4 reasons why we use Computer Aided Design for plastic manufacturing

January 28, 2022

plastic-manufacturing

Whatever your level of personal technical expertise, you’ve probably seen the term CAD used before. It stands for Computer Aided Design, which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s capable of designing 2D drawings and 3D models with precise measurements. In many cases, it replaces traditional time-intensive techniques of producing these drawings by hand, or making individual prototypes.

So, it’s probably no wonder that Computer Aided Design is so widely used today across such a huge range of industries, encompassing engineering, logistics, industrial design, architecture, and of course product design – especially in the plastic manufacturing industry. So, as experts in plastic manufacturing ourselves, allow us to explain a little bit about why we find CAD so helpful – and why our customers do too!

Maximum accuracy and productivity

Now, the first thing we should say is that Computer Aided Design hasn’t completely supplanted the time-honoured engineer’s drawings, and there are indeed still plenty of scenarios where the latter will be preferable. However, sketching out designs by hand can be time intensive, requiring exceptional focus, and simple slips and mistakes can be annoyingly difficult to rectify.

CAD, on the other hand, allows lines to be drawn with utmost precision, and easily erased in the event of any miscalculation. What’s more, a variety of tools can seriously cut the amount of time that drawing up these plans takes – including mirror, rotation and snapping tools, just to name a few. It’s also much easier to implement complex geometry to the product in question.

This boost in efficiency means that it becomes easier for us to create, test and present a range of ideas for your plastic product, so that we can work closely with you to develop your concept further as necessary, moving a step closer to bringing it into reality.

plastic-manufacturing

Clearer design vision and direction

2D sketches have their strengths, but the 3D designs produced by CAD drawings offer their own possibilities. To start with, they allow you to view your product from all angles, giving you (and us) an even more tangible and accurate idea of what the finished article will look like. We can also render the design with different colours and materials, providing you with a greater range of choices for the design, right at your fingertips.

All this allows you to easily visualise your product without having to invest the time, money, manpower and material cost that might otherwise be involved in producing a physical prototype for you to inspect.

Re-use and easily adjust designs

Speaking of easy visualisation, a related advantage is that it makes it much easier to spot potential shortcomings or issues with the product, so that we can address and rectify them at an early stage. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something that’s gone wrong with the design per se – you may have just decided on a slight change in direction, or it may have become clear that the product’s current design won’t be able to withstand certain stresses or environmental pressures that it may be subjected to in the real world. (And of course, it may occasionally save you the headache and resources involved in finding this out once your prototype has already been produced…!)

Documenting a design

It’s natural for most products to go through a number of iterations before they reach their finalised design. Computer Aided Design once again makes that process of iterating a lot easier, because it automatically provides a digital record of each version. This way, not only can you revert the design back to an earlier iteration if you’re not happy with the direction the project is going in, but you can also use it as a basis for future designs – for example if you’re planning on producing a whole range of products.

These are just a few of the most universal advantages of Computer Aided Design; who knows, you might be able to enjoy even more specific benefits for your business! And if you’ve got any further questions about rotational moulding, or you need specific advice about your situation, we’re happy to help. Here at Excelsior, we have over 100 years of experience behind us, so you can trust our experts to know what they’re talking about when it comes to plastic manufacturing. Just take a look at some of our successful case studies for previous clients, or give us a call on 0161 765 2010 to see what we can do for you!