Research & Development
There are many interesting things that could be further developed in the CAD world. Some of the below things have been part of EU projects, small projects with universities and “home projects”, i.e. work has been done, and still is being done, in the spare time as a hobby. Some examples:
New Mathematics and Optimization Techniques for surface definition
The available mathematics (like NURBS) is not suited for surface definition. Free Form Surface Elements that are of a high quality should be used to define Surface Areas. Optimization Techniques should be used to put Surface Areas and Surfaces together.
Measurements on deformed surfaces, Deviation Objects
The CAD model is a nominal (perfect) model that never exists in reality. Some deformations (from gravitation, temperature, etc) are expected and not any errors of the product. Measured data has to be modified for such natural “nuisance errors”. One way to this is to modify the physical product itself. Use jacks to make an aircraft wing more like the nominal CAD model, make a special tool for the measurement of a thin sheet metal part, etc.
But such corrections can be made mathematically. The real errors should also not be just a table of deviations or a colored picture that represents the deviations. The result should be a Deviation Object (Model) that easily can be used in the CAD system for further analysis and to define corrective actions.
Big Point Clouds
Some types of measurement instruments generate large amounts of point coordinate data. Special database techniques must be used in order to be able to handle such large amounts of data efficiently. It is however for many (most) applications not at all necessary to store and use all this point data. There are smarter ways to do it.
Product data that is stored in computers are mainly Results Data, and not Method Data. Information about analysis that were made, alternative solutions that were analyzed and criteria that were used in the design process are seldom in any computer model. This information is in the heads of engineers and perhaps on paper. But it is this Method Data that is of interest when a similar product shall be developed!
Method Data can and should be stored in the form of Generic (Computer) Models!