Diagrams. Charts, graphs, and maps. Nearly everyone on a product team makes them yet few of them are great. How do you make them better? As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of fundamentals and this video by Virtual Beauty brilliantly communicates the fundamentals of diagrams:
For a while now Autodesk has been talking about digital prototyping as a means to save on costs of real, physical prototypes. True that their portfolio is quite comprehensive but there is nothing like a real, physical model for testing and evaluation. More often than not I have been able to build, test, and tweak a prototype more quickly than setting up a simulation and waiting for it to run. That said, simulations have their place in the design process and Autodesk worked out an interesting integration between 2 seemingly disparate products.
Moldflow is a great tool for evaluating plastic parts and the associated tooling and processing during the execution stage of the design cycle. Showcase is a rendering/visualization tool used primarily by upstream industrial designers. Autodesk has put together a great workflow allowing users to extract geometry from the Moldflow package and visualize it within the Showcase environment. It’s not quite as good as cutting steel and shooting parts, but definitely more cost effective.
PLM applications are great for collecting product design data but more often than not, getting useful information out is a painful, non-intuitive process. When I see PLM data easily displayed in the 3D modeling environment I get excited.