The Competitive Advantages of CAD-PLM Integration

Wednesday, September 12, 2012Categories: Apparel/Fashion, Blog, CAD, PLM, Software

Many designers operate in different CAD environments. Data exchanges between CAD (computer-aided design) and PLM (product lifecycle management) software are not always smooth and sometimes impossible. But there are significant advantages to be realized when CAD and PLM systems are tightly integrated.

Minimize Errors

Designers, brand owners and manufacturers operate day-to-day in extremely dynamic environments. While the product is undergoing development, there can be significant changes to forecasts, designs and marketing plans. If CAD and PLM systems are not tightly integrated, these changes must be updated manually within each system – a process that is not only time consuming but error prone.

Within the CAD system, markers and patterns are stored in a relational database to facilitate native integration. With integrated CAD and PLM systems, when markers and patterns are edited and saved in the CAD system, they automatically refresh data in the PLM system. In addition, non-CAD operators can access images, data and costing information that is traditionally available only by workers in the CAD domain.

Improve Collaboration

Every pattern includes an enormous amount of technical information that must be shared with manufacturers to generate accurate costing scenarios, create samples, and ultimately, manufacture the product. To ensure accurate and consistent fit when products are sourced from diverse suppliers in several locations around the world, the designer must provide one set of properly engineered patterns. When involved parties have visibility into pattern data during the development and sourcing process they are better able to reduce waste and maximize fabric utilization.

Generate Accurate Costing Estimates

When designers are able to take advantage of data, like material yield, for example, which is resident in their pattern design and marking CAD system, and directly populate bill of material fields in the PLM system, they are able to generate more accurate costing estimates, eliminate redundant work and minimize errors.

Uphold Quality

Patternmakers or technical designers typically create finished garment measurements using powerful measurement tools in the CAD system. During the development process, being able to take graded specifications from the CAD system and use them in the PLM system is a considerable time saver and means more true to fit garments.

Accurate information exchange is critical to maintaining a “single version of the truth” during product development and manufacturing. Instantaneous and accurate information flow between CAD and PLM systems speeds the development process, reduces costs, avoids errors in production and upholds consistency in product quality and fit.