3D CAID technology: A game changer in industry 4.0 era

THE rapid evolution of digitalisation, technologies and innovations has hastened the need for industries to upscale their production processes towards enhancing their competitiveness in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

In the case of the 3D Computer-Aided Industrial Design (CAID), the fast changing technology has grown exponentially to provide boundless revolutionary opportunities for industrial designers and engineers.

Digital design development in the industry has been in use for many years now through the early application of Computer Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Engineering Analysis (CAE), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Computer Generated Images (CGi) to modern digital design and innovative manufacturing solutions.

Digital design technologies provide a great support for product realisation from 2D design concept, 3D concept modelling and mechanical engineering development to manufacturing preparations, sales and services of a product.

Advantages of CAID

With the fast-changing developments and emerging technologies in the 4IR scenarios, CAID is bound to greatly impact and provide new challenges to design students, designers, engineers and many industries, according to MIMOS Bhd head of industrial design Saharudin Busri.

“The future of 3D digital development looks even brighter, with the advancement of 3D printing technologies and the enhancement of virtual reality simulation,” he pointed out during the latest MIMOS Talk series entitled New Evolution of 3D Digital Development in Computer-Aided Industrial Design.

Although virtual reality is still at its infancy, it is set to change the way we interact with 3D models forever, according to Saharudin.

Additionally, the application of 3D printing would significantly impact the acceleration on the product development process. It allows people to cut down on the resources and time required to come up with prototypes.

“In the future, designers can leverage on advances in 3D printing technology and 3D digital modelling for various design projects,” he noted.

“However, the 2D digital design process is still very important for designers to get the concept of the initial idea before the product is developed in 3D.”

Saharudin explained that CAID is simply the employment of computerised software in the industrial design process. Compared to traditional manual drafting, it is an automated process that greatly increases the efficiency of design alterations, concept testing and general optimisations.

Freedom of expression

CAID grants designers creative freedom. However, it is common to follow a simple methodology where a designer will create a sketch using a stylus, following which they will generate curves from the sketch, and in turn generate surfaces from the curves.

Saharudin Busri

The main CAID main features include 2D concept design and 3D concept modelling, detailed design and surface analysis, surface modelling and Class-A surfacing, and design communication and product visualisation.

“In a nutshell, CAID offers ‘freedom to experiment with shape and form,”, and is a software for creatives,” reckoned Saharudin.

“Freeform surface modelling tools allow the designer to create organic forms on screen, rather than being confined to computer-generated limits.”

CAID offers extensive visualisation tools such as photorealistic rendering, texture mapping, surface highlighting, and many more.

Users are able to push and pull shapes to immediately visualise the effects and results. The process is much less precise and numeric than CAD.

On the superiority of CAID, Saharudin elaborated that it enables a designer to create a 3D model prior to the manufacturing of the product itself.

The 3D model can be saved in a format that can be read by a rapid prototyping machine which will then create a real-life model of the product.

“These computerised steps speed up the creation process, thus enabling the designer more time to focus on the technical aspects of the design rather than sketching and modelling manually,” he explained. “This allows for a better product proposal in a shorter amount of time.”

MIMOS’ strategic role

As Malaysia’s national applied R&D centre, MIMOS plays a strategic role in supporting the national development agenda by aligning its focus with the 4IR’s nine technology pillars.

MIMOS’ 4IR framework provides strategic responses for the nation with the following functions:

  • Policy advisory for 4IR: Advising the Government in developing policies relating to technologies that drive 4IR towards facilitating the nation’s aspirations in becoming a technology producer.
  • Strategic R&D: Carrying out government-driven research and development (R&D) programmes by developing technologies in critical government sectors such as national security, public safety, healthcare, energy, finance and agriculture. R&D activities are facilitated by five national R&D facilities hosted by MIMOS.
  • Technology venture and incubation: Boosting the growth of Malaysia’s home-grown industry towards becoming technology producers by establishing technology ventures from MIMOS technologies.
  • Shared services and collaboration: Providing a shared platform for initiatives such as advanced electrical and electronics, manufacturing centre of excellence, digital government, internet of things and augmented reality/virtual reality hub for R&D projects.
  • Capacity and capability building: Providing facilities, resources and expertise in supporting the Government in producing highly skilled workforce needed to face 4IR, chiefly through the establishment of the MIMOS University.

In this regard, the MIMOS Industrial Design (ID) department plays an important role not only to support its internal projects, but also to provide support and services to the industry in line with the Government’s initiatives.

The ID team was initiated in 2007 by Saharudin who was instrumental in creating a seven-year roadmap for the department.

Since then, the studio has carved a strong reputation as among top industrial design teams in the country. It has won a total of 60 awards at both international and national level design competitions, of which 15 were international and 45 were at national level. – Nov 21, 2020

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