See how NX Sheetmetal design can be used to improve productivity and enhance the sheetmetal design process
It has been the experience of many CAD experts, to sit and operate a CAD system like NX, while a person with little or no CAD experience sits beside them and tries to navigate the system vicariously through the expert in order to view and interrogate assemblies, parts, and drawings. I liken this approach to someone sitting in the back seat of your car while they tell you how to navigate the streets to get them to where they need to go when they could just as easily operate the car themselves.
Ok, I get it, CAD software can be difficult to learn and operate, and so the mindset is that it’s easier to tag an expert to do the driving… but does it make sense to tie up two resources for the purpose of viewing CAD data? Wouldn’t it be more proficient, and cost effective, to utilize a user friendly viewer to review and interrogate your NX CAD data… one that can be accessed and used by all… even by those with little or no CAD experience? The obvious answer is yes, so for this reason, many companies have employed the use of a lightweight viewer that relies on tessellated data. Obviously, this is not the most proficient or cost-effective solution for viewing NX data since these viewers require data translation which means they use a separate file format, and the viewer is a separate application, both of which need to be managed and maintained by your companies IT department… all of which add time and money to your product development projects.
NX Viewer is a subset of NX with a simplified layout containing a reduced set of menu items and icons, making NX Viewer easy to learn and operate, and since it is so easy to learn, it can help free up resources that would normally be deployed as CAD “drivers.” Everyone in your company can benefit from using NX Viewer, but the ones that can benefit the most are your casual users… your Engineering Managers, Shop Floor personal, Estimators, Engineers, and anyone who needs read access to native NX data but do not need write access to the data. You’ve heard the old adage, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” Teaching the casual user to “fish” for what they need to view, and “drive” on their own to where they need to go has never been easier.
NX Viewer is a cost effective, user friendly tool that enables users to open, view (rotate, pan, zoom, fit) and interrogate (accurately measure and cut sections) NX CAD models and drawings in the native NX format, and because it is a view only tool (no write access) this ensures data integrity since the data cannot be overwritten.
Why use NX Viewer… why not just use NX? NX Viewer is far less expensive than a seat of NX and it’s a perfect way to read, browse, and interrogate NX assemblies, parts, and drawings by everyone, but especially by people with little or no CAD experience. Making design information accessible to all departments within your company, and not just engineering, can have a positive effect on productivity by improving communication and understanding between groups.
- Features include:
- Browse the assembly and model history trees
- Rotate, pan, zoom, and fit the geometry
- Hide and Unhide objects
- Dynamic sectioning
- Accurate measurement of model B-Rep geometry
- NX Viewer is NX, so you are measuring real math data and not tessellated data.
- Edit object display
- Shaded or Wireframe
- View drawing sheets
- Key benefits:
- Cost-effective and inexpensive alternative to purchasing a third party viewer or a full seat of NX.
- Intuitive and easy to learn even by casual/inexperienced CAD users
- Share information across your enterprise – collaboration is the key to productivity
- Accurate measurements because NX Viewer is NX, so you are measuring B-Rep data and not tessellated data as with other viewers.
Today’s world of design, engineering, and manufacturing is all about collaboration, and NX Viewer is an effective tool for connecting all of these areas of your product development activities, getting your ideas to market faster than ever before!
Tata Technologies is a Siemens Platinum Smart Expert Partner indicating our validated expertise in NX-CAD.
What are Formboards, and what do they do?
To describe what a formboard is, and what it does, we need to start with what a wiring harness is, and what it does. The dictionary describes a wiring harness as a system of insulated conducting wires bound together with insulating materials, used in the electrical system of a machine, such as a motor vehicle or washing machine. Wiring harnesses can be found in just about every product that requires electrification. Trains, planes, farm equipment, machinery, RV’s, ships and boats, automobiles, motorcycles, computers, and home appliances… if it has electronics, chances are it has one or more wiring harnesses.
Wiring harnesses are usually produced manually on a flat surface, using a full scale drawing as a guide or a roadmap of sorts. These tables are typically referred to as formboards or harness boards. A formboard drawing is a flat representation of the 3D wiring harness. The main requirement on the formboard is that a manufactured wiring harness can physically fit in the product as intended. Not meeting this requirement can result in a wiring harness that doesn’t fit right, or cannot be installed in the product without using force to make it fit… thereby putting undue strain on the wires and connectors.
Creating formboard drawings in CAD can be a repetitive and time consuming task. Flattening out the wiring harness to make a 2D representation of the 3D harness can take hours or days depending on the complexity of the harness. This task can be made much simpler and less time consuming through the use of a Siemens product called, “NX Routing Harness.”
Here is a description from the Siemens playbook… “NX Routing Harness provides all the tools needed to route an electrical wiring harness consisting of bundles of wires in a product assembly. Capabilities also include the ability to specify typical mechanical parts and supporting equipment such as connectors and other devices. The software can also import the wiring characteristics for connections between electrical devices. This connection list may be created from a 2-D logical design application such as NX Schematics or other external ECAD systems. NX Routing Harness can automatically traverse paths which have been routed between the devices and assign the wire descriptions to the path segments as specified in the connection list. The wire descriptions are used to compute bundle diameters and to create solid bundle models. Actual wire lengths and diameters may be automatically added to the connection list for feedback to upstream ECAD applications or downstream to manufacturing applications. NX Routing Harness also identifies minimum bend radius violations and produces design and manufacturing documentation such as formboard drawings.”
NX Routing Harness does more than flatten a harness… it generates a full assembly, with all electrical connectivity information intact. The result is identical to the 3D assembly, but is laid out on a single plane while maintaining the relative position of each connector to the bundle as the harness is flattened. NX Routing Harness generates a 2D formboard drawing, while taking the unique approach of creating a Digital Twin of Manufacturing.
Some of the key benefits for using NX Routing Harness:
- User friendly application that gives quick results for 3D routing and 2D formboard creation.
- Reduce cost by making use of your digital twin to eliminate physical prototypes and rework… your harnesses will fit the first time.
- Reduce cost by re-using logical design which eliminates redundant data creation and improves quality by enforcing design standards
- Predicts accurate wire lengths and accurate bundle diameters for interference checking and space allocation for early analysis.
Are you responsible for designing wiring harnesses and creating formboard drawings? Can you and your company benefit from a powerful design tool that simplifies wire routing, harnessing and formboard drawing creation? Are you interested in streamlining your wire routing process to save time and money? Then you and your company could benefit from an NX Routing Harness demo today!
Tata Technologies is a Siemens Platinum Smart Expert Partner indicating our validated expertise in NX-CAD.
NX Realize Shape is a powerful and intuitive subdivision design tool that makes use of primitive shapes to create concept design models. In the image below you can see a sphere has been chosen, but there are a number of other shapes to select from such as cylinder or block to name a few.
These primitive shapes can be placed over top of background data like sketches or even art work similar to what you see in the image above. When a primitive shape is created, a cage is automatically created that surrounds the shape. The shape can be morphed into designs by transforming that cage. By selecting on, and dragging the cage elements (lines or points), you can mold the shape to fit the background image.
As seen in the image above, you can split a face into smaller faces (subdivide) in order to create more cage elements. This gives you greater control of the cage anytime more detail is required in a given area of your design.
By selecting cage elements (lines or points) and dragging them up or down, left or right, the concept designer is able to morph a simple shape into a complex form in a relatively shorter period of time versus having to work with .
Why do we promote the use of Realize shape?
Simple, this model represents the birth of the digital twin. This digital twin is then used for detailed design, documentation, validation, simulation, and all the way to traditional or additive manufacturing… all within a single unified environment like NX… means you are going to use trusted data from concept to manufacturing… without requiring conversion or translation, and this is going to shorten your innovation lifecycle, getting you from concept to market faster!
Getting a job done right requires vision, experience, and the right tools. In product design – especially initial product styling, where the look and feel of a product is flushed out – this often comes down to a creative and trained resource utilizing a collection of tools including hand sketches, preliminary form models from direct edit CAD programs, initial parametric models describing functional form, and advanced surfacing techniques to finalize the details.
Needless to say, the process can be cumbersome, requiring files from various systems be translated, and the overall time it requires can preclude a designer from trying multiple variations they might envision, in order to meet deadlines. Just as in every other downstream aspect of product design, finding processes, training, and or tools that allow us to cut overall design time gives us options and advantages that directly impact our bottom line.
In NX 9, Siemens introduced another great tool, NX Realize Shape, giving us a new sub-division modeling approach aimed at creating complex organic shapes (solids and surfaces) in an intuitive straightforward manner, without having to be a high-level surfacing expert.
What is Subdivision modeling? It is a method of creating complex 3D models that originated in the entertainment industry as a facet-based technology, where it was used to create environments and characters by studios such as Pixar. More recently, Siemens has implemented and updated the technology to produce NURBS output surfaces, meaning the solids and sheets created are not only of high quality, but they are now associative, editable, and suited for use by all downstream consumers of CAD data.
The basic workflow is that you use primitive shapes to begin with, such as a sphere, block, or cylinder, and NX builds a control cage around it. This cage, when manipulated, pulls vertices and edges of the geometry it is connected to. You can then subdivide polygonal elements of that primitive into further polygons. This creates greater control and refinement over the shapes details. The primitive is pushed, pulled, rotated and scaled into shape using intuitive onscreen inputs with instant shape feedback, allowing for optimal control sculpting the shape.