible. Most usher in a paradigm shift to digital design processes that can be game changers for engineering productivity and product development innovation. So, what’s holding you back from adopting the latest version of your CAD software?