5 Features of Digital Manufacturing – All You Need to Know

February 19, 2024

Digital manufacturing is a design approach that makes use of computers and digital solutions, in order to create a more efficient manufacturing process. It makes use of a cohesive environment where information is readily available and collaboration is made easy.

At its core, digital manufacturing is a highly useful tool that streamlines development, from the design stage to production. This technological approach offers an opportunity to significantly speed up manufacturing operations, and is achieved by integrating data and digital systems across multiple production areas.

In order to make use of these capabilities, specialised software is vital. Find out more about the features that Digital Manufacturing can offer you, and how SEACAD’s range of SOLIDWORKS products are able to fulfil them.

1. Enhanced Collaboration and Connectivity

Using operations technology to enhance collaboration and connectivity

Modern digital manufacturing hinges on the ability to share information seamlessly across various departments. Digital manufacturing systems that provide enhanced collaboration and connectivity are able to help companies synchronise their operation at every stage. This core feature simplifies value chain management, creating a cohesive environment that encourages efficiency.

SEACAD’s 3DEXPERIENCE WORKS portfolio includes tools such as DELMIA | Works, which are designed to enhance collaboration. DELMIAWORKS ERP System is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Manufacturing Execution System (MES) solution that helps communicate all information on manufacturing throughout your supply chain. By providing visibility into order processing, finance, planning, inventory, and more, it gives businesses clear insights into their production processes. It allows for real-time structured collaboration and access to lifecycle management, helping to connect all parts of the design process.

2. Customisation and Flexibility

Increased flexibility through the use of computer systems

Compared to physical manufacturing and designing, it’s easier to remain flexible throughout the digital manufacturing process. This customisation and flexibility can be achieved through digital design tools, which facilitate the creation of personalised products that are catered to specific customer needs.

Products such as CATIA are 3D design tools that enable an extensive range of customisation and flexibility in digital manufacturing. CATIA is a leading engineering and design software solution that allows users to create models that emulate a product’s real-life behaviour. This ability to rapidly iterate designs and simulate products is invaluable in digital manufacturing, allowing creators to explore multiple design options and customise their products before moving on to physical production.

CATIA is also integrated with the 3DEXPERIENCE platform for collaborative work, and provides a comprehensive set of tools for all phases of product development. This allows manufacturers to remain adaptable, innovate quickly, and meet specific customer needs with precision, thereby staying competitive in the fast-paced digital manufacturing landscape.

3. Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Practices

Leverage digital manufacturing techniques for a Eco-friendly production process

One of the key benefits of digital manufacturing technology is that it heavily reduces waste and promotes sustainability across the entire manufacturing process. By using digital blueprints, less resources are spent on creating physical prototypes. The usage of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tools are also becoming standard in design software, facilitating instant feedback on environmental impacts. This allows designers to assess the carbon, energy, footprint, and water usage of their products through every stage of their life cycle, embedding environmental impact assessment in the design process.

Digital manufacturing technologies such as SOLIDWORKS Sustainability serve as sustainable design tools that provide actionable insights. By allowing for material selection and optimisation, LCA, and sustainability report generation, this digital solution helps achieve resource efficiency and promotes the creation of products that have minimal environmental impact. These practices can help organisations fulfil their commitment to eco-friendly manufacturing.

4. Improved Efficiency and Productivity

Increased manufacturing efficiency with digital technology

Digital manufacturing processes can greatly improve efficiency and productivity throughout the product life cycle. Integrated Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) solutions are able to connect design and manufacturing into a single fluid process, reducing operational costs and increasing productivity.

One CAM solution by SEACAD is CAMWORKS, a machining software that helps cut down on manufacturing time. It can be fully integrated with CAD software, allowing your organisation to reduce the production cycle duration, have improved control over costs and quality, and seamlessly utilise a common database.

The time taken to transition from CAD designs to ready-to-manufacture CAM files can be cut by up to 90%. Moreover, the automation of these processes mitigates the risk of human error, enhancing overall product quality. These tools not only enhance today’s manufacturing processes but also lay the groundwork for future technological advancements, ensuring a resilient and forward-thinking industry.

5. Security and Intellectual Property Protection

Digital Security features in Digital Manufacturing process

In the digital manufacturing landscape, the protection of intellectual property (IP) is paramount. Manufacturers must safeguard their proprietary designs and sensitive data against unwarranted access and cyber threats, and by making use of digital tools, businesses can ensure increased integrity of their data, and protection of intellectual property.

SOLIDWORKS Manage is a data management tool that aids in the manufacturing process by synchronising data in a single system. It makes sure that timelines, resources, tasks, and deliverables are all kept track of and updated in a system. Some features are:

Access Control and Permissions: Prevention of unauthorised access, and user-specific settings that can help safeguard information.

Data Security Protocols: Encryption of sensitive information such as customer data, through secure data transfer channels.

Audit Trails and Version Control: Detailed document history and control over revisions, allowing you to constantly customise your product and track changes.

These layers of protection are critical to ensuring that the manufacturing operation remains uncompromised. Tools like SOLIDWORKS Manage offerstreamlined solutions for managing complex data and maintaining integrity across various stages of product development.

Embracing the Future of Digital Manufacturing

Embracing Digital Manufacturing

Digital Manufacturing is a transformative method that can help companies remain competitive in a rapidly developing industry. These five features, augmented by SEACAD‘s SOLIDWORKS solutions, offer a host of benefits that improve productivity and efficiency at all steps of the design process. Understanding and leveraging these features can help you master the digital manufacturing era, and create a smart factory that results in greater customer satisfaction.

To find out more about what SEACAD has to offer, contact us for any enquiries. Begin your journey with our digital technologies today.