Another interesting article on model centric design – A landmark study from Aberdeen Group reports that 85% of the current CAD users still primarily use 2D drafting. This astonishing statistic means that most companies use CAD software as a drafting tool to create orthographic views to represent 3D objects.

Although drawings aren’t likely to disappear completely (and there’s a legitimate argument that they shouldn’t – see secret #2 of the whitepaper “5 Secrets for Making the Model-Based Enterprise a Reality“) it’s clear that CAD data is not being used as efficiently as it could be and there is a lot of manual and duplicate effort involved in creating and maintaining the 2D drawings.

The article goes on to say:

“most manufacturers still receive 2D drawings from their customers. In many cases they recreate the 3D models from the 2D drawing to program their CNC machine tools.” 

This approach tends to be error prone and the manufacturer fails to take advantage of the rich 3D dataset that could have been provided by the customer from the outset.

It seems that 2D drawings are still very much entrenched within the manufacturing community and, for better or for worse, manufacturers Can’t Avoid Drawings.