3 Ways Your CAD Model Catalog Resembles a “Super Guppy”… and 2 ways it should not.


Aerospace engineers have designed some wild planes – some too exotic to get off the ground. While most never thought this “Frankenplane” would make it, the Super Guppy proved to be an efficient and reliable transport plane.

So what does this aerospace legend have to do with your CAD model catalog?

Like the Super Guppy, your CAD model catalog delivers valuable components from the manufacturer to the customer. They are both remarkable in their industries but undeniably good at what they do. Take a look at this slogan from Aero Spaceline’s sales brochure:

“Airlift your boat, trouble-free and damage-free, to your delighted customer.”

Change “boat” to “product models”, and you might as well be talking about your own catalog. Here are three important similarities between your 3D parts catalog and the legendary Super Guppy:

Learn more about how you stay relevant and delight customers with a CAD model catalog!

1. Speed-up delivery time

Engineers built the first version of the Super Guppy to transport delicate and bulky space hardware between the East and West Coasts. Before the Guppy family, these parts were delivered by boat, journeying through the Panama Canal and arriving in no less than 18 days. The Pregnant Guppy (the first version of the Super Guppy) cut that trip to just 18 hours.

Similarly, the online CAD catalog enables manufacturers to deliver 3D CAD models to customers in record time. Because the catalog/configurator builds a custom model on-the-fly, the tool can deliver instant product samples to engineers – eliminating wait time.


Take a look at these manufacturers who slashed their product sample delivery time with CAD catalogs:

2. Future-proof your products

Did you know that the Super Guppy helped get Neil Armstrong to the Moon?

The first spacecraft parts the Pregnant Guppy and later the Super Guppy transported were used for the Gemini space program. NASA even said they would not have been able to get a man on the moon by President John F. Kennedy’s promised 1960s deadline without the help of the Guppy.

In the same vein, your 3D CAD catalog provider should take you to infinity and beyond. Manufacturers should no longer have to worry about the next CAD update, internet change or new technology around CAD – all that is taken care of by the 3D CAD catalog.

At CADENAS PARTsolutions, we ensure your 3D product models are future-proof and backward compatible. That means you can provide 150+ CAD formats and to customers with your 3D parts catalog, whether the engineer needs a 2012 version or the latest file format.

3. “It’s what’s inside that counts”

Today, NASA uses the Super Guppy to deliver difficult-to-transport materials for today’s and tomorrow’s spacecraft. The Super Guppy even transported pieces of the International Space Station – talk about valuable deliverables!

Your 3D CAD catalog does something similar – it provides 3D CAD models to customers in their preferred native format and with necessary metadata. This data includes just enough information for the engineer to test the product into his design but not too much that the engineering data can be stolen or copied.

These “sales versions” of your product models also include the manufacturer’s information, including product number and purchasing information. An additional PDF product datasheet built by the configuration also gives customers a bill of materials and an interactive 3D preview of the design part. This way, the product download includes the information customers need to purchase it down the road.

2 ways your CAD model catalog and the Super Guppy should NOT be alike

To operate the Super Guppy, Aero Spacelines needs a crew of six-to-seven people: two pilots, two flight engineers, a load master and one or more maintenance technicians. Today, most aircraft don’t need flight engineers to fly the plane.

Unlike the Super Guppy, the 3D parts catalog doesn’t require a team of engineers to control it. Before launching a CAD model configurator, many companies relied on a CAD engineer or team to maintain the quality of its CAD models and deliver product samples to engineers. Today, the catalog is self-sufficient – manufacturers can trust the tool to deliver CAD to customers and trust the catalog provider to support and maintain it.

Worth noting – the Super Guppy was built in the 1960s and remains a 1960s aircraft – no modern electronics or updates have been added. Its control layout doesn’t allow the pilot to see every control and operate the plane, which is why it requires flight engineers on board.

Your 3D CAD catalog should NOT stand still. Your tool needs to be dynamic – able to deliver a great digital customer experience to whoever uses it – and present simple-selection options that match your products. Likewise, your 3D CAD catalog provider needs to continually update your tool to meet new technology trends and customer expectations.


Still a fast, economical transport vehicle

Despite the aircraft’s peculiarity, the space agency has no plans to retire or replace the “badass flying warehouse”.

Same goes for CAD model catalogs. We’re already in the late-adoption stage of 3D CAD catalogs, which means those who do not have this tool risk falling behind and branding themselves as laggard.

Don’t wait! Talk to our team to learn more about 3D CAD catalogs today.


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Bryan Wentz

Business Development Consultant for eCATALOGsolutions | A graduate of Miami University, Bryan is our dedicated eCAT consultant and account executive for the West and Pacific Northwest region. Bryan's customer-focused philosophy enables him to help manufacturers lead their industry with the digital tools they need for success. A Cincinnatian, Bryan loves to travel, play tennis and golf.