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Whether it is necessary САПР to the head of the design organisation?
Questions of automation of book keeping, the reporting, shots and document circulation as a whole are already clear today to top-managers of the enterprises. However new, modern CAD in many cases it is necessary to prove necessity of acquisition.                   

The production efficiency in Russia often pays off under the simplified schemes which are not including research and developmental works. Happens and so that the specified works are considered at efficiency calculation but only as it is pure costly articles, in other words – losses. Such approach in a root is incorrect: after all design and design activity is capable to deduce manufacture on a new level of development, to allow to adjust mass release of new competitive production. However frequently developmental works are still perceived as purely costly article of the budget of the enterprise.

Possession cost considers all expenses connected with possession and use of the goods during its life cycle, it is possible to present it as the sum of expenses for purchase, introduction, service, training etc. Among articles of expenses is obligatory without which you cannot use the bought product, and not obligatory, but desirable for its effective application.

The dirty trick at drawing up of budget CAD is covered that all consider acquisition cost, but not all – cost of possession with a product. To avoid this error, let's consider the typical expenses accompanying a choice, acquisition and product use. We will notice that under the decision of the manufacturer of software product any of the specified payments can be declared obligatory.

Expenses on a software product choice

For acquaintance to products your experts will visit presentations, seminars, test drives, minicourses on training etc. It will demand expenses on trips. To make the decision on suitability of a product for work at the enterprise it is possible by results of pilot projects, test operation or at software product rent. For settlement products it is possible to order to the company-seller trial calculation. If these works are carried out at additional expense, put them in the budget.

Expenses on software product acquisition

Besides cost of the product in certain cases from you will demand to pay protection hardware locks, “a kernel” systems, DBMS, necessary for its work. Specify, what version of an operating system is necessary for work of a new product. Whether it is based on other product CAD, which version uses? Probably, you need to get a base product or it update.

For some products there is a concept “licence period of validity”. Specify, what exactly you get – “termless” software product or the licence with the limited period of validity. If it is necessary, put in the budget of a following period prolongation of term of the licence.

When you purchase certain products is mandatory subscription fee. And not always the delivery complete set includes the teaching materials necessary for development of a product.

Expenses on hardware maintenance

At software purchase specify, the computer of what capacity is necessary for its work. Probably, it is necessary to include updating of computer park or modernisation of a local network of design departments in the budget. The maximum requirements to technics are shown at visualisation, work with the big assemblages, computer modelling, difficult calculations, and, probably, some servers united in a file under uniform management are required to you cluster, that is. For the organisation of electronic archive are required a server and data storage systems.

Expenses on a personnel training for a new profession

Is effective work with software product the qualified user can only. Training is an indispensable condition for product introduction in work. We advise to learn not only those who will use a product, but also the spare expert on a case of leaving operating, and also to have a reserve in the budget for training new “spare” for maintenance of continuity of works.

As we already wrote in the previous article if training is spent at the enterprise, it is necessary to consider expenses for arrival of the teacher and the organisation of an educational class. In case of training in other city consider expenses for journey and residing of pupils. Sometimes happens more favourably to employ the new expert qualified in the field of CAD, than to train available, even taking into account expenses for search of the candidate.

Expenses on software introduction

Besides training for the prompt introduction of a product in work you can take advantage of additional services of the companies-suppliers. It can be the same pilot projects, installation and adjustment program maintenance, replenishment of databases, creation of templates of typical documents for the enterprise. The most serious expenses are demanded by software product adaptation, that is a writing of additional functions under enterprise problems. But sometimes it is unique way of the operative decision of a question of automation and work acceleration. To you integration with others CAD and software CAM, PDM, ERP also can be demanded. Besides direct expenses for works on introduction, journey and residing of corresponding experts are necessarily paid.

Expenses on technical support

More and more services in user support of the companies-sellers become paid that allows them to expand staff of the qualified experts. Payment of technical support can be a necessary condition for purchase of a product or for prolongation of period of validity of the licence, be attentive! Specify support cost in guarantee and post-warranty the period, on what the guarantee who pays departure of experts on the enterprise in case of need extends, consider expenses on operative communication. Some companies do not give technical support to the buyers who were not trained. We consider what to pay training more favourably, than to solve elementary questions in a remote mode and to incur losses from the compelled idle times.

Updating of products

Budget of CAD should consider without fail an exchange of already available products for new versions. To save in this case the made updatings and a subscription as some manufacturers enter the penalty for the subscription not paid in time allow in time, close support and an exchange of old versions after certain time. Besides expenses for updating of products consider also expenses for training of experts to new functions.

If sum all expenses necessary for successful introduction of software product it will appear that acquisition cost makes only small part of cost of possession. Pay attention to this moment at a choice of what product to include in the program of automation of design works of the enterprise, – not always the inexpensive product appears more economic in respect of possession cost.

The best method of belief of a management – to present the well-founded offers supported with real examples of introductions and economic calculations, from outside the bottom and average administrative link. However it is far not each competent technologist or the designer can is simultaneously free operate with economic categories. For this reason in many disputes on advantage and harm of CAD the top over technical experts is gained by enterprise financial services, able to speak in language “an expense-benefit”.

And after all already there are domestic CAD-products, quite competitive in comparison with foreign software. According to many experts, at a choice between foreign or Russian CAD with other things being equal today should give preference the Russian workings out as in this case possibilities of training essentially are wider, than introduction, support, updating and fast correction of the noticed lacks.

Today in the Russian market CAD variety of the domestic and foreign companies offering as independent products, intended for automation of separate design and design problems, and the full-function integrated solutions, capable to capture all cycle of designing and manufacture preparation actively works. Offered decisions can be divided into three big classes conditionally.

Lungs CAD. Variety of the products intended for use in an independent mode on the local computer or as a part of a corporate network concerns them.

CAD of average level. They allow to carry out not only two-dimensional, but also 3D-designing of difficult objects, using parametrization, with simultaneous construction of mathematical model of object and the analysis of its functioning in real physical conditions.

Heavy CAD. A class so-called CAD the full cycle, all business processes intended for an all-around automation – from design idea before finished article release.

The choice of this or that CAD is in each specific case defined by requirements of the enterprise, features of preparation and output, experience and qualification of employees and other factors. This choice far not so is obvious, as can seem at first sight.

As practice shows, acquisition of powerful expensive systems frequently does not allow to solve all problems of design and technological services, their introduction causes great difficulties, efficiency of investments in CAD remains negative. (As an example it is possible to result one of large Russian factories where tens licences of expensive system CADDS 5 for the sum some millions dollars in the mid-nineties have been bought, and as of the end of 1999 some workplaces were really used all.)

Today the consumer the complex decision of available problems, including a choice of the optimum specification of hardware-software means, their coordination and integration with each other, selection and equipment testing, its introduction, personnel training, start of a hardware-software complex and its subsequent technical support interests. Thereupon before the industrial enterprise sharply enough there is a question of a choice not only concrete CAD (or several base systems) as automation tool, but also company-supplier of the decisions, capable to incur function of the system integrator and to offer balanced on cost and functionality the hardware-software decision.

As a result cooperation of the enterprise with the supplier of decisions of automation begins long before system purchase as that.

So, why heads of the design organisations buy CAD? First, it is beautifully fashionable). Secondly, by means of these technologies it is possible to improve... To deepen... To raise... In other words, CAD together with the computer – usual means of production of the designer.

Without pressing in long historical digression, we will tell some words about appointment of work of the modern designer. The designer makes the goods. The goods specific, accepting the material form of the executed design documentation. More recently it was carried out without participation CAD, now – only with application CAD. The documentation – accurately structured information-instruction to creation of any object, arisen as a phenomenon of language culture of the person. She abstracts from the direct description of the real world, informs on accepted conditional (mysterious for the layman) language the information on object of the description. The documentation contains all creative intellectual process of creation in the curtailed kind. While as material activity of the person exists the project – there will be also a specific language of engineering specifications. It is indisputable.

Fast development CAD leads to some paradoxes. For example, there are technologies “direct manufacturing” which as it is widely advertised, allow “to pass a stage of execution of the documentation”. Actually it is a question only of a specific conclusion of the documentation: the 3D-press on the special printer, commands to processors of a milling head of the co-ordinate machine tool etc. are easy for noticing that on a present level of development of technologies this very specific manufacturing. Certainly, the documentation is necessarily executed here again, is simple it is not deduced in the form of the drawing. A turbine shovel really to make so but while it is impossible to apply this technology to building erection of buildings, problems of a vertical lay-out of a relief is easier. In general, 90% of the design problems realised in CAD, still demand “documentation executions” in its special abstract language: the drawing, the table, the text description.

So, now in most cases CAD is got not for direct creation of object of designing, and for preparation of a certain intermediate description-instruction of object – engineering specifications. The documentation form – an album of drawings or a set of files – any more has no basic value.

The majority of large manufacturers and sellers of CAD conducts active advertising campaigns. What do they advertise and how?

First of all the emphasis becomes on enough expensive goods – 3D-CAD. It is natural: continuing analogy to sales of cars, it is more favourable to sell ten Porsche Cayenne, than one thousand Hyundai Getz. But after all reasonable buyers at first look more often in a purse, and then start to thumb through fair brochures.

Buyers of CAD – not an exception. Whether will be expensive CAD favourable purchase, if the purpose of this purchase – performance of the complete set of drawings? Buyers speak: “Result, please, accurate arguments in favour of this or that decision”. And here begins “shamanism”. Seller-dealer of CAD, on which in turn “presses” the manufacturer, starts to say vague words quite seriously: “Well, first, 3D-model it is beautiful. Secondly, only by means of 3D-modelling it is possible to improve... To deepen... To raise...”. Sellers assert that:
- The drawing “has died” technologies of 3D-modelling have successfully superseded it as the form of evident representation of the project;
- 3D-modelling is developed so well that in other good countries other technologies – a sign of technical backwardness;
- The drawing has ceased to carry out for a long time the main function – instructions on creation of material object as new technical processes and new design demand only 3D-modelling;
- Drawing language is too conditional and limited, it undemocratic as it is clear only to professionals, and the designing sphere has extended so that now all should understand each other from a half-word.

Certainly, it not so. In the form of the electronic document the drawing only was improved. Developing language of the electronic drawing has incorporated set of adjacent special languages: scripting descriptions, the attributive data. On the other hand, the electronic drawing is an integral part of systems of 3D-modelling where it carries out traditional function: is the detailed concentrated semantic description of parametres of 3D-object, design language of expression of decisions of various experts. By the way, the statement that “... The drawing is bad, as is clear only to professionals” is an argument on the contrary. After all the drawing drawing exists not for general public and does not assume democracy, drawings and schemes “read” only technically formed people. The abstraction offered by the drawing, specially promotes concentration of sense of the description. The concentrated sense – the purpose of any graphic document.

So there is in 3D-technologies some slyness. Otherwise – what for to do 3D-model? Well and time has made, everything means, work is finished. The customer, pay money. But is not present, it appears it is necessary to make still drawings and them to print, and then to make inevitable changes. It means one – one of ordinary design stages excessively “it is inflated” also monopolises all design work. Ask itself a rhetorical question: the dog twirls by a tail or a tail a dog?

In practice CAD – not luxury goods, and the usual worker “a shovel” which dig “from a fence till a dinner”. And here there are questions on the question price. Designers willingly master and use technologies of 2D-designing as in the majority of the countries pay all the same for drawings, instead of for process of creation of 3D-models. It was found out that 3D-modelling is beautifully shown at exhibitions and presentations, but perfect development of this technology demands long training and the highest degree of specialisation. The price of the expert really owning 3D-modelling, is extremely high, and, as a rule, he any more does not wish to work as the designer of drawings.

It is necessary to note also variety of problems which the designers using 3D-technologies inevitably face:
1. Redundancy of efforts for the description of the simple design decision. Approximately for 80% of any design problems creation of the full detailed 3D-model – inefficient process. The main competitive advantage of engineering firm is lost: speed of release of the project on rather simple objects or products of simple geometrical forms.
2. Constantly accruing complexity in management of modern 3D-models. It is easy to operate model enough elements simple or consisting of limited number, it is simple to make changes to such model. In process of model complication (increase in quantity of elements, creation of plural dependences between model elements, growth of number of parametres at objects, complication of geometry of objects) management of behaviour of model becomes an independent design problem. The customer of the project will not pay the decision of this problem.
3. Modification and a document urgency. Often enough the designer makes changes to the documentation at the most final stage of works – stages of the press and release of complete sets of drawings. In this case parallel change of ready 3D-model with updating of projections becomes already frequent senseless process.
4. Absence of a full guarantee from design errors. Really, 3D-model use allows to reduce design errors at the expense of convenience and presentation of perception, the visual control on three co-ordinates. But exclude errors of designing 3D-model cannot. The it is more difficult, the it is more probability of geometrical errors because of the person: he gets tired at work with difficult model simply faster. And additional means of automation of the control of collisions in 3D-model seriously complicate work on it.
5. There is an eternal race of prosecution between hardware possibilities and constantly becoming complicated ways of representation of 3D-models. Under defined CAD the new computer with is bought “a stock” capacities, but possibility of annual new release CAD will inevitably demand even more powerful computer.
6. The projections prepared on 3D-model, rather often do not meet formal requirements of rules of registration of the documentation on the set standard. It is necessary to perform huge volume of work as means of usual plotting: to enter the symbols put under standards, to change fragments of projections to the accepted conditional images and symbols, to correct for a quality printing graphic properties of objects, to delete or replace some lines of projections etc.

Once again we will reflect, whether whether for all problems and to all design organisations 3D-modelling really sharply is necessary?

In general, anybody also does not doubt – yes, 3D-modelling in CAD is necessary. But under certain conditions and accurately tasks in view. Only then it will be really effective. While it is a little such conditions and problems, it is necessary to be able to allocate them from current design process. The majority of designers it understand and consequently sceptically enough react to loud advertising campaigns. The modern approach to creation CAD – infinite complication doubtful, but effective features. It attracts only one obvious consequence: the user ignores the majority of possibilities of software product. Why? The common sense prompts: the rational quantity of ways of execution of the project is limited; if you once have seized them, there is no need to distract on experiments, for them will not pay. The present designer prefers to solve design problems, and research of new possibilities of a software it is faster than a hobby.

Certainly, the deep analysis of design activity at statement of problems for creation CAD is very combined, about it in short article will not tell. But after all it is a question of absolutely obvious things, here again for understanding of a problem the scientific degree is not required. All will agree: process should not substitute result.

But so it is frequent, unfortunately, 3D-modelling tools appear superfluous features at performance of the majority of projects. After all at line release of complete sets of drawings of requirement for them is not present. Expensive CAD it is used on 10% of its possibilities.

What is alternative to expensive software products ? How it is rational to spend money?

Market CAD has fallen asleep in a condition of unstable balance for the technological reasons. Many software products in different branches of designing have come nearer to line of physical and ergonomic possibilities of the person-operator: quantity of clicks in a second the right/left button of the mouse at creation or editing of objects, speed of tracing of changes in numerous dialogue windows, quantity of simultaneously open and carried out projects. All it already rests against natural biological limits of possibilities of the person: visual memory, speed of reaction, an attention threshold. Development of 3D-technologies in CAD reacts to it – ways of a visual conclusion of the information are ground, a new input equipment is created, the mathematics of 3D-objects is improved. But each step of such development becomes more and more expensive.

It is impossible to tell that “big” manufacturers CAD do not improve technology of work with a 2D-drawing. Certainly, improve, but only together with 3D-technologies. I will repeat: it is more favourable to them to sell the goods more expensively. And eventually developers have got to a paradoxical trap. Tools of 2D-plotting are based on ergonomics of work of the person, here possibilities of fast and effective progress are limited. Much more entertainment is work with 3D-objects: new features for these objects allows to prove expenses for constant release of new versions of software products, competitive race is untwisted. Result is stably high price full 3D-CAD.

Here to that, possibly, the end user – the design organisation is very glad. The client pays for all! References to scarcity of a purse of the consumer are not accepted. It is necessary to pay for the goods! Do not wish to pay – we will oblige you to pay legislatively, do not want under the law – we will force police methods. Argument “ferro-concrete”: time 10% features our goods are necessary to you, pay for 90% of the unnecessary. Where it – a freedom in choosing of the goods the buyer?

The unstable situation caused by ignoring of inquiries of the majority of users, long cannot proceed. Most likely, the market will react occurrence of variety of new products CAD with a new parity “the price/quality”. It means that there is a chance to find the good luck at rather small the companies. Actually, process has already begun: in our market for a long time there are software products both domestic, and foreign manufacturers. The technological reserve on creation inexpensive, but functionally developed products is available for them. Now this part of the market is not so interesting to large manufacturers. Specialised projects on creation of the 2D-documentation them gradually “move” in a far corner: cost of working out of such products is approximately equal to 3D-product working out, and the final profit in two-five times is less – not so it is favourable, lowly. Actually it is good, because for designers the field of a choice of the decision extends.

Doubts of the consumer are caused usually by quality of the products offered by the new companies, – after all the traditional large manufacturer guarantees stability and quality of the graphic platform (AutoCAD, ArchiCAD, SolidWorks, AllPlan, Unigraphics). Yes, it was valid earlier so – small software business did not risk to create own graphic platform and did only appendices to existing. But all vary, have appeared new technologies, the technique of creation of programs was improved – and already absolutely it is impossible to tell that again created product will be worse, than constantly developing traditional. Why so it has turned out? Very simply – it is possible to monopolise a trade mark, a format of the data, but not ideas and technologies of working out.

New products will be cheaper and more convenient are already abundantly clear. Here only manufacturers new CAD need to get rid of naive aspiration to repeat a way already passed by the big companies: at first to spend a lot of time and forces for creation of a universal graphic platform and only then to start creation of customised applications. Time any more that, the client-designer expects a ready product, at once functionally suitable for its branch.

In case of occurrence of successful and popular products there will be all preconditions to market repartition. It is possible even to assume that the basic struggle will be developed in a price segment from $500 to $2000 for one licence. It is that price which the majority of designers are ready to pay for simple, but functional software product. All of us are expected soon by eventful times.

Thus, in practice are necessary new CAD, extremely focused on real problems of designing.

1. Grachevsky A. Uppercut//CADmaster, #1 (41), 2008
2. Konvisar E. The practice of budgeting of CAD//CAD and a drawing, #3, 2006 []
3. Bahin E. Do I need a CAD plant manager?//Intelligent enterprise, #11 (13), 2000 []

The author: Челябэнергопроект
Date: 07/22/2009

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