Data exchange is not a problem

Only 5% of mechanical engineering CAD/CAM users with responsibility for data exchange view this as a major problem, according to recent research.

Only 5% of mechanical engineering CAD/CAM users with responsibility for data exchange view this as a major problem, according to recent research conducted by The Business Advantage Group. Meanwhile, half see it as no problem at all and the rest see it as only a minor one.

CAD/CAM users were interviewed about how they feel about data exchange as part of a telephone survey of 210 UK CAD/CAM mechanical engineering user sites held in September 2001. The research also found that nearly four out of five CAD/CAM users engage in the exchange of CAD data with other companies in the supply chain. Of these, half said exchange always involves translation and a third said translation was sometimes involved, leaving one in five who exchange data with others who use the same CAD system.

Of those involved in exchanging data, three out of ten said they always took responsibility for data translation themselves, nearly half said that they sometimes took responsibility themselves, and a quarter pass the responsibility of any translation work to the other party or parties with whom the exchange takes place.

Chris Turner, Managing Director of The Business Advantage Group Plc, observes: ‘It’s surprising to find that only 5% of those actually responsible for CAD data translation view the issue as a major problem (representing only 2% of the overall sample).

However, with the practice of CAD data sharing on the increase, attitudes may change as more companies need to exchange more complex data sets throughout the design cycle. Half our sample are using standard formats (e.g. STEP) for translation and these sites will find themselves more exposed to the limitations of this method. Data interoperability is undoubtedly a major challenge for the CAD industry, but for the majority of UK MCAD users, it does not appear to be perceived as such at present.’