Our engineers are working for hours behind the computer, drafting and designing all kinds of bulk handling systems. But what are they doing? And what kind of software are they using?
Most of our engineers have the philosophy, to design everything one time. Therefore we shifted from 2D drafting to 3D modelling, but still bulk handling systems designs on board of Drilling rigs, Offshore Support Vessels and Self-Discharging Cement Carriers has not yet completely materialized, which prompted us to write about this topic. In general CAD software utilization, designers are still using 2D drafting more than 50% of the time. That’s not surprising. While 3D offers many advantages, 2D drafting is still easier to use and effective in terms of getting the job out the door quickly and inexpensively.
For many companies, but also for Lion, restrained by project budgets for engineering and design, 2D offers a reasonable solution. After all, most of the ships and rigs that are drafted over 25 years, were designed using pencil and paper in 2D.
Some drafting can only be performed with 2D software, for example, general arrangement drawings or flow diagrams.
Eventually most drafting and design work will naturally move from 2D to 3D. It is only a matter of time when the change of guard from designers who grew up with 2D shifts to the new generation so adept with 3D. Not only are the new engineers trained on 3D CAD at school as curriculums advance, they use it in their daily life playing 3D video games.
Here are some pros and cons of 3d modelling.
Pros 3d modelling.
- When a design is finalized, the model can easily be used for prototyping without making the physical product first.
- It is possible to add data to the model. For example, material specification that can calculate the mass of the product can be add. There are even software programs that can calculate complicated “the finite element method” calculations.
- It is easy to re-use the design of a specific section, for future designs.
- Because the 3d model is a digital version of the product, it provides the engineer with a clear picture of the real time product. Because of this misinterpretations are reduces, which are cost saving during installation or production of the designed product.
- The modelling software allows the engineer to make an parametric model, this means that the model can be changes by changing some parameters, for example the thickness of an plate can be changed, or the amount of holes in a strip.
Cons 3d modelling.
- A lot of products are an assembly of multiple parts mounted to each other. The 3d modelling software are using a file for each part, this makes the design process more difficult and time consuming. Also revision time can take more time than the 2d drawing revision process, especially when something is going wrong with communication of the connected parts .
- Before showing the first look of a design there is a lot of modelling needed. In contrast of 2d modelling, where a few lines already show the engineer the shape of the parts.
3D design is the future. But we can all imagine that 2D drafting will stick around for a while longer. What do you think?