Satisfying user needs from product design to manufacturing, ZW3D plays an indispensable role in ZWSOFT’s all-in-one CAx strategy. What are the thinking, technologies and unforgettable stories behind ZW3D? Let’s follow William Li, the Technical Director of ZW3D and Joh Li, the R&D Director of ZW3D, to probe into ZW3D, the all-in-one CAD/CAM solution. [su_youtube url="https://youtu.be/YFCKR3yS5u0" width="800" title="All-in-one CAx Interview: ZW3D, the Integrated CAD/CAM to Unleash Productivity"] The text version is also ready for you to seize the details of the interview.
Hi William and Joh. I am glad to have you here. Could you briefly introduce yourselves? [su_spoiler title="Click to view the answer" style="fancy" icon="chevron-circle"] W: Yes, of course. Hello everyone, I am William Li, Director of the ZW3D Technical Team. I am in charge of technical support and product management of ZW3D. As I used to be a designer of product structure and mold, I can deeply understand the needs of our users so as to help the R&D team in product development. J: Hello everyone, I am Joh Li, Director of the ZW3D R&D Team. In the past 21 years, I have been witnessing the growth of ZWSOFT and working on the product development of our CAD/CAM solutions. In 2011, ZWSOFT acquired VX Corporation, and I was asked to head the R&D teams in Guangzhou and the U.S., responsible for the product development of ZW3D. The past decade is the most unforgettable and fruitful period in my career. [/su_spoiler] During your career of CAD/CAM technical support and R&D, what are your unforgettable moments? [su_spoiler title="Click to view the answer" style="fancy" icon="chevron-circle"] W: The most unforgettable moment would be the customer visit in 2018. There was a Malaysian customer who bought 10 licenses of ZW3D. He shared an interesting story that he once demonstrated his work designed with ZW3D to a British client, who was surprised at ZW3D and asked for its information. This visit makes me understand that a good product will be known by users from mouth to mouth. J: For me, two things impressed me the most. The first is the perseverance of our U.S. R&D team. From young to old, they’ve experienced two financial crises and the tenure of 6 U.S. presidents, but they still insist on the product development of ZW3D for over 30 years, laying a solid foundation for ZW3D. The second is the collaboration between the R&D teams in the U.S. and China. They together overcame many difficulties and made ZW3D what it is today. [/su_spoiler] What do you think of the relationship between product and R&D teams? [su_spoiler title="Click to view the answer" style="fancy" icon="chevron-circle"] W: In my opinion, product managers collect and analyze user needs and provide suggestions for product development accordingly. Developing ZW3D is like climbing the mountain. The product managers are the eyes of the climber while the R&D teams are the legs. They are both indispensable. J: I believe that product managers and R&D teams cooperate closely. They ensure that the products they develop are what the users want from different perspectives. I’d like to compare their relationship to the one between the conductor and the orchestra. They cooperate closely to present a wonderful concert to the audience. [/su_spoiler]
How can a 3D CAD/CAM solution be counted as excellent? [su_spoiler title="Click to view the answer" style="fancy" icon="chevron-circle"] W: In my view, a good CAD/CAM solution should be stable, full-featured and applicable to different industries. Besides, it should integrate design, simulation and machining into one system. In this way, companies don't have to switch to different platforms when facing different work, and engineers can also save a lot of time learning software. That's the goal of ZW3D too. We are working hard to enhance its modeling, designing, simulation and machining capabilities, as well as the ability to be part of the all-in-one CAx solution. J: First, it should have powerful functions to meet more and more complex design needs. Second, the interface and workflow should be simple and clear with strong contextual relevance, helping users finish design work efficiently. Third, it should be customizable in usage as well as functions with the help of APIs. [/su_spoiler] What’re the highlights of ZW3D 2020? [su_spoiler title="Click to view the answer" style="fancy" icon="chevron-circle"] W: ZW3D 2020 follows the improvement direction of the 2019 version. It's the second annual version of our 3-year plan, aiming to tackle more complex model design. For example, improvements of file backup, Auto Drafting, Rough Offset, and optimized rules for assembly are the CAD highlights. In addition, we enhanced and added many efficient functions for mold and electrode design. For the CAM module, except for improving the ease of use and the safety and stability of the toolpaths, we have also added the Full Machine Simulation. I believe that all the above will deliver a brand-new experience to our users.[/su_spoiler] Why “tackling more complex product design” is chosen as the R&D direction of ZW3D? [su_spoiler title="Click to view the answer" style="fancy" icon="chevron-circle"] W: On one hand, with the expansion of our product capabilities, more companies choose ZW3D. They may come from different industries including automobile manufacturing, large assembly, shipbuilding, etc. These companies have higher requirements for design ability. So, this goal meets their needs. On the other hand, it is a higher requirement we set for ourselves. We must work towards a more powerful ZW3D to better satisfy our users. However, upgrading the software to deal with more complex models doesn't mean that ZW3D will become “bloated”. The modeling ability will, of course, be more robust, but at the same time, we will continue to make it easy to use. I think there is no contradiction between “complex” and “easy” here. J: First, we revamped our mechanisms for feature history and attribute management, which made both labeling and label matching stabler and more efficient, realizing more robust regeneration. We also made feature roll-back quicker before editing. After editing, regeneration can be done optionally to improve efficiency. Second, we applied parallelization to more algorithms to utilize multi-core and increasingly powerful CPU computing power, such as the underlying intersection algorithm, and the upper Boolean operation algorithm and triangulation algorithm. Third, we did a lot of work to improve assembly constraint management and top-down design capability. In the coming years, we will keep making efforts in these areas.[/su_spoiler]
How do you see ZWSOFT’s all-in-one CAx strategy? [su_spoiler title="Click to view the answer" style="fancy" icon="chevron-circle"] W: All-in-one CAx is the strategy of ZWSOFT, as well as the requirement from our customers. In the future, simulation-driven design and manufacture will be more and more popular. If CAx data is compatible and simulation software is more easy-to-use, more designers will use simulation solutions to guide design, which will not waste time, but enable more efficient and accurate design. I think that's the reason why ZWSOFT will insist on all-in-one CAx strategy in the future.[/su_spoiler] The last question today, how will ZW3D be developed under the all-in-one CAx strategy? [su_spoiler title="Click to view the answer" style="fancy" icon="chevron-circle"] J: The ultimate goal of the all-in-one CAx strategy is to deliver a unified solution to tackle interdisciplinary engineering issues. In the next 3 to 5 years, we will do the following work to support this strategy. The first is to expand both horizontal and vertical capabilities of ZW3D for different industries, such as high-continuity shape design for complex products, mechatronics design, pipe design, electrical wire design, etc., to support larger-scale applications, bigger scenarios, more complex assemblies, and different vertical industries and fields. Second, we will integrate different CAE solutions into ZW3D seamlessly, realizing the associated data update for design and simulation and making them all-in-one in the true sense. Third, we are going to extend the CAD/CAM solution to a PLM system, connecting tools of various disciplines, and enabling different roles in the product life cycle and engineers in different stages to collaborate efficiently. In short, in the next 3 to 5 years, our main task is to enhance the ability of ZW3D, to cope with higher-intensity use in more scenarios.[/su_spoiler] Integrating 3D CAD and CAM and acting as the foundation for CAE solutions, ZW3D is ready to play an active role in ZWSOFT’s all-in-one CAx strategy, to help more engineers unleash productivity. However, there is no royal road to developing a good product that satisfies diverse user needs. Luckily, our heroes, the technical and R&D teams, keep working on it dedicatedly and tirelessly. Big thanks to them! And I would also thank you for taking the time to know more about ZW3D. Welcome your comments, the important voices to make ZW3D better. Stay tuned with our next interview with the CADbro team. See you then! Other interviews of this series: All-in-one CAx Interview: CAD Pockets, Mobile CAD at Your Hand All-in-one CAx Interview: ZWCAD, so Familiar yet so Different