When I first started in the Design and Engineering field, CAD was used primarily by large OEMs and some large suppliers. Most companies’ design work was done on drafting boards with vellum and pencils, or Mylar and ink.
As the technology evolved, CAD became more affordable, and increasingly necessary if one wanted to do business with certain OEMs. But while the design work was being done in CAD, the official documents were still paper – actual paper, created in CAD, printed, signed off by hand and distributed through the purchasing departments.
Eventually the paper gave way to PDF files for distribution, at least from the OEM; most companies still used paper (some still do!) internally to manufacture and inspect their products. They still create, release, and distribute 2D drawings and balloon the drawings for inspection purposes.
Technology has reached the point where a 2D drawing is really no longer necessary for the manufacture of a part or assembly, yet many companies still create them, even if the OEM does not provide one. Typically, the 3D model is used for fabrication, unless it is being done by hand. The creation, release, storage, and distribution of 2D drawings is huge. I am sure if companies actually looked at what it is costing them they would be shocked.
Some OEMs and other companies have an electronic way to handle the storage and distribution portion which is huge but the creation unless automated is still quite costly. Then there is the interpretation of the 2D drawings which can lead to quality problems, which we know is very costly.
There is a better way. […]