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Configuration instead of construction

CAD systems are standard tools for construction. They are optimized to create structural designs and provide a detailed representation of a product and they are geared towards technicians. They are geared towards technicians and serve this purpose very well. This is automatically the place to look for any acceleration of constructive jobs. customX chooses a completely different approach. It describes the variance of a product and the relations in its structure. Consequently, customX has everything you need to expertly handle the construction of product variants.

 

 

The basis of any kind of automation is the presence of a system. Regardless of the tool, automation can only take place if it can be described. Therefore, the systematization of a product has to be the first step. In other words – standardization is necessary. Unfortunately, this is often completely misunderstood – parts or assemblies are given predefined sets of dimensions. Usually, this limits the variance of the product unnecessarily. This leads to manual reworking in order to realize the necessary individuality and so destroys the target of automation. With customX these limits do not exist. It is based on a constructive system and supports the development of such a system by describing variances and rules instead of predefined assemblies. The functionalities for this are the following:

  • Every part is generally seen as a variant; parameters define the variance. The part can have different forms and dimensions.
  • Several different methods describe the relations between parts.
  • Rules for positioning the parts are crucial because they have a core function. Therefore, part correlations that depend on the position of other parts are also possible, such as testing distances between parts that have no contact with each other.

 

The realization of maximum variance requires less preparation and maintenance than classical standardization.

Even complex products with thousands of individual parts and several layers of assemblies can generally be displayed in customX in less than 100 variant parts. This approach has the following benefits:

  • No redundant data – the maintenance of the system requires only a fraction of the effort required for a solution with libraries of predefined assemblies.
  • Basic product changes are easy.
  • The maximum desired variance of a product is supported.

For the creation of a product configuration, we recommend that the user automatically always gets a solution that is feasible and recommended by the system. If application engineers use the configuration system, it is possible to give them substantially more influence on the end product. The speed of generating a solution determines if the engineers really consider all the various possibilities.

With customX you usually have reaction times of only a few seconds for the complete design of the product. The presentation of the result is equally fast.

The generation of 3D models is the typical domain of CAD systems. Usually these systems have functionalities enabling a certain amount of variance, which is also automated. But because of the principles that underlie the CAD systems, restrictions arise that can only be avoided by a larger number of case discriminations with a corresponding number of master models or by using additional programming. Both solutions are expensive and make the maintenance of the system more difficult. customX uses a CAD system for generating 3D models. Therefore, a 3D model made with customX is as easy to handle as a manually made model – without any conversion. The difference is that the technical rules are deposited outside the models and are therefore not subject to any restrictions. Furthermore, functionalities that cannot be found in any CAD system are provided by customX – these functionalities are essential for handling complexity. The benefits are the following:

  • Complex operations such as feature transfers (e.g. hole patterns) mean that individual parts can be kept simple
  • Only a few master models and no predefined assemblies are necessary
  • No redundancies of rules occur because they are exclusively recorded in customX and not distributed via the models.
  • Independency from CAD systems – various CAD systems can be supported simultaneously.
  • Automatic search for identical models that already exist so double generation of models is avoided.


customX combines the best of two worlds: the basis and the result are models from the respective CAD systems and so unlimited compatibility is ensured. The complexity is handled in customX via specific functions. Programming is therefore absolutely superfluous.

Normally, a drawing is updated if the reference 3D model changes. Naturally, customX also supports this approach. The problem is that this kind of update only produces a usable result if the changes to the 3D model are not too big. In order to reach the ultimate target of automation, product variants make higher demands on the generation of drawings that can be used without manual reworking. For this, the following problems need to be solved:

  • Dimensional references disappear, others have to be added.
  • Depending on the content of the drawing, diverse chains of dimensions – i.e. dimensions connected in sequences – need to be built up.
  • Dimension drawings completely change when there are significant changes in the scale factor; the placement of dimension texts cannot be fixed.
  • Scale factors must be adapted to the product. Complex requirements such as details with a certain scaling relationship also have to be considered here.
  • Arrangements can vary radically if long, small parts become short, thick parts in a configuration.
  • Title blocks, explanatory notes and dimension texts often vary depending on the language used.

In order to solve these problems, customX offers numerous possibilities. It produces 2D as well as 3D drawings automatically and also offers a PDF or 3D PDF if desired. The most important functionalities are:

  • Fully automatic scale factor determination, also when using different scale factors on one sheet
  • Diverse methods for producing dynamic dimension drawings and automatic placement of dimension texts
  • Automatic provision of underlying templates and title blocks as well as variable language texts
  • Automatic arrangement of item numbers

And all this without a single line of programming! Without a doubt, customX is THE engineering tool and should be used in every engineering department that deals with product variants.