The Importance of 3D Models in Automation

Written By: Chris Jurik

Robotic Palletizing 3D Model

3D model of a robotic palletizing solution.

Have you ever spoken to a client about a proposal that you’ve spent days, weeks, or even months on, and they don’t understand the basics of how the system is supposed to operate? We deal with many different types of people from the engineering types who are on the ground floor writing the specifications or coming up with the initial concepts, to the purchasing types who may have no idea the difference between an iRobot robotic vacuum and a palletizing robot.

Because of this, it can be difficult to tailor a presentation to many different stake holders in the company. One of the best tools for aiding in these presentations is the 3D model.

Here are 5 reasons why having 3D models in your presentation will be very beneficial in helping you close the deal.

1) People are Visual

Have you ever gone through the ordeal of selling a house? If you have, you know one of the first things any good agent will tell you is you have to properly stage the house if you want to sell it fast and get top dollar. You do this to make it look attractive, open, and livable so potential buyers can see themselves living in that space with little work on their part.

When it comes to capital equipment, the same is true. Your client wants to be able to see how their operators will interact with the machine. With a 3D models, they can be easily shown where parts enter, where they exit, where the user interface is, and where the access points for maintenance are located.

2) Identifying Flaws in the System

Many times having a 2D CAD drawing of a plant layout is sufficient to see where things are located, but what about when the layout gets very complicated and there are utilities or conveyors running all over the place at different elevations? This is another time in which a model can be invaluable.

How many times have we designed, built, and shipped a system just to find out that there is a building column located right next to your electrical panel, and now you can’t open it? Hopefully, not often, but it does happen. With a model, someone may have recognized sooner that the panel was on the wrong side of the equipment and must be relocated.

3) Explaining Abstract Ideas

3D model of a vision system

3D model of a vision system

Sometimes it is difficult to explain a concept or idea by just describing it or even seeing it in 2D. If you have a 3D model, you can not only describe it, but you can also point out different devices and explain how they move or interact with the client’s part. This can be very beneficial because you may find out you were going to interact with a part by picking it up from the top for instance, but the top surface is easily marred and can only be handled on the sides.

4) Great Sales Tool

What if you are one of a number of bidders for a project? Most companies require they have at least 3 competitive bids before they buy a new piece of equipment. You’ve spent long days pouring through all the customer’s specifications making sure you’ve dotted every ‘I’ and crossed every ‘T’. You realize though, that your competition has done the same thing. What separates you from the rest of the pack?

Going that extra mile may just be the key to winning the big order. When you show up with your layout, pricing, and proposal, that’s all well and good, but if you come in with nice 3D models in tow, it shows you’ve taken the initiative to really add some extra polish to your presentation.

5) Add Motion

Do you want to really step up your game? Take this to the next level and import your model into a simulation package! Now you can not only show your client what you are trying to sell them in 3D, but you can also show them how their product moves through your system. For many large complex systems that have numerous variables or scenarios, this is an absolute must after you get the order. But this is another great tool in helping win the order if you can show some or all of it during the sales process.

Have you used models before in your presentations? Have they helped? Share your thoughts below.

Chris is a Robotics Field Applications Engineer at Bastian Solutions’ robotics division where he helps customers design the best robotic systems for their applications.

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  1. SPS Chauhan says:

    Very Nice

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