Commercial CAD systems have been obtainable since 1964. However, they could only be used on mainframe computers that were expensive and only affordable to the largest companies. With the advances made in technology by the computer industry, particularly with the production of "mini and micro" models, CAD technology has become available to a huge market of users, which is ever expanding. To simplify the operation of a Computer Aided Design System; a drafts-person creates sketches or drawings on a computer screen. The tools and other materials used in a traditional drafting office have been replaced by a keyboard, graphics tablet, digitizer and light pen. Replacing an inked line on paper is a line of luminous phosphorus on the video console. By issuing a series of programmed directives, the drafts-person is able to produce a high quality, complete drawing or sketch, in far less time than previously produced by hand.
Most plataforma cae systems generally offer four basic functions that to a great extent enhance the productivity of the designer or drafts-person. The first is "Replication", which provides the user the ability to separate part of an image and then use this in other areas with repetitive features. "Translation" enables the transfer of features between different sections of the screen, while the feature of "Scaling" gives the ability to change the size of one part of a design, to view differently than another. The final basic is "Rotation"; a facility whereby you can select a desired angle, by either choosing two separate points, or by entering the angle of rotation on the keyboard.
The development and testing of new products can be extremely time-consuming and costly. Each product is in some way, subjected to a measure of testing. This is not only to ensure it meets the required safety standards, but that it will also operate in the conditions and to the standards for which it was designed. If a company is called to physically test each component as well as prototypes of the product, then the final costs and time factor could reach well beyond the projected figures. With the use of CAD, there is not a need to test each design physically. A development team is able to conduct virtual stress tests and substitute equipment such as a wind tunnel with a CAD application that will simulate the exact conditions. Should a problem be discovered, then any conceptual design can be modified easily and quickly during the testing program.
software cae permits the process of generating ideas to be creatively flexible. It is now affordable for enterprises to be more tolerant and open to new ideas and suggestions than previously and any new concept may be subjected to testing more easily and at a greatly reduced cost. Suggestions for new products can be quickly tested at a lower cost than in the past, giving the opportunity for making even slight improvements on new product designs instantly.