Fig. 1
Various CAD software are now utilized to aid medical professionals in visualizing a patient’s anatomy and the corresponding possible treatments.

The Future of CAD Software

AI, VR, the cloud, and customization are all changing the digital drafting board.

Software technologies are evolving quickly, with continuous improvements. These programs are becoming essential in various sectors and for more and more different applications. This increasing use of CAD leads to evolutions. Indeed, these CAD programs have to be adapted to the new uses and new users they are targeting.

What are the key changes that people using CAD software need? And what could be achieved in the future?  Let’s see what the new big trends are and which CAD software functionalities could be highly improved in the upcoming years.

The Evolution of the Use of CAD Software

The B2B software world is evolving quickly. The benefits of 3D CAD are endless, and it is a real game-changer for many companies that are using it to improve their work, products, or services. Obviously, companies are not using 3D modeling software for the same applications. There are different ways to make the most of CAD software: getting a better visualization of a project, rendering, 3D printing, simulation, and prototyping, to give some examples.

3D modeling software are now essential tools in helping designers and engineers find the best possible product designs.

For the medical sector, CAD software can be useful to get an accurate visualization of a problem. It can be used, for example, before a surgery to determine the best strategy to adopt. It is also a great tool for simulation, so as to see the result of a possible surgery. These visualization tools are also used effectively in architecture or mechanical engineering. It is now essential in order to obtain a good and accurate overview of the project.

CAD programs are now used not only by designers, but also engineers, researchers, surgeons, and many other professionals. That is why software makers are continuously changing and improving features, and as new trends are appearing, we are starting to see the shape of the future of CAD software.

What are the Next Trends for CAD software?

The growing use of CAD software leads to new trends and new evolutions. Let’s see what will be improved in the upcoming years for these programs.

Automation and Artificial Intelligence

One of the biggest trends these years is certainly automation. We can see it in various sectors, thanks to the development of Artificial Intelligence. It will be more and more present with 3D modeling software. Indeed, CAD programs will be able to anticipate our actions and improve our 3D modeling experience, allowing users to to repair or anticipate design errors.

Automation will necessarily improve your work and allow us to avoid 3D modeling problems. Thanks to AI, these programs will progressively become more intelligent. Some software companies are already introducing AI in their programs, and it will be even more common in the upcoming years, allowing to automate design tasks. It will create new quality control features, always improving the work and products of companies working on these programs.

SolidWorks already unveiled a version using this automation technology: Solidworks Xdesign. The company’s CEO is actually claiming that automation is the future of design.  

On its side, Autodesk also develops new tools using AI and automation. Dream Catcher is an impressive program, for instance. Allowing users to work on regenerative designs, it is able to generate hundreds of designs in only a few hours.

From the basic to the most complex geometries, CAD software are proving to be very beneficial in the creation of various designs for many industries. 

Cloud-Based Software

3D modeling software can have some constraints: These 3D programs used to be quite heavy, working on only one computer. Now, with the growing use of what we call the cloud, a lot of applications and software are now cloud-based. CAD software can just be accessible from anywhere around the world and don’t need any installation process: they are called SaaS, or Software-as-a-Service.

The shift to SaaS is actually changing the way we can collaborate and work. CAD users need a better collaboration with their team. That is why the cloud is becoming so essential: It is improving the collaboration as it allows several persons to work on the same file. Expanded collaboration is now something important, improving efficiency and teamwork.

Cloud-based CAD software was something unimaginable just a few years ago. Now, they are spreading! For example, Onshape is using this cloud-based technology, allowing it to avoid crashes and problems linked to license keys and compatibilities. While using a cloud-based CAD program, you don’t need to worry about upgrades or data management as you get a universal access to data.

These programs are also allowing the analysis of some data: Who worked on the model? How long did it take to finish this? Some cloud-based software tools enable these analyses and could definitely improve workflow.

These cloud-based applications have undeniably huge advantages,, and they will probably become more and more present on the market in the upcoming years.

Virtual Reality

The gap between 3D CAD and reality could really become thinner while using CAD software. Visualization and rendering are constantly improved. CAD software tools really need to get good 3D tools for these functionalities, so as to get 3D models closer to reality and achieve the best preview possible of the project.

Now, the quality of visualization is going further: Virtual reality options will now become common CAD software functionalities. Some 3D models can be viewed as if they were existing in a physical space, thanks to virtual reality helmets. This could be particularly useful in sectors like architecture, and some software markers are starting to develop the compatibility of their software with 3D viewing equipment.

New options regarding virtual reality could be unveiled in the upcoming years, as this technology seems really promising for a lot of different industries.

Strong Specialization or Personalization Possibilities

Another aspect which makes 3D software interesting for companies is the way these programs can fit the user’s needs. That is why we can achieve more and more specialization in the CAD world. There are a lot of 3D programs dedicated to specific sectors like electronics, architecture, and cinema. This way, CAD users have the CAD tools and features they need to work on their project, as these programs are made for a specific use.

Customized CAD

Before choosing your 3D modeling software, you will ask yourself what are the most useful tools for you. Do you need a software dedicated to chemistry, jewelry, or character design? CAD specialization is now important for the companies, and it is not going to stop now!

CAD software could be more customizable, and users could have a facilitated access to the tools and features they use the most, or that will be more interesting for their projects.

We can already say that this trend will intensify in the upcoming years. Indeed, all the different sectors and users might need different features. There is a growing importance for personalization. Users now want to augment and configure their work environment, and they need to optimize it in order to use the best tools for them. The main goal is to easily design and custom product, thanks to software adapted to the user. These advanced platforms need to be personalized, once again, in order to improve the daily work of the user.

As you can see, the world of CAD software is changing fast and the main goal of all these trends is the same: improving the user’s work. We already know that these functionalities will evolve quickly and become quite common in the upcoming years. We hope you now have some insight about where CAD software heading. Get ready for the future of 3D modeling programs!

Lucie Gaget, is a technical writer at Sculpteo.

TAGS: Awareness
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