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Manufacturing Engineers Download 63 CAD Models Per Year

2018-9 CAD Trends Survey - How many CAD Models do designers download?

The fastest way to obtain a CAD model of a product is to download it, ready made, from the supplier. But how often do designers and engineers do this and what is the long term trend?

For industrial suppliers (manufacturers and distributors) the answer is really important because if you can get your products ‘designed in’ by potential customers they will likely be purchased when that design is manufactured (see chart on the right or the full research results here).CDS CAD Download Survey - When you download a CAD model of a supplier's part, how often does the physical part get purchased?

CAD Market Research Specialist Business Advantage Group (BA) asks the following question annually in their worldwide CAD Trends Survey: ‘How often do you typically search for and download ready made 3D models to increase productivity in your company?’ The draft report results are published in this blog post with BA’s kind permission (the full report, covering many CAD trends, will be available on the BA website and to everyone signing up for their February 5th, 2019 webinar).

The BA ‘Frequency of Downloading 3D Models‘ chart at the top of this blog post and the numbers below give the 2018-19 answer to this question. They show a continuing annual increase in the number of ready made 3D CAD models downloaded by individual designers and engineers. Also, as Business Advantage points out, year over year, there has been a “significant increase in the number of users downloading 3D Models regularly (10+ times/month).”Averaged across all CAD users, more than 82% download at least one 3D CAD model a year, 67% do so at least monthly and 58% do so multiple times per month.

How Many CAD Models are Downloaded by Each CAD User?

The number of users downloading multiple CAD models per month is accelerating – the >10/month category is up 6% from 17% to 23% (which is a 35% increase). Also, the number of CAD users who never download a 3D CAD model is consistently holding at 1 in 10 so those that do download are tending to do so more. Just considering those that do download CAD models, we can estimate the weighted average of how many CAD model downloads they do. Firstly we look only at the 80% that actually download CAD models (i.e. we remove the 9% ‘don’t knows’ and 11% ‘never download’ from the sample) then we conservatively estimate that everyone who says they do more than 10 CAD downloads per month only do 11. The resulting average downloads per person across all the 80% of CAD users, that download CAD models, is, conservatively, 63 CAD model downloads per year. If you want to know more detail, such as how these numbers vary by industry, region, country, CAD system in use or company size please contact Business Advantage.

How are CAD Models Being Used?

BA also asked, “Do you currently use or plan to use 3D CAD models in your organization?”, and “How do you currently create 3D models in your company. The chart above shows the results. 92% already use 3D CAD models and another 5% plan to. How they create their 3D models is via direct CAD modelling for 84% but nearly half (48%) redraw existing drawings into 3D CAD models. The scanning via Lidar, Drones, etc. is probably mostly in the AEC rather than the manufacturing market. Again, contact BA for more detail.

Will CAD Model Downloads Work For You?

For many years, the best way to get your products ‘designed in’ has been to offer 3D CAD models of them for download from your website and syndicate them online (for example in CAD portals like Because the number of CAD model downloads continues to increase, so the value of your product CAD models available for download continues to increase too!

If you don’t already offer 3D CAD models of your products, how do you find out if this marketing approach will work for you? The above CAD Trends survey result is an average across a worldwide audience of CAD designers. To confirm if your specific customers and potential customers will download CAD Models of your products from your website we suggest answering these 3 questions, perhaps by surveying your customers to find out:

  • Have your customers asked for CAD models or drawings of your products? If ‘Yes’ consider how many haven’t bothered to ask but when they didn’t find them on your website they just went elsewhere?CDS CAD Download Survey 2014 - When selecting a supplier how important is it that the supplier offers downloadable CAD models of their parts?
  • If ‘Yes’ how do you meet that need today and what does it cost? Would it be less expensive or disruptive on your design team as a self help solution on your website?
  • Do any of your competitors offer online CAD models of drawings of their products? If so what has been the customer reaction – is it a competitive advantage over your company? For example, the chart above right shows the importance of CAD model downloads when selecting a supplier.

As always, if you’d like our opinion on your situation or want see an online demo, call or click either button below:



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