miércoles, 13 de junio de 2012

One step further for Humankind (and designers, of course)

When I was about to finish my college years, I didn´t really knew what career to study and it took me about a year to decide about Electromechanics Engineering. Now, I’m pretty sure I’ve ever knew. I have to mention that my first Top ONE toy I’ve ever had was a Space Lego kit, and that was 31 years ago, my parents bought it to me precisely during our vacations in Orlando; the year the firs Space Shuttle Mission was launched (1981). Among other toys that I had, I must say that both Lego’s and, sometime later, the Fischertechnik that my father got from God knows where, have decided my destination. My five years at the university were really tough and I really suffered with all that mathematics and many other abstract theories I was though.
Since my youth years, I’ve been fascinated about NASA’s Space Shuttle Missions. I was 11 years old when the Space Shuttle Challenger had the terrible accident and that shocked me a lot.
Tribute to Space Shuttle Challenger and Columbia

I had the lucky to start my professional career working at an automotive part supplier for the big OEM’s in the Engineer Design Department. And so began all my love and passion for mechanical design and 3D modeling. As mentioned in my previous post, I started to use ProENGINEER CAD software to develop engine components and assemblies, and validate the manufacturability of those parts. After designing and developing many parts I became Project Leader and that was the time when all the revolution of PDM and PLM started to play a big role for many manufacturing companies. We dedicated almost two years to know, learn and benchmark the 10 big PLM suppliers at that time and well, the winner is not worth to mention (by me) but the experience of getting deep into this world full of terms, activities, workflows, etc., was pretty much exiting.

Then, suddenly another bad news. February 1st 2003 in the morning, The Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed while re-entering the atmosphere after 16-day mission in space. I was then older and much more conscious about the accident but still in shock. I’ve been trying to follow up what NASA is been doing ever since, specially all Space Shuttle Missions with Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavour and of course the International Space Station (ISS). I do know how an airplane flies and still I can’t believe how a big metal can floats on air (especially when I’m in). Therefore, watching every time how a Spacecraft lifts off from ground is really unbelievable, or how they maneuver to dock with the ISS, do their work and come back to safe-land on earth is much more amazing.

When NASA Tehc Briefs named PTC’s CREO Parametric design software the “Product of the Month” and then “Product of the Year” in 2011, I really thought something special as two of my biggest passions could live together and depend one in each other. Last year on September 2011 I had the opportunity to visit Kennedy Space Center at Orlando, Fl. And despite there were not so much activity that day, I was thrilled when I saw the Assembly Vehicle Building and the Launch Pads. Not to mention the great exhibition halls and the Saturn V museum.

I’m pretty sure NASA’s design engineers works not only with CREO, but also with other CAD and analysis tools. But just trying to imagine how they put men on the moon before CAD tools first appear, wow!!! That I can’t believe. Now I’m a very big fan of NASA’s Mars Mission and Rovers exploration. I wish the best of landings to the Mars Space Lab named Curiosity in a few weeks from today. After a 9 months journey to its new home.
This post is dedicate to my wife and daughters who made this vacation trip possible. I Love you girls.

jueves, 7 de junio de 2012

Spreading the word CAD

I would like to thank MCADCafe for the invitation to participate in their Blog section. I’m excited to write my first post for this new blog which I expect to generate a lot of interest among the CAD community. As stated in my brief Bio, I’m a Mexican CAD enthusiast by heart and an electromechanical engineer by profession. Most of my experience is based in the product design field within the automotive industry related to engine components and assemblies designs.

Since those times, I started my career using ProENGINEER v16 modeling parts and assemblies and making product drawings as well. My point is, I didn’t imagine the powerful tool I had in my hands. Everything seemed to be so easy and if anything couldn’t be designed, that was for sure due to human limitation or simple ignorance on how to use the software. I should be grateful that at least I still used big desks, paper and ink to learn Technical Drawing at school, back in 1993.

Now and from the last and a half year, I’ve been working as an Application Engineer and Trainer for a VAR Company for PTC MCAD products, getting the chance to know deeper the Mexican manufacturing industry and learning from them the level of use of CAD tools. Regarding that, I should say that there is a whole lot to learn about best practices and the correct use of the design software in relation to the different manufacturing processes that we have. Not to mention that Mexico is in majority a manufacturing country for big international companies. There is only a few small and mid-level companies who are in the way of a really engineer design process.

As I witnessed the evolution of ProE versions, from v20 through all Wildfire ones and finally with the arrive of Creo Parametric 2.0, I would say that development engineers at PTC have done a great job. I deliver Creo training for most of the modules and every time I still get impressed of what the software can do for us.

With all this experience and thoughts in my mind, I look to other countries and see the big advantage they have over engineer design in Mexico, my lovely country. Therefore, as an engineer, designer and most of all, as Mexican, I’m concern about the growth and development of our manufacturing market from the creative and invention point of view. There is a big urgency to develop good Mexican products which could be distributed worldwide that really have conceptualized, calculated, design and develop by Mexicans minds. Of course there are some, or few, or many, but for some reason, this beautiful country is indeed not yet recognized as a big country for developers. I hope not to harm some feelings, but we don’t really have an iconic technological (mechanical, electric/electronic, medical, just to mention some examples) product around the world, as many other countries do.

Now I’m sure we are on our way to develop big things. But the most important thing to develop in the first place, is our human potential and our creative abilities. So for that reason I would love to be read by all of my colleagues and thanks again for the great forum to post my blog at MCADCafe.

miércoles, 6 de junio de 2012

Dreaming on Desing at a nice place

Cathedral San Francisco de Asis
Trying to find some inspiration for my new post, I find myself at the main Plaza in the beautiful and historic city of Querétaro, México. Lots of people enjoying a nice afternoon and hearing the Cathedral bells calling for the next mass... Some raindrops are starting to fall over my phone but nobody seems to care about that.

Its a melancholic afternoon for me since I´ve missed PlanetPTC 2012 at Orlando, and because I find myself away from home and family due to a training CAD class I'm delivering outside my home city. Now I think I've found my imspiration...

Sitting here at the main Plaza I just wonder how people use to design things some decades ago without the use of CAD tools. Nowadays I tell and teach my students some engineering technics to take advantage of design and analisis software and some keep strugling to do things faster... faster?, what does that mean? one year, one month, one week, one day, one hour, one mouse click. It all depends at which era do you happend to born.

Mechanical CAD design is now a must for any engineering student which pretend to make things happend or who will to bring any new product to life.

Besides of engineering basics and some master degree at any specific topic, there should alwas be a CAD training in mind. Regardles the sofware, designers must follow a learning path in order to succed in the product design field. And this training path should be necesary followed in a specific sequence: basic > intermediate > advance.

There is a big problem trying to teach students in an advance training class when they barely know basic commands or, even worse, when they are not mechanical or industrial engineers. Some companies, at least in my lovely country, still doing such bad habit of sending principiants (maybe technicians, or drafters) to advanced training hoping they get back to work with new pro abilities and ready to bring solutions to daily problems. 

Desing is definitely not for anyone. It requires certain abilities of great creativity and imagination to foresee new things where already are and new posibilities to improve others. Engineering designs are meant to improve or help humandkind while Industrial desings are meant to make things look better. They are not apart one from the other, in fact they complement each other. Computer Assisted Design tools facilitate designers to achieve their goals as easily as possible, by doing nice concepts, functional designs, validation, digital prototyping, tooling and manufacturing preprocesses. Even though CAD software seems easy to use, there should always be a good designer (mechanical or industrial) behind the wheel who should put his/hers experience on the table to get what the market asks for.

Old fashion design and brand new techniques are not against each other. Take al look at this example of a very nice design of a public lamp in the middle of an historic colonial plaza. Its fascinating to find such things around us and learn they can get along and look good.
Lamp at Centro Histórico, Querétaro.
Hope you enjoyed this post and hope to receive some comments. See you!