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A new CAD solution for designing with fabrics and composite materials [VIDEO]

Article by Rod Mackay created/updated July 26, 2014

Designing with fabrics

Furniture designed with SolidWorks

As a SOLIDWORKS Designer there may come a time when your product design requires you to work with industrial fabrics or composites. You’ve got your SOLIDWORKS 3D design and now you need to determine how to cover it in the required fabric or composite material, produce patterns for manufacturing, and calculate the cost involved.

Issues with current software solutions when designing with fabrics

For most designers the task of designing with fabrics often creates the following issues:

  • Disconnected Process – files must be moved from one system to another to complete the fabric design, with inevitable loss of data integrity and limiting the opportunities to accelerate downstream activity from upstream inputs.
  • Complex Workflow – computer-enabled digital workflows are often interrupted by manual processes (e.g. creating flat patterns, costing) which slows overall design speed, limits your flexibility, and can increase your costs.
  • Poor Collaboration – various manufacturing skill sets are spread across separate platforms which limits team collaboration and also requires the maintenance of multiple product licenses.

These challenges add considerable time, money and effort, limiting the very elements that lead to your competitive advantage: fixed cost containment, flexible production, and streamlined design processes.

process-gaps-diagram

Lastly – and perhaps most importantly – CAD tools that are being using now for fabric design are poorly suited to the tasks at hand or have not evolved significantly in many years. Leading solid modelling 3D CAD packages are rich in features and function, however they are not optimized for industrial fabrics and sewn products in general, and many of the 3D CAD-based offerings purpose-built for industrial fabrics are not the best solution.

Enter ExactFlat: a Fabric & Composites Add-in for SOLIDWORKS

ExactFlat is the first product on the market to integrate 3D design, 3D-to-2D flattening, nesting, and costing with SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software. Have a look at the demonstration below to get a full overview:

ExactFlat allows SOLIDWORKS designers to:
  1. Work within SOLIDWORKS – sewn product features can now be parametrically defined and fully linked from 3D design, to 2D flat pattern, to nesting, and costing.
  2. Collaborate with the design team – design, data, and creativity are on one platform, bringing excellence, speed and flexibility to fabric design, prototyping, and production.
  3. Work Faster – take your 3D designs directly into production – ready flat patterns in minutes – not days or weeks – using the most advanced algorithms for industrial fabrics, within a software tool you already know.
  4. Minimize material costs – integrated automated nesting. You can now go from CAD-to-Cutter faster and more easily, than ever before

process-exactflat

Features and Benefits

ExactFlat Design Studio works inside SOLIDWORKS CAD software and brings exceptional productivity benefits to users – up to 400% faster or twice the amount of work in half the allotted time for many design tasks.

Sewn Product Design Tools

ExactFlat for SOLIDWORKS enables you to design Fabric and Solid components on one platform with tools tailored for both material types. An industry first.

3D-to-2D Fabric Flattening

Take 3D designs directly into production – ready flat patterns in minutes – not days or weeks – using the most advanced algorithms for industrial fabrics, within a software tool you already know.

Nesting

Minimize material costs with integrated automated nesting – another industry first. Nesting integrated into a leading CAD package and parametrically linked to 3D designs. You can now go from CAD-to-Cutter faster and more easily, than ever before.

Real-Time Costing

As you design ExactFlat will price the job for you. Everyone (Accounting, Sales, Design, Purchasing and Production) can know the cost down to the level of each part in real time. It is business intelligence that leads to intelligent business.

ExactFlat in action

ExactFlat in action

Get more information

To learn more about this new solution for designing with fabrics you can visit our ExactFlat microsite, or fill out the form below and we will contact you:

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Rod Mackay

Rod has been using 3D CAD software for over 25 years and has trained thousands of designers to use their CAD systems more effectively. Rod is the Javelin Webmaster and is based in Ottawa, ON., Canada.

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