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3-D computing a big boon.

3-D computing a big boon

Use of 3-D computer workstations and networks helps to increase employee productivity, reduce costs of product development, shorten design cycles, and improve product quality. These are findings of a recent study by Silicon Graphics, Mountain View, CA, and KPMG Peat Marwick, Rochester, NY.

Specifically, benefits include savings of up to 50 percent in labor time, and an 80 percent reduction of rework and change orders.

An independent accounting and management consulting company, KPMG Peat Marwick researched over 100 applications of 3-D computing, and documented 50 of them, in five companies using Silicon Graphics Iris workstations. The five users are Hitachi Power Group, Hitachi City, Japan; Douglas Aircraft Co, Long Beach, CA; Karsten Mfg Co, Phoenix, AZ; NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA; and Chrysler Motors Corp, Detroit, MI.

According to a KPMG Peat Marwick report, their researchers found that productivity in many individual tasks increased 20 to 40 percent though use of 3-D computing. Improvements in quality were also much in evidence. For instance, at Douglas Aircraft, the company was able to produce its first major assembly that does not use shims.

At Hitachi, time for a project test schedule was reduced by 50 percent. The company attributes this savings directly to use of 3-D computing. At Chrysler, sharing of graphics databases by suppliers, designers, and fabricators has enabled management to reduce auto development time by 20 percent.

NASA's Ames facility uses 3-D workstations to simulate a wide variety of design options for a Mach 25 aircraft. Were NASA to employ traditional wind-tunnel testing, this farranging simulation would have been too costly to consider.

Hitachi reports using 3-D workstations to design layouts for bent pipe used in nuclear power plants, where up to 70 percent of total costs come from piping, conduit, and ductwork. The company has eliminated 30 to 75 percent of pipe cutting, welding, inspection, test, and maintenance--all attributed to use of 3-D computing. To capitalize on its success, Hitachi created a new business group that markets their methods and software to other construction companies.

KPMG Peat Marwick advises, though, that to realize benefits such as those cited, a prospective user must observe three criteria:

1. The 3-D computer hardware and software must offer high performance, so users can easily interact with surfaced displays of 3-D objects.

2. This technology must be elevated from departmental to enterprise-wide application. A broad-based process to facilitate implementation is recommended.

3. All employees who could benefit from 3-D computing should have easy access to the system.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:industry studies by KPMG Peat Marwick consultants
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Oct 1, 1989
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