CAD Software Blog


Explore and Evaluate More Design Ideas Faster

by Geoff Hedges

If life were like a PowerPoint slide, you would step through the design process something like this:

  1. Define a problem
  2. Generate lots and lots of ideas
  3. Pick one
  4. Model the solution
  5. Prototype

The problem arises when you arrive at step 4. Engineers often can’t and shouldn’t shut down the idea machine (step 2) just because modeling has begun. In Stanford University’s Introduction to Design Thinking, the authors write, “In making something you come to points where decisions need to be made; this encourages new ideas to come forward.”

So is it back to the sticky notes and brainstorming pit of step 2? More likely the engineer will capture the idea (or ideas) by modeling it in the CAD system and then bring it to a design review.

By modeling the idea, the engineer can communicate clearly and effectively how the new idea would better solve a certain problem. He or she can even show how it compares to a model of the old idea.

None of this is life-changing news to anybody who works in product development. But with the new PTC Creo Design Exploration Extension (DEX) we’ve made the process more deliberate and friendly to developing new ideas at any time during digital modeling.


Here’s how it might work: Create a new model (or more likely load an old one that you plan to update). Add the new company logo and bracing system for a new release. Suddenly you realize that you can save weight by removing material from the braces. So, you checkpoint the current model and then create a branch using PTC Creo DEX. Design the lighter braces. Checkpoint the model again. Now specify a stronger composite and remove even more material, just to see what that would look like.

In the end, you have three variations on the braces that need to be evaluated for structural integrity, cost tradeoffs, manufacturability, etc. This is where you’ll probably want to share your ideas with other team members.

In the past, you might have had to create different files for each variation of your idea. But with PTC Creo DEX, you can click from checkpoint to checkpoint. This makes discussion at design reviews easier. Plus, it means no matter how your team decides to proceed—all your ideas are captured with the original model.

With PTC Creo DEX, you explore design ideas safely, without risking original designs or committing to any change. You can simultaneously develop different ideas and evaluate all your options before making decisions. Plus, the new extension eliminates manual data duplication and time lost at meetings waiting for different versions to load and reload.

Best of all, it encourages talented engineers to explore more ideas because they no longer have the overhead of organizing and managing every bright idea that comes to them during product design.

To find out more, visit the PTC Creo Design Exploration Extension page. And watch this blog for demos and related news.

Ed- Watch this technical tutorial to PTC Creo DEX for a step-by-step introduction to the key capabilities. For 700+ free PTC Creo tutorials, visit the PTC University Learning Exchange today.



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