Design Automation

You want an automated design system, (Design Automation) but don’t really want to do it yourself? We can do it for you!

Would you like an automated design system, but think it will take too long to do it yourself? We can do it faster!

How about a “configure to order” system, also known these days as Configure Price Quote (CPQ), but aren’t sure how to do it? We can show you how!

We develop new DriveWorks design automation systems from scratch.

We help improve/expand existing systems.

design automation

Design automation is when software is used to generate a new variation of a product, based on design input supplied by the designer, engineer, or even the customer. The input is typically entered in a form, which can be displayed within the automation software and/or on a web page.

This ‘Design automation’ allows a design to be generated much more quickly by eliminating slow and time-consuming manual processes. It also reduces, and even potentially eliminates, design errors.

A design automation system can generate CAD data such as 3D models, 2D drawings, and Bills of Materials (BOMS), etc. It can create documents such as letters, quotes, proposals, instruction manuals, etc. It can send emails, and update databases and 3rd-party systems.

A good design automation system uses “master files”, which are like templates. The new variations of the product are generated from these master files.

There are typically four (4) stages in a design automation system:

Stage 1: Capturing the design parameters of the product

Design parameters are the elements of the product that change with each variation, eg, dimensions, quantities, colour, material, part number, is a component required, etc. If a parameter is captured, then it can be controlled by the design automation software for the new variation of the product.

Parameters can also be captured outside the product itself. They can be related to associated files, eg, cells in a spreadsheet or database, place holders in a document or email, etc.

Stage 2: Creating data input forms

The data input forms allow the user to enter the required design values for the new design variation. The “user” could be a designer or engineer, a salesperson, or even the customer themself.

There can be a single form or multiple forms, depending on the amount of data to input and/or how the system has been designed.

There are a variety of data input methods available on each form, each one chosen to make it as easy as possible for the user to drive the system.

Stage 3: Writing rules to link the design parameters with the inputted data

Rules link the captured design parameters and the design values entered on the forms. Rules are written to take the new design values and process them to generate the values required for the new design variation.

What exactly is a “rule”? A design automation system can include constants, variables, tables, etc. There are also entries for all the captured design parameters. All these typically contain a rule. Terms like “constants” and “variables” might make it sound like programming, but a design automation system does not usually require the automation designer to be a programmer. The rules are more akin to Excel formulas, although they can become quite complex if the product design requires it.

Stage 4: Running the system to generate a new variation of the product

When stages 1, 2 and 3 are complete, the system can be run to generate new product variations.

When the system is run, the design values entered on the forms are passed into the rules. The rules are processed, and the generated results are fed into the parameters of the master files to generate the new models, drawings, BOMs, documents, emails, databases, etc.

Please contact us if you would like more information on design automation.

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