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Podcast: Instantly Determine Cost from 3D CAD Models

If you’re supporting design to cost efforts, generating part bids, or evaluating vendor proposals, you’ve likely wished for a way to make estimating more accurate and efficient. At Galorath, we believe that being able to get from CAD to Cost offers significant advantages. With this, we’ve developed some game-changing solutions.

Listen to the podcast here or read the transcript below to learn more:

Tonya: Good morning, I’m Tonya Weger. Thank you for joining me for Galorath Podcasts. In our podcast series, I will discuss some of the most relevant topics of the day with a succession of experienced professionals and thought leaders.

Today I am joined by Galorath’s subject matter and expert and Manufacturing manager, Dr. Chris Rush and Director of Engineering Services Dan Kennedy. Let’s talk today about your upcoming webinar. Instantly determine cost from 3D CAD models.

Chris: Hello, Tonya. Happy to be here.

Dan: Hi, folks! Thanks for having me.

Tonya: It is pleasure to talk to you both today. Sear 3D and CATIA interfaces are very exciting additions to the Galorath product line. Can you briefly describe these products for us.

Chris: Sure. The products themselves are Sear 3D and CATIA interfaces are companion products to the SEER manufacturing cost model. And what they do is they automate the extraction of CAD model geometry to build detailed manufacturing cost models within seconds. There are a couple of differences between the two approaches. Within CATIA users get real time cost feedback as they design and there are also three interfaces – one for composites, one for sheet metal, and one for machinery. SEER-3D, on the other hand, is a standalone CAD independent application it reads STEP files and can be used for machine parts.

Dan: SEER-Manufacturing gives deadly accurate estimates on machine parts, and composite parts, sheet metal parts built to industry standards – that is what we are carrying with us. You do need to know a bit about how things get manufactured to use it really well. But these new tools that we developed take a lot of that subject matter expert need away and it saves an awful lot of time.

Tonya: That was very helpful. Who can benefit from utilizing these new technologies?

Chris: Existing SEER-MFG users can save many hours of work utilizing these new technologies since the estimates are built almost instantly. So, anyone working with detail composites or machining estimates know that they take a while to build up and, as Dan said, you need to know a little bit about that process in order to be successful. But more than that, anyone really involved in manufacturing cost estimating will find these SEER tools very helpful indeed.

Dan: Yeah and not just estimators per se. I think there is a lot of people who can benefit from this tool. They are helpful to people in business development and design group, which we are talking about. But the supply chain, the programs, operations, lean initiatives. If you know your strengths and weaknesses then you can create a better organization be more competitive. I think everybody could benefit from this stuff.

Tonya: Wonderful. How will these tools make life easier for users? Dan you work directly with users can you share your insights.

Dan: Yeah, I work every day in these things. So, these new tools we developed for SEER manufacturing are faster and if you have a time constraint they are more accurate. The bottom line is you get results with a lot less expertise from the user. Detail part estimates can be developed in minutes instead of hours and days and much of the sorting extraction, most of it actually – pulling data out of 3D models and putting them into the SEER tool has been automated. The geometry is coming straight over.

Tonya: There is an expectation that cost will come down by using this tool. Can you explain to me how that is going to happen.

Chris: Yeah, one of the ways in which we envision this will happen is that you can know better manage your design cost. During the early design phase you now rapidly assess the cost of alternatives. Which should theoretically, anyway, lead to the most cost effective solution.

Dan: So, honestly, if you are doing estimates these tools are indispensable. These new additions are money savers. Typically, expensive assets will be doing those estimates for you. Your estimators, your engineers people like that save them time. Or if they got a certain amount of time you can get more estimates and more quotes out of these folks. And if you save time you are going to save money.

Tonya: Let’s talk about how this will benefit designers. Why would they care about cost?

Dan: Designers have a really hard job – mostly technical, but seventy percent of the opportunity to save money on a product generally happens in the design phase. The decisions are made that manufacturing people follow through on. Here is where you have the biggest opportunity to affect the cost of a manufactured product. You give the designer some insight into what their decisions may cost and let them help optimize it, empower them. In a bad situation, it lets them avoid redesigning a part to meet a designed cost objective.

Chris: Yeah, what we did one of our ideas initially with these tools was to kind help bring the cost engineer, and estimators who are often requiring design detail. We wanted to kind of bring them closer to allow the cost people to build up environments and manufacturing costing solutions. That the designers could then use cause they themselves don’t necessarily have that manufacturing cost knowledge, or process knowledge to do that kind of work. So these tools help to bring these two disciplines together to share and work together. And the CATIA solutions really are extremely helpful in this regard because designers can know, also, get that cost trend each time they rerun an estimate on a design or requirement change. Which previously they wouldn’t have that insight.

Tonya: How does what you are going to show us compliment and effective work flow?

Chris: Well, what we are going to show during the webinar is the current work flow using SEER tools without these interfaces. And then we are going to demonstrate and show you how these interfaces are going to streamline the estimation process and workflow for you. I am sure after seeing that you will see the benefit of these tools immediately.

Dan: I think it can be even deeper than that, Chris. If there is an established workflow in your organization these tools will help the people who are using it be more efficient. Faster, easier, more accurate. If you don’t have an effective work flow established and it is ad hoc you might want to consider putting some of these tools in the hands of those on your team. I mean across the whole enterprise business development, supply chain design, operations. There is a lot of information in there that can help an organization.

Tonya: The tools are faster. However, sometimes faster is equated with less quality and thought to be less credible. How does this tool compensate for that?

Dan: Oh, well, look, smart people, engineers, talented people have put a lot of effort into making the models. Communicating the information to the world at large. They contain a lot more detail then is efficiently extracted from the models through manual methods. It is tedious and fraught with opportunities to make an error manual input of data taking it from a drawing or a CAD model or something and manually inputting it into a tool. You just got a lot of opportunities to make a mistake. The CAD data regimen if you can get it straight out of the cad without having a manual innervation is great and makes it accurate.

Chris: Yeah, definitely, these interfacing tools are really quite exacting and consistent in their extraction of the cad geometry. And not only that we get that geometry and map directly to relevant operations. So this saves engineers lots of time. And like all the other SEER tools gives them that consistency in the basis of their estimates. And, further, once you have that initial estimate created for you it is within SEER and there you can go review, modify, merge that estimate with bigger estimates or follow up project estimates so you can go carry on in SEER as you normally would.

Tonya: Say I have a bunch of very bright engineers in my organization is there a way to capture their knowledge?

Chris: Sure they if they are already trained in SEER they can capture the process knowledge and save that in knowledge based templates. And then these templates can be reused by lesser trained users with minimal guidance to develop detailed estimates.

Dan: Yeah, I violently agree with you Chris. It is a lot like the rest of our tools using these knowledge bases, using these environments, using these modifiable tools. We make it really easy to pass knowledge on. Create standard work within an organization if you will and pass on knowledge to bring other people up to speed and just make things better.

Tonya: Can I modify within the tool to reflect my own organization?

Dan: Of course that is kind of a fundamental here in SEER. What SEER the way it comes out of the box is really telling you is what the industry standards are for the kind of processes and procedures are undertaking and what your parts are going to cost. It is to your advantage to easily modify what is inside SEER to reflect your own organizations strengths and weaknesses. We make it easy to do that and to compare yourself against the rest of industry.

Chris: Yeah, and what we did with these tools is we extended the concept of knowledge bases, and templates into what we call manufacturing environments. So, these utilize all the SEER knowledge based templates and other fully customizable data. Such as, feeds, and speeds, and operation data. The templates are set up to reflect the part, the location, the organization shop floor where the parts will be made. And then with in the application the user will select the environment, which sets all the defaults for that estimate as well as the details for processing that part.

Tonya: These sound like great tools what kind of support or training is in place?

Chris: Well we have SEER training available at your own location. Which can be available anywhere from a day to a week. Or we have users come to one of our training facilities.

Dan: Well, we also got 24/7 tech support. We got people support we got people who are waiting on the phone to help you if you run into a problem. We got online help documentation and training documentation by the SEER University on our website. We are accessible to your needs, so we can help.

Tonya: Wonderful, and thank you for taking the time to talk to us today.

Chris: Oh, it’s been a pleasure, Tonya. Thank you.

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