Since starting work in the automotive sector, it has surprised me how much CAD work is being outsourced overseas as I had assumed all CAD modelling would be done in-house by companies themselves. The reason is simple of course. It’s cheaper (in monetary terms anyway). However it can often take longer to complete a task because of the difficulty communicating ideas by use of annotated screenshots of CAD models and Powerpoint presentations. This isn’t always caused by a language barrier either. It can also be the case that the designer has not fully explained the tasks to the CAD engineer. This results in a CAD model being sent multiple times back and forth before design changes are implemented properly, ultimately delaying the completion of a project.
CAD Engineer utilising various CAD software. Source: India Education
CAD outsourcing is thought to improve productivity and reduce costs and can be completed by freelance engineers and CAD companies who can be based abroad. India receives the vast majority of outsourced CAD work due to the hourly rates being lower than the West. This subsequently presents more job opportunities for Indian-based CAD engineers. The time zone difference between the UK, where I’m based, and India is 5 hours which can be mutually beneficial. This means when I arrive work in the morning, the CAD work I’d set the previous afternoon will likely have already been completed and I can check it before assigning more and releasing this data to manufacturing. This is more time efficient but also means I must remember to assign work to CAD engineers before I leave work.
Sometimes it can be the case that designs are not checked against what is physically possible to manufacture since this isn’t always asked for and the CAD engineers may not be contracted to do so. Although this scenario may be the designer's fault, the CAD engineers can help by performing checks before completing tasks.
My advice to any CAD engineer is to always consider the engineering behind the components you’re modelling. Whilst it may be easier to create and modify CAD parts in the way you’ve been instructed to, consider the physical design constraints too. You can make all sorts of designs on a computer but manufacturing them is another matter. This can make your job and the designers job much quicker.
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