Dave Chadwick has been with Solid Edge from the very beginning, and many of you may recognize him from the numerous excellent resources he provides both live and right here on the community. (Check out some of his past blog posts here!) I got a chance to speak with him recently about his upcoming session at Solid Edge University in Phoenix on June 5th. Dave will be covering “Fast Creation of Interactive Technical Documentation using Solid Edge Technical Publications” complete with demonstrations and tips. We’ll learn more about Dave and what to expect from his presentation in today’s post.
Dave started at Intergraph in 1988 (predating Solid Edge), and has worked with SE throughout its whole history. He began as an application engineer specializing in data management, and in the 30 years since, he has had the pleasure of working on a number of exciting projects such as the third-party program Voyager, which many of you longtime Edgers will recognize. He was a member of product marketing for a number of years before recently moving to a role in business development, where his focus is now on communicating the strengths of the Solid Edge portfolio. “It’s not just 3D CAD,” Dave points out, “but these other applications like simulation, manufacturing, technical publications and data management which provide value across the product lifecycle.”
As mentioned earlier, Dave will be presenting interactive technical documentation during a Knowledge Theater session at SEU Phoenix this year. The difference between a traditional presentation and a Knowledge Theater is that the latter is shorter, about 25 minutes long, and features a more informal setting that lends itself to fun dialogue and discussions afterward.
Dave plans to address the trend where increasingly the 3D model is used as the basis for creating technical publications today. “In the past, you might cut and paste an image of a part or an assembly into a document, or insert 2D drawings of a product into a document. Today, the trend is all about using your 3D model,” Dave explains. “You embed the 3D model into the document, which allows for rendering and the ability to provide more information. You can create animations of how the product works, see the parts moving. That is going to be a big theme of my talk, using the 3D model.” Connected to this idea is the MBD or model-based definition concept, which Dave will also delve into. “I’ll be talking about some recent industry research on the benefits of using the model-based definition approach.”
If, like me, you are not that familiar with technical publications in Solid Edge, you will appreciate Dave’s explanation of them. “Technical publications are all about how you communicate your product designs,” he says. “From an internal point of view, that could mean the best way to assemble your product on the shop floor; we call those manufacturing instructions. That is one example. The other main area where we see technical publications used is when the product gets in the hands of customers, whether that be creating installation guides that show how to install the machine, if the product in question is a machine, or a maintenance guide to ensure that customers know how to maintain it. That’s really important, because if [the machine] is maintained correctly, it will perform as designed, whereas if it is not, you will run into problems.”
Another area where technical publications are used is for spare parts catalogues. For manufacturing companies, the aftermarket business is an important source of income. “Say a customer has been running a machine for some time, they may need to buy spare parts for repair,” Dave says. “If you as a manufacturer can provide easy ways for them to find what they need, such as an online catalogue where they can search easily and buy spare parts, they are more likely to come back to you. That is an important business for manufacturing companies.”