2D Sales Drawings
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A 2D Sales Drawing is a complete 2D CAD drawing of a component, machine or configuration, including fully dimensioned plan and elevation views. They are called ‘Sales Drawings’ because their purpose is to support online sales activity from an industrial supplier website. They can be generated automatically from 3D models which might be static models or newly created product model configurations. Obviously if the 3D models are static, the 2D drawings can be too. But if the 3D model is created in a configurator to suit a customer’s exact and possibly unique requirements then the 2D Drawing is also unique and must be generated automatically.
Industrial Engineers usually design in 3D and download 3D models of parts (for example, a motor or a gearbox) or components (for example, a gear or a bearing) to incorporate within their 3D designs. As the Business Advantage CAD Trends surveys show 3D modelling is the top trend in CAD but it is not replacing 2D Drawings (the second most important trend) either now or in the next 5 years. As the graph below shows, use of 3D modelling will continue to gradually increase, but use of 2D drawings will remain constant. We will explain why in the next question answer below, but the key point is that Engineers and others (for example, Buyers, Contract administrators, legal teams, facility managers, architects and structural engineers) need 2D drawings too.
1. 2D drawings are still in wide use because they are excellent for fast communication. 2D is more intuitive than 3D, readily incorporates scale, dimensions, tolerances and coordinates and is more readily included in documents, whereas a CAD system or viewer is usually needed to use 3D CAD models.
2. Customers need them, so provide them, especially if generating them can be wholly automated at little or no extra cost. Most customers need 3D models to perform design analysis, visualization, or clash detection and in augmented reality applications but they also need 2D drawings for shop floor requirements, collaborating with outside suppliers, incorporating in RFQs, purchase orders, contract documents, facility construction and management drawings. The hybrid approach of offering both for viewing or downloading from your product or part detail pages, in an automated and hence interoperable way helps your customers switch from 2D to 3D seamlessly.
3. They increase customers’ productivity. 3D CAD model downloads save designers time (download rather than draw from scratch) and get your products ‘designed-in’. 2D Sales Drawings save many other people time and improve customer operating processes such as manufacturers’ collaboration with their supply chain partners.
4. They increase the effectiveness of your CAD marketing. Enhance and expand the effectiveness of your 3D CAD models (see Digital Marketing with CAD – Get the FAQs) as sales and marketing content by also offering 2D CAD downloads – both types of CAD collectively deliver more sales leads.
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