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Direct CAD as Part of the Lean Manufacturing Environment

Direct CAD as Part of the Lean Manufacturing Environment

Lean Mfg. Word Cloud-2

Many manufacturers have embraced the principles of lean manufacturing on the shop floor and in the back office. Unfortunately, many small contract manufacturers have not taken the lean and efficient approach to their engineering and design departments.

Derived from the Japanese manufacturing industry, there are two ways to look at lean manufacturing. First, many typically see lean as the toolset that assists in the ID and continuous elimination of waste. Eliminating waste as quality improves while cutting production time and costs improve overall output and profitability. Secondly, and most famously put forward by Toyota, the focus is on improving the flow or smoothness of work, steadily eliminating mura ("unevenness") through the system and not upon waste reduction. While both take different avenues, both lean theories aim to help manufacturers run more efficiently.

Contract manufacturers are often under the gun to produce quickly to keep their shop floor busy and profitable. Too often, though, broken geometry and designs not ready for the manufacturing process can slow down the works — and time is money. That’s where direct CAD, and KeyCreator — in particular — can help manufacturers run their engineering and design process a bit leaner and more efficiently.

three ways Direct CAD can help streamline your design and engineering to match the rest of your lean manufacturing processHere are three ways Direct CAD can help streamline your design and engineering to match the rest of your lean manufacturing process:

  • With direct CAD you can quickly produce 3D design concepts without constraints. So, if you are working with a customer on developing a prototype of a part or assembly, you can just start creating, even if you’re not sure exactly where you are going. Additionally, Direct editing tools allow you to modify nearly any geometry as if sculpting in clay, without the limitations put on the design process by parametric CAD software. This not only speeds up the initial design phase but eliminates rebuild errors as you are creating geometry in real time.


  • Successful contract manufacturers are dealing with multiple customers using various CAD software such as SolidWorks and AutoCAD. KeyCreator allows manufacturers to easily import CAD models from other software packages and make edits directly to the geometry as if they were created natively in KeyCreator. This eliminates the need for owning multiple software seats and allows manufacturers to get the designs ready for production quickly and easily while saving time and money.


  • Integrated CAD comparison ensures data accuracy, product quality and improves the communication of designs. Identify, organize and communicate changes in the design and manufacturing process with the standard KeyCreator Compare feature. Almost nothing can waste more time than communication problems. KeyCreators’ CAD Comparison technology graphically compares two CAD files and identifies all of the changes in the geometry and/or the Product Manufacturing Information contained in the files. Once changes have been identified, automated PDF reporting makes it easy to communicate changes and value-added work. Save time and money lost due to rework, and reduce the risk of manufacturing errors and the potential for scrap.

Sure, lean manufacturing is still growing. But, by helping to take your CAD design to a leaner place with Direct Hybrid CAD software, you may get a step on the competition, win more bids and produce more while spending less.


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