Marketing for Manufacturers: How to Provide 3D CAD Models from your Website
In just a few easy steps you can hook your fans up with easy to access 3D CAD Models in native formats
The internet has come a long way since the days of Prodigy and AOL, back when a website was a digital version of a business’ brochure. Sure, all of the facts were there, and all of the bases were covered: “About Us,” “What We Do,” and “Contact US.” But, in the twenty or so years since, people have come to expect much more from your website.
You want something from them and their business and many times they want something from you. This can often be as simple as knowledge or ideas, but many times they are after much more detailed and specific information about what you sell and do. Visitors to your website want all of the facts they can find in a simple and concise way.
If you’re a manufacturer of products you’ve probably found that the “facts” they’re after is digital information about your products for use within a larger design. Engineers scour the web looking for 3D CAD models, 3D representations of the parts they need for a design. They actually spend hours hunting for the parts they need and, believe it or not, that’s considered a time saving activity compared to redrawing the parts from scratch.
So how do you get the parts on your website?
Sure, your engineers could post your manufacturing drawings on the net, but wouldn’t that be bad? You don’t want to share “the insides” of your product, that’s your intellectual property (IP), and to be honest, engineers don’t need any of that data for their layout anyway.
You could pay your engineering team to create these models internally. They would have to re-draw form, fit and function models (aka. dumb solids) of your products, essentially creating 3D representations of your products without the IP. The drawback here is twofold. First, it takes a vast amount of time for your engineering team to create these 3D parts. That time is much better spent doing real engineering work, like creating new products and designs. Second, the 3D CAD models will only be available in the CAD platform your team uses. For example if your company designs with Solid Works, you’ll be available to provide models in that format and a few other “generic” formats. Unfortunately, this will only help a small fraction of your audience; there are about a dozen primary platforms and over a hundred other CAD formats engineers use to design.
Finally, you can team up with 3D CAD model experts to help you provide the service ALL of your customers need. When your digital part catalog is created with the help of a provider you, and your customers, reap the benefits. First, your engineering team is not being used to create the parts so their workload is minimally affected by the project. Since the 3D CAD model experts are creating the models, your engineers will mostly be used to check and approve that the parts are accurate. Next, the models created will be form, fit and function models, no internal detail to compromise your IP and a much more lightweight model for the engineer (that’s a good thing). The best part? Since the models are designed “outside” of any standard CAD tool the 3D CAD models will be available in more than 150 native and neutral formats. Meaning every visitor to your site can download in their exact preferred format.
Seems like an easy decision. Don’t leave your visitors out in the cold, provide them with the data they need in the format they want. The only question now is how will you proceed?
To see how other manufacturers have approached the challenge of providing 3D CAD models online, check out our success stories: www.cadenas.de/ecatalogsolutions/customers/success-stories
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