Leadership Toward Improved Design Methodology
In 2003, I decided to move from AutoCAD to Autodesk Inventor as my primary design tool. This included abandoning the automation and macros that I had put in place to improve efficiency in AutoCAD.
Since then, my work in the wastewater treatment and minerals processing industries has given me plenty of opportunity to design several equipment lines using parametric 3D design software. I have developed standards and configured the software for two global organizations. I have also been a personal and corporate trainer in 3D design software and data-management platforms since 2005.
I have been able to apply certain principles and tools to equipment, based on each individual circumstance. I pushed efforts to standardize equipment as much as possible. In some cases, however, the nature of the equipment demanded custom design per project. In some of those cases, I was able to drive models from engineering calcs from Excel. I did this by tying model parameters to output variables from the engineering calcs and modeling in such a way that the equipment could drastically change size without imploding the model. These efforts reduced the amount of design time on each equipment project from the standard eight weeks to under one week. In fact, excluding the time it took to clean up fabrication drawings, we were often able to produce general arrangements for the equipment in the same day it was requested…all reflecting specific customer inputs.
As my role began to shift more into a manager directing the work of others, I began exploring and eventually implemented a data-management platform. This has allowed multiple group members to collaboratively develop the design of equipment and plants. It also provides a means for me to distribute the workload more evenly among group members and monitor their progress.
Since 2009 I have also used SolidWorks extensively as a design tool as required by certain projects.