There are few processes quite as difficult as moving an idea from a concept to a working physical result. The effort and expense associated with taking the leap from the drawing board to the brick and board, so to speak, makes it critical that the planning and design tools be as efficient and powerful as possible.
The pitfalls of this transition from idea to reality are found in almost any field that produces a tangible product. But there are certain industries with more pronounced complexity in making their dreams come to life, and there have been some interesting technological responses to that need.
Architecture & Construction
Is there anything more difficult to imagine than a building? All the blueprints and artist’s renderings in the world won’t necessarily enable the expectant occupants to get the feel for how rooms flow, what special features will do, or even which rooms will be best illuminated by the sun.
Also critical in construction is the ability to hit the figurative emergency brake when problems materialize. To do that effectively, construction managers must be able to track construction progress accurately and know what changes are still possible to address an unanticipated problem. There are new tools on the market to facilitate this. Procore software, for example, permits construction managers and other key players to monitor construction progress carefully and accurately in real time. As a result, when glaring sun beams strike an area planned for cool-running electronic equipment, for example, change orders can be put in motion before it’s too late.
Art and Design
One of the first fields to begin solving its planning-to-performance conflicts was graphic design. Unless the design is incredibly simple, there is considerable difficulty in predicting how colors will mesh together, how the varying inks or other materials will interact, and the overall impact of the design.
While the earliest software for this enterprise was effective, newer systems permit simpler recoloring, pattern changes, and even the incorporation of 3D. The result is fewer test runs through the printers, screens, and vinyl cutters, reducing costs and accelerating turnaround time. In addition, the movement of designs via the Cloud or other sharing methods permit various stakeholders in locations around the world to view and update the design before the final process begins.
There is probably no common consumer good that is more expensive to produce than a single vehicle from a new design. When the design is ready to become a prototype, engineers often utilize existing drive trains and build on the same platform to reduce costs.
Even so, there is massive expense associated with fabricating a new body style, new interior components, and all the other unique features of a vehicle. During that hands-on phase, designers can encounter style or functional issues that create setbacks. While these are often anticipated through clay model construction, there are some things that won’t show themselves until builders get an actual vehicle underway.
To reduce these expenses and delays, automotive designers rely heavily on computer software to construct and animate cars before ever putting them on wheels.