SIGMA Makes the Move from 2D to 3D

September 20, 2005 | Comments


September 2005

“Everyone wants to use OneSpace Designer Modeling. Once they use it, they cannot do without it. Its easy to use and simple to learn, so all of the designers have moved off of 2D CAD and our products are now designed in 3D.”
Yosuke Yamazaki, Mechanical Design Division, SIGMA CORPORATION


The Challenges

  • 2D design processes couldn’t detect interference, and physical prototypes cost too much.
  • Isometric drawings proved time consuming and troublesome to produce.
  • 2D drawings couldn’t effectively communicate 3D product concepts and design issues.

The Solution

  • OneSpace Designer Modeling
  • Surfacing add-on module
  • Advanced Design add-on module

The Results

  • Time to market slashed 20 to 30%.
  • Virtual prototyping replaces physical prototyping for design verification.
  • Powerful surfacing capabilities add new shapes and forms to product design.
  • 3D product designs leveraged in downstream mold design and analysis.

Photographers who use SIGMA Corporation’s SD10 digital camera are impressed by its high-quality images and superb resolution.

It is a very popular camera among professional photographers around the world; the SD10 stands out from competing products by bringing an innovative approach to capturing life as we see it. With FOVEON X3, the worlds first three-layer direct image sensor, the SD10 captures all RGB colors at every pixel.

A few years ago, mechanical designers at the company used conventional 2D CAD. But as the company moved to offering cameras, decision makers saw an opportunity to separate its products from the box-shaped cameras already on the market by adding dimension and ergonomic surfacing to designs. For that, they would need 3D CAD.

In addition, a move to 3D would eliminate model interferences not being found during 2D design as well as non-engineers having difficulty visualizing product designs from flat 2D drawings instead of vivid 3D models.

SIGMA selected OneSpace Designer Modeling as their 3D tool, and engineering soon saw the effects:

  • Mechanical engineering and designers now work simultaneously on collaborative projects as a result of Designer Modeling’s dynamic modeling, or history-free, approach to 3D design.
  • Virtual processes to check the rough design now replace physical prototyping, saving both time and money.
  • Meetings across departments and with stakeholders are more productive as 3D models show all the product details and provide a complete picture, compared to 2D drawings which were hard for non-engineers to read.

The company also used two key add-ons: Surfacing and Advanced Design. CoCreate modules for Surfacing and Advanced Design plugged add-on power to the 3D design environment:

  • Surfacing capabilities create opportunities for stylized design not feasible with a 2D design process.
  • Utilize 3D model for analysis such as injection hydraulics analysis.
  • Advanced Design adds tools for the mold design of the products many plastic parts.

By the time the company developed the SD10, designers knew how to make the most of their 3D technology. The development of the SD10 was a big turning point, said Mr. Yosuke Yamazaki, who supervised 3D design at the Optical Engineering Dept.

For example, designers used parts and models from earlier products for design layout and easily modified those re-used parts to fit the new product.

In the end, the new 3D process streamlined product development and cut typical time to market by 20 to 30%. The new approach to design was so impressive, electronic, optical, and mold design departments made the move to 3D tools too.

All the designers who had used 2D CAD fell in love with CoCreates 3D software. “Everyone wants to use OneSpace Designer Modeling,” said Mr. Yamazaki. “Once they use it, they cannot do without it. Its easy to use and simple to learn, so all of the designers have moved off of 2D CAD and our products are now designed in 3D.”

The 3D models from Designer Modeling also played a new role in preparation of instruction manuals and assembly instructions.

An important part of the transition to 3D was the outstanding service SIGMA received from CoCreates reseller partner – OTSUKA Corporation. OTSUKAs staff helped SIGMA transition seamlessly to a 3D design process by answering questions as they came up and delivering functional enhancements that allowed SIGMA to customize Designer Modeling to their specific environment.

About Sigma Corporation

SIGMA Corporation is a successful optical device manufacturer that receives high praise for its interchangeable camera lenses. SIGMA optical products, the result of disciplined technological capabilities, consistently attract enthusiasts both in Japan and abroad.

The corporate name, Sigma is a Greek letter equivalent to “S” in English. This character represents a total sum in mathematics. Sigma symbolizes the company’s business approach of combining technology, knowledge, experience, and wisdom.

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