This is a true story.
In 1998 Dr. Maranzana, professor at ÉTS, the largest Engineering School in Québec, took a sabbatical year and spend several months at Bombardier Aerospace to immerse himself with design teams and “live” their daily challenges.
One of the biggest issues was the lack of tools available to help designers find existing designs to inspire themselves for new product and of course possibly reuse existing parts. For instance, one day Dr. Maranzana asked a designer “Don’t you think a bracket like the one you are currently drafting already exist?”
Together they started launching Text-based searches in their PLM and found there was over 2500 parts with the word bracket inside the name of the part. The designer than said “Quite frankly, it is going to take me much less time to design a new one than open each of these files to see if one could possibly be useful for my new product.”
Back to the university, Dr. Maranzana start thinking about a breakthrough concept that would allow one to find 3D models based on their shape rather than using words.
Our shape based Search Technology was born on that day…