The progress of the engineering industry from time immemorial can be broken down into three stages which are the :
The physical stage- were designs and manufacturing were done manually by hand, which dates back to the eras far before Christ
· The mechanical phase- designs and manufacturing processes were implemented with the use of machines or machine components and this dates back to civilization in Egypt as well as Rome
· The Computer Age- were designs, manufacturing, drafting and the coupling of mechanical/engineering components could be done with the use of robots and computers, programmed with software applications that could accomplish highly advanced tasks.
The computer age came early in the 19th century when engineers had started creating new equipments to help simplify all engineering tasks from structural to mechanical engineering and systems to electrical engineering. In all these engineering fields, a certain process was found to cut across all disciplines and this process was drafting because the electrical, mechanical, structural, civil, chemical and systems engineer needed to first draw any design plans or components before implementing or manufacturing them which led to the advent of computer aided design software applications.
How has CAD changed the Industry?
The creation of computer aided drafting applications has been hailed as one of the great engineering inventions of our time due to its wide spread use by engineers of all discipline because of the following reasons
Cost- the tried and tested traditional methods of drafting engineering designs and ideas by hand has come to be an expensive venture due to the fact that the engineer will need to purchase numerous equipment such as drafting paper—which had to be changed when drawing new plans--, drawing set, a standard board etc. and any error made, meant that the engineer had to restart the drafting process with new paper as well as new tools in some cases. But the use of CAD software eliminates all these hassles for with a computer and your installed software, an engineer can work as cheaply as possible without wasting any materials
Accuracy - the proverbial error due to parallax has been nullified with the advent of computer drafting software for its application tools measure lines and angles to the highest form of accuracy possible. This has simplified the workloads of engineers who no longer have to deal with the time and effort needed to search for and correct wrong dimensions.
Ease of networking - CAD applications such as the Building Information Modeling Systems has made it possible for multiple engineers located in different places, work on a particular project with all of them having the same tools, view and access to the project in question. This system also enables the transfer of files without the fear of loss and degradation that can occur to traditional drafting paper.
Realistic representations - drafting by hand was or is only capable of achieving a two-dimensional viewing of the structure been built which called for multiple drawings before all sides of the structure can be adequately represented. The use of CAD eliminated the time and resources that used to be wasted in trying to accomplish a realistic view when drawing by hand, by providing virtual tours, 3D representations and simulation of machine components and structures thereby simplifying the job of an engineer.
Creating job opportunities- today, higher institutions have specialized programs for the learning of computer aided drafting and companies/business organizations now hire architects, engineers and even interior decorators who are proficient in CAD use, the high demand for CAD professionals can arguably be said to be the greatest revolutionary benefit of the invention of Computer aided design software.