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Interviews

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May 25, 2007

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Comments

Vernon Paige

It's amazing how slow things have progressed in the 20 years since Gary and I wrote that book. It was always frustrating how engineers were so adversed to change.

Josh

Good points James. Our company currently has an electronic workflow. It's great. But many still prefer to print drawings, and just to check them, then it's printed again to sign (requirement from customer)

I've moved to checking things electronically by marking up pdfs. I believe that with Acrobat 3D coming out and the ablility to mark-up the models, that things will start to go toward a more 3D centric approach to documenting design.

There's still the issue of certification and the shops getting to the point where everything is done from an electronic interface.

I can see where it could streamline things, but there will be a lot of people still wanting hard copies of things.

As people in the industry it would be interesting to look at things that force change toward productivity and efficiency.

James Gee

With respect to models/documents within a company; once a 3D design has been completed, whether or not the design has an accompanying drawing, it usually goes through a release process. Instead of having people walk around to the desks of the individuals to get physical signatures on the object/drawing as it moves through a companies release process; in the electronic world, the object/drawing would move into folders were certain individuals would have the permissions to move the object/drawing along to other folders in the release process. Depending on how it is set up electronically, each party can reject, or accept the object/drawing. There could be multiple levels. It could also be set up such that 3 out of 5 approved votes could move the object to the next level, or that any approved individual can reject the object/drawing and send it back to the originator with comments and or desired changes or corrections. I think you get the picture. This is not the only (electronic) method out there.

As far as how to make this happen, I would lump this in with the desire for companies to go from “paper” to “paperless”. Wow, that sounds like another book or two. Perhaps a desire to cut down fewer trees. Until people get used to reviewing documents on the screen (which by the way is still 2D), they will still print something in order to review it. The process can be refined (streamlined to be more efficient) such that people are not carrying around documents to be signed. Rather emails sent out for individuals to review the object/drawing that is either attached to the email or in their folders waiting for review. Perhaps the ease in tracking who has what documentation will create an incentive to change to an electronic workflow.

And as far as a document leaving the company electronically, you now have a vast world of "digital signatures", authentication issues, and legal aspects to be concerned with. Just search the web for “digital signatures”.

Josh

wow, who would have thought AutoCad actually setting things back. Looks like a good book.

I think another reason why 2D and drawing are still so prevalent is because of the certification required. It's a piece of paper that can be signed. So, my question, what happens when a paper doesn't have to be signed? and what's going to change to make that happen?

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