Does anyone have experience with the 3D modelling of heavy induxtrial equipment that they may want to share.

Like the change from board drafting to electronic drafting solved a heap of problems and created a heap of new ones, so does the change from drafting to modelling.

For example, 3D modelling has proved itself on mechanical components with many features. However, a shiploader, for example, is a machine of 15,000 parts with features across three orders of magnitude in dimensions. These are a great challange to be modelled in fully designed form.

If you have experience, what are the benefits you realised? What are some of the new problems created? What sort of computers did you use? Did you assemble the model kinematically (ie ready for clearance checking through the range of motion).

Many designers are changing to, or are considering the change to 3D modelling at this time. I have heard the sentiment expressed that there is a huge leap from modelling for planning to modelling for designing, which I, for one, tend to agree with. What are your experiences in this? Could you give some advice? Your candid views on this will be greatly appreciated across the globe.