Finding the right canopy for your walkway is not an easy task, especially if you believe in the theory that "one size does not fit all". From the choice of material to the area of placement, colors, cost, and design – a custom canopy demands a sense of uniqueness in designs – something that is visually appealing, well-functioning and yet matches your tastes. It needs complex design customization.
But design customization brings challenges to the table that are hard to resolve through manual drafting techniques. It involves repetitive work and time-consuming iterative processes. CAD platforms like AutoCAD, dedicated for 2D drawing and drafting, empower designers and manufacturers with high level of detailing and change tracking. Additionally, SolidWorks and Inventor offer creating 2D drawings that create a single source of truth for all stakeholders.
Challenges in designing a custom canopy
1. Multiple disparate specifications of canopy design
A custom canopy design often involves too many specifications related to material, manufacturing methods, tooling, etc. A designer might need to know the exact slope, sizing, spacing, and other relevant measurements beforehand whereas the fabricator might look for right tooling and material information.
2. GD&T for canopy
Since the fabrication and installation of custom canopies usually happen at separate places, communicating accurate information related to tolerances of different materials among designers, manufacturers, fabricators, and other stakeholders become challenging, leading to fitting issues at the time of assembly and installation.
3. Risk of heavy business losses even with minor errors
The most demanded canopy materials include the names of some of the expensive metals. A slight mistake in design, manufacturing, or assembly may lead to heavy losses. Hence, ensuring high-level precision and automation in a custom canopy design becomes a challenge for the designer.
3 Ways 2D CAD drawings overcome custom canopy drafting challenges
1. Makes reading symbols, annotations, and other details easier
A custom canopy design often involves a blend of information related to symbols, annotations, and other relevant details. From sizing, slope, spacing to frame, fabric, and design load- a lot of information needs to be put at one place for seamless communication among the stakeholders. 2D AutoCAD drawings serve this purpose really well.
It gives the designer an ability to showcase all details at one place – one sheet that can be passed among all stakeholders in an easy-to-read manner. It enables them to read symbols, fetch material specifications, go through various annotations seamlessly. Plus, many manufacturers prefer to use printed 2D CAD drawings due to the comfort factor, especially at remote sites or dusty shop floors. They are easy to carry, can be pinned on a board, and provide complete product details.
2. Drives seamless design communication
Design a custom canopy is not one-step process. It involves a significant contribution by varied stakeholders, including designers, engineers, fabricators, manufacturers, and more. 2D SolidWorks drafting ensures seamless design communication among all the stakeholders. It provides the designer with the right tools and controls to add complete canopy specifications within the drawing. The same drawing helps the manufacturer to extract relevant details easily and quickly, leading to reduced manufacturing losses.
Furthermore, designers willing to modify an older canopy design can leverage 2D CAD drawing tools to produce high-quality custom canopy drawings even for legacy components. Gone are the days when scanned copies of years older 2D drawings are shared with manufacturers that are hard to read and often miss a few parts.
3. Helps derive canopy designs out of 3D models
Nothing beats the happiness and comfort of reusing previously used designs. Making changes to an already approved design is much easier than starting from scratch all over again. Leveraging the same technique, designers can quickly derive high-quality custom canopy designs out of previously approved 3D CAD Inventor models, minimizing the chances of error at any stage of the production.
Imagine a manufacturer who just delivered an awesome walkway canopy for one of its clients. A few days later, the same client approaches him for another canopy request, but this time at a different place with different measurements. Since the canopy design remains the same and the manufacturer already has approved 3D models, the canopy can be delivered with little customization, accelerating the delivery of custom canopies while reducing the chance of errors.
In today's world of great disruption, customer experience acts as a key differentiator. Customers approaching the manufacturer with custom canopy requests often expect a faster yet error-free installation of the final product at their place. However, the involved complexities related to material, specifications, and design intent is pushing the furniture industry towards the CAD drawing platform – that helps automate designs, reduce errors, and improve communication.
With 2D CAD drawings, it's easy to overcome the most common challenges designers and manufacturers usually face with bespoke canopy requests. It empowers them with a unified platform that enables easy modification of drawings while offering exceptional data sharing capabilities.
Usha B. Trivedi is a mechanical design engineer at TrueCADD – a company invested in industrial CAD drafting, modeling, and design automation. Ms. Trivedi writes about solution finding approach in CAD and design automation challenges backed by her years of exploration in industrial designing in furniture, millwork, and metal fabrication designs.