Britain is at the forefront of computer-aided design usage but the industry is not using it to its full advantage. This is the message emerging from Making More of computer-aided design, a report published by the Engineering Industry Training Board and researched by the Science Policy Research Unit, Sussex University. Despite this readiness to accept […]
Britain is at the forefront of computer-aided design usage but the industry is not using it to its full advantage. This is the message emerging from Making More of computer-aided design, a report published by the Engineering Industry Training Board and researched by the Science Policy Research Unit, Sussex University. Despite this readiness to accept the use of computer-aided design, industry has shown no significant productivity gains by embracing the technology. The main problem seems to be that there is little understanding by management, especially senior managers, that computer-aided Design can be applied to a strategic business system. Many companies originally invested in systems for design purposes only, without considering the efficiencies that can be obtained by the integration of design with manufacturing. To make more productive use of the technology in business, strategic long-term plans must be made to take into consideration the business as a whole and implementation of computer-aided design not only by designers or engineers but by high quality managers to overcome many interdepartmental barriers. Many managers are out of touch with technical developments and seem reluctant to undergo training. Another conclusion reached is that the majority of suppliers of the software imply that all one has to do is buy it and turn it on, this is not the case: end users often find that the training given is not adequate to ensure effective use of the technology for their individual needs. The report follows the evolution of computer aided design from the mid-1970s to the present, and follows the progress of various companies using computer aided design. It states that even in 1988 the use of three-dimensional design systems was very small, although interest was gradually growing – and use of product data generated on computer-aided design systems to control manufacturing processes, process planning and control as well as communicating the data on-line is beginning to increase. The report includes a guide for improving the use of computer-aided design and states that managers must recognise the need obtain a wider understanding of technology to achieve its full potential. The report is available from the Engineering Industry Training Board in Stockport, Data Manchester at UKP70 and there is a UKP10 condensed version for the busy manager.