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Accelerating Innovation with Cloud CAD Collaboration


Perhaps the most dramatic example of cloud CAD collaboration tools being an absolute game-changer is the development of the Rise Emergency Ventilator. In March...hospitals were projecting massive shortages of ventilators to help COVID patients breathe.

The final category is external partners and the challenge is about improving the way the company shares critical purchasing and manufacturing information with external supply and manufacturing partners.

In all three categories, the simple act of sharing a 3D CAD model with a colleague or outside partner is a headache when using on-premise file-based systems. Getting feedback on a design involves sending static files or screenshots back and forth by email or uploading to Dropbox, versus the immediacy of a real-time conversation. Manually sharing CAD designs often involves emailing lengthy written instructions back and forth, causing further delays in the communication flow. There’s also the issue of CAD access, as coworkers and partners without a CAD license cannot open the file.

Conversely, when using a cloud SaaS platform, anyone with the proper email permissions can open a live, up-to-date CAD model and comment in the margins like they might do with Google Docs. This universal access enables departments like sales, marketing and customer service to share their input about products very early in the development process, whereas historically they have been shut out of the design feedback loop. 

Figure 1: RISE Emergency Ventilator

Accelerating innovation with cloud CAD collaboration

Perhaps the most dramatic example of cloud CAD collaboration tools being an absolute game-changer is the development of the Rise Emergency Ventilator. In March 2020, during the early days of the pandemic, hospitals were projecting massive shortages of ventilators to help COVID patients breathe. Meter, a Boston hardware startup in stealth mode, took on the challenge of designing a more affordable ventilator without relying on specialized parts already in high demand to repair existing ones. 


Including a core team of a dozen engineers, about 50 people—most forced to work from home by shelter-in-place mandates—were involved in the development of the Rise Emergency Ventilator. The extended team included 3D-printing experts, hospital clinicians, software developers and sheet metal fabricators. Using a cloud CAD


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