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Jeffrey Rowe has almost 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the design … More »
MCADCafe e-Magazine: Autodesk Unveils New Design Suites and Cloud Services for Manufacturers
April 9th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
Autodesk, Inc. unveiled its new 3D design and engineering software portfolio for manufacturers, offering a complete set of integrated and interoperable suites and cloud services to simplify design, visualization and simulation workflows from product development through delivery.
The new Autodesk design suites are geared especially for manufacturers and include Autodesk Product Design Suite and Autodesk Factory Design Suite. The new suites provide a broad range of cloud services to help manufacturers more efficiently design, build and deliver better products faster and at reduced costs. The new Autodesk Simulation family of products delivers a faster, more accurate and flexible approach to predicting, optimizing and validating designs earlier in the design process.
“Autodesk’s 2013 portfolio provides our customers with a faster path to ROI for product development and delivery,” said Robert “Buzz” Kross, senior vice president, Design, Lifecycle and Simulation at Autodesk. “Our 2013 suites and scalable cloud services help manufacturers improve productivity and minimize upfront investment.”
Autodesk Design Suites Enhance Interoperability, Collaboration
Autodesk suites provide comprehensive workflows to connect desktops to mobile devices and to the cloud. These workflows enable manufacturing customers to develop complete definitions of product designs; integrate electrical and mechanical design to increase productivity; predict product performance; and visualize designs or complete factory layouts in 3D.
Autodesk’s 2013 design suites integrate with Autodesk 360 cloud offerings to better enable collaboration. Cloud-based assets promote design sharing and reuse. The suites also offer interoperability with the new 2013 version of Autodesk Vault product data management software and the company’s next generation, cloud-based alternative Autodesk PLM 360. Autodesk Vault software enables workgroups to organize, manage and track their engineering CAD data, manufacturing bills-of-material and change processes from a centralized location.
The 2013 Autodesk Product Design and Factory Design suites are available in three cost-effective, convenient editions: Standard, Premium and Ultimate.
Autodesk Product Design Suite Completes the Entire Engineering Process
Delivering a comprehensive software solution, the Autodesk Product Design Suite enables design, visualization and simulation capabilities, helping to drive innovation with integrated, discipline-specific tools and workflows built for Digital Prototyping.
New for Autodesk Product Design Suite 2013 are the addition of one-click workflows created to help customers seamlessly move through the engineering design process, advanced cloud-based services for simulation and the inclusion of additional software allowing customers to realize their end-to-end design process. Autodesk Product Design Suite 2013 updates include:
“The Autodesk Product Design Suite has been an invaluable tool for Sunkist Research and a big part of our success, from generating animations in Autodesk 3ds Max Design, to overlaying a 3D model in a real-time factory environment to actual engineering design and 3D modeling with the Autodesk Inventor suite,” said Alex Paradiang, director of engineering, Sunkist Research. “We have showcased our engineering talents with Autodesk software and displayed to our customers that we are constantly looking for the best solutions to help maintain our lead in the citrus industry.”
Autodesk Factory Design Suite Brings Digital Prototyping to the Factory Floor
The suite enhances AutoCAD and Autodesk Inventor software with exclusive access to interoperable, layout-specific workflows, new cloud-based factory asset resources and powerful visualization and analysis tools that help increase design accuracy, efficiency and communication.
Specifically, the one-to-one synchronization between 2D AutoCAD drawings and the 3D Inventor assembly within the suite means changes made in the AutoCAD drawing will propagate to the Inventor 3D layout, and changes in the 3D layout will propagate back to the original 2D drawing. The bidirectional associative workflow of the suite provides veteran AutoCAD users with a familiar, easy to learn process for generating compelling 2D and 3D factory layouts while improving efficiency and accuracy.
“The Autodesk Factory Design Suite allows us to model packaging lines in a digital environment,” said Brian Strothcamp, senior designer with the Barry-Wehmiller Design Group. “We can visualize different options more easily to find innovative and practical solutions. Interactive, 3D walkthroughs give our clients confidence that our factory layouts will satisfy all their needs.”
Autodesk Inventor Publisher: Accurate and Compelling Product Documentation
Autodesk Inventor Publisher 2013 extends the value of Autodesk Design Suites by leveraging the same 3D digital model used in the design process for developing highly visual and interactive 2D and 3D technical documentation that helps explain and differentiate products and processes. Inventor Publisher 2013 features faster performance, new video output formats that can be published directly to YouTube and Facebook, and many new interoperability additions, such as new file import formats, automatic update with new assembly formats and integration with Sketchbook Designer.
Autodesk Simulation: Fast, Accurate and Flexible
The Autodesk Simulation family of products delivers a fast, accurate and flexible approach to predict, optimize and validate designs earlier in the design process. The new family includes 2013 versions of Autodesk Simulation Mechanical, Autodesk Simulation CFD, Autodesk Simulation Moldflow and serves as a comprehensive set of simulation software tools that are easy to integrate into each phase of the product development process. Enhancements to the 2013 simulation portfolio include:
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
I recently saw many of the technologies and product suites mentioned above at the Autodesk Media Summit 2012 in San Francisco.
Carl Bass, Autodesk’s president and CEO kicked off the Summit by stating that this is Autodesk’s 30th anniversary and that its diversification helped it grow 14% in its most recent fiscal year. It’s interesting to note that 75% of Autodesk’s business is outside of the U.S. He said that Autodesk is helping to redefine the computing landscape . There is a major shift change happening in the computing paradigm, thanks to mobile, social, and cloud technologies that are fundamentally changing the way people work.
He said, sort of tongue in cheek, that over its 30-year history, Autodesk has had ~12,000,000 “legal/paid” users of its software. Stepping up to more recent times, he said that AutoCAD WS has had over 7,000,000 users access it, and that 300,000 files are being uploaded every week (that’s a rate of ~30 files/second). Autodesk’s Sketchbook is seeing 150,000 downloads per week, and Instructables (a DIY organization acquired by Autodesk) is enjoying a sustained robust community with over 13,000,000 unique visitors per month. As you can see, a lot of numbers were thrown out, and this was just the beginning of the first of two days.
Autodesk has really embraced the burgeoning mobile market (iPad big time), not only with AutoCAD WS and Sketchbook, but others, such as Pixlr-o-matic for processing digital photos, ForceEffect for basic model creation and simulation, and others.
A theme that was repeated throughout the Summit was that going forward, one of Autodesk’s fundamental principles would be “Democratizing design technology” on different levels. Increasingly, Autodesk sees its manufacturing software products being used to tell stories and capturing reality from lessons learned in the movie and game industries. Product design is not just about designing a product, but also includes designing factories and manufacturing processes. In the product development process, the value proposition is in design, not modeling. This is a great statement and sentiment that I hope echoes through the design industry.
This won’t happen, though, with standalone software products, therefore the reason (at least according to Autodesk) that integrated product suites have become more popular that will increasingly lead to cloud-centric workflows. For example, the product design suites act as launchpads for the design process with increasing interoperability between the products, and AutoCAD still being a major thread through all of the suites. Cohesion is an important aspect of the suites, whose individual products have an increasing degree of similar look, feel, and behavior.
On the mechanical side of the house, Autodesk PLM 360 was the center of attention and the star of the show. According to Bass, although at least one competitor has called PLM 360 “juvenile,” and others have criticized Autodesk for “not being serious about PLM,” he stressed what it is not. First, it is not repurposing old Autodesk stuff that existed before. Second, it is not a standalone technology – it is intended to integrate with other Autodesk products and used in a collaborative manner. Third, a PLM 360 user is the center of all work aspects and it is used in diverse environments – desktop, mobile, and cloud.
Buzz Kross reiterated what he has been saying for some time – PDM (for managing data) and PLM (for sharing data) are fundamentally different – and he is correct. He asserted that PLM should apply to more than mechanical design and engineering – also correct. Business needs should dictate models and processes, not IT departments. Customers are still unsure of the PLM problems they want to solve. Unlike traditional PLM systems, Autodesk PLM 360 is easily adopted, implemented, supported, and maintained. May be true, but I’d say that still has to be proven. In any event, in the span of just a few months, according to CIMdata, Autodesk is currently the second biggest PLM provider trailing just Dassault Systemes. I need to look closer at this claim and the data used to derive it.
I see Autodesk positioning PLM 360 as a digital prototyping tool for business, not just design, engineering and manufacturing. In other words, PLM 360 will affect all aspects of the product lifecycle, not just engineering, as well as empower businesses and not stifle them through the use of task workflows and process analytics. Look at it as product, project, and process management and workflow tool set. Also, its abilities to compare actual costs versus amounts budgeted, as well as adjust workflow as projects evolve/shift are big plusses.
Various Autodesk presenters touted PLM 360 for managing inventory, service records, remote diagnostics, and energy for site equipment. With its audit trail, it could be used for acceptance or rejection signoffs, corrective and preventative actions, and to document processes for regulatory compliance.
The cloud is what Autodesk believes will produce the most profound fundamental changes to design and engineering, bigger even than the move from DOS to Windows. The cloud is becoming Autodesk’s main vehicle and means for democratizing its technologies. In fact, the cloud will enable Autodesk 360 – a growing array of cloud-based services that will become available to Autodesk subscribers over time. In the future, these cloud-based services may be available ala-carte to non-subscribers in a “pay as you go” scheme. In three simple words, Autodesk believes the cloud will provide:
With the cloud, Autodesk seems to be striving to reinvent and optimize the user experience on a new platform that is data centric, not tool centric, where work and the job at hand become the center of the universe. The apps are runtime configurable that combine power and simplicity. The cloud also addresses traditional barriers to technology adoption and implementation – ease of use, hardware requirements, and total cost of ownership (TCO).
Autodesk Simulation got a fair amount of attention. In fact, over the years, through acquisition and investments, Autodesk has committed over $500 million to simulation. Three basic arms of Autodesk Simulation were discussed:
After experiencing all the technologies that Autodesk demonstrated prompted me ask a question to myself, “With all these problem-solving tools, why do we still have so many problems?” With Autodesk’s diversity in its products, services, and the industries it serves, Autodesk looks well positioned to provide solutions to many problems.
Of course, a number of other things were discussed and demonstrated during the Summit, and I was only able to cover a few here, but look for more in-depth coverage of some of the existing and emerging technologies in the comings weeks and months.
The Week’s Top 5
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.
Dassault Systèmes unveiled SolidWorks Plastics software, software tools that enable users to predict and avoid manufacturing defects during the earliest stages of plastics part and injection mold design. The new products run fully embedded inside of SolidWorks, providing part designers and mold makers with familiar and intuitive workflows so they can quickly optimize their part and mold designs for manufacturability. The ability to make design changes early helps ensure that the mold works right the first time, reducing or eliminating the need for rework and improving part quality. In addition, SolidWorks Plastics provides users with valuable knowledge so they can determine whether changes to the part geometry, mold design, material selection or processing conditions will have a positive impact on the ability to easily manufacture their products. The SolidWorks Plastics products are based on technology from SIMPOE SAS (SIMPOE), a provider of plastics injection molding simulation software. The new solutions products build on the previous relationship and will be offered under the SolidWorks brand. SolidWorks Plastics will be offered in two packages – SolidWorks Plastics Professional for part designers, and SolidWorks Plastics Premium for mold designers and mold makers.
Kubotek USA announced its new multiphysics simulation product: KeyCreator Analysis. KeyCreator Analysis is powered by Sefea, a new technology with unique algorithms that makes analysis easier to prepare and generates results faster while achieving high levels of accuracy. KeyCreator Analysis is combined with Kubotek KeyCreator direct modeling software enabling model preparation and editing. There has been a great push to drive simulation into the design phase of new product design. Most designers only have a basic background in FEA, causing simulations to be of dubious worth. Competing FEA solutions can require too much FEA knowledge for a designer. That’s where KeyCreator Analysis has taken a step toward solving these contradictions by using technology to determine the optimum mesh size and density of a simulation calculation. This auto-meshing solves the majority of simulations that a designer would typically calculate in order to optimize a design.
Improved U.S. competitiveness and rising costs in China will put the United States in a strong position by around 2015 to eventually add 2 million to 3 million jobs and an estimated $100 billion in annual output in a range of industries, according to a new report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The report, titled “U.S. Manufacturing Nears the Tipping Point: Which Industries, Why, and How Much?,” is the latest in BCG’s ongoing study of the emerging reshoring or “insourcing” trend, conducted by its Operations and Global Advantage practices. It is being published on www.bcgperspectives.com. The combination of manufacturing work returning from China in these sectors and increased U.S. exports due to improved global competitiveness is expected to create 2 million to 3 million U.S. jobs by the end of the decade. The job gains will come directly through added factory work (600,000 to 1 million jobs) and indirectly through supporting services, such as construction, transportation, and retail. In another sign of growing American manufacturing competitiveness, foreign companies are adding capacity in the U.S. to serve both the domestic market and export markets.
Created in 1987, Sescoi has now been delivering world-class engineering software systems and service to thousands of companies around the globe for 25 years. Its solutions, WorkNC CAD, WorkPLAN ERP, and the WorkXPlore 3D high-speed viewer integrate to provide engineering companies with solutions which are automated, reliable and designed to make the complex easy. When it launched its flagship software, WorkNC, in the late 80s Sescoi was the pioneer in easy-to-use, automatic 3D CAM. WorkNC has since evolved into a complete solution for 2- to 5-axis machining, electrode creation, and wire EDM used by toolmakers in a range of industries including automotive, aerospace, medical and consumer goods. From its formation in 1987, Sescoi’s guiding principles for software design have been ease of use, automation and reliability. Automated 5-axis machining, feature recognition, parallel processing, automatic stamping and robot milling are just some of the recent advances in WorkNC.
EADS and Creaform have entered into a technological partnership agreement covering 3D optical measurement for aerospace and defense applications. The agreement was finalized in the presence of Charles Mony, President of Creaform, Stéphane Galibois, Vice-President Americas and Aerospace at Creaform, Pierre Delestrade, President and CEO of EADS Canada, Olivier Le Gall, Vice-President for Industrialization and Globalization at EADS, and Yann Barbaux, Head of EADS Innovation Works. It was announced at the National Research Council Canada’s Aerospace Manufacturing Technology Centre, and with the support of the Quebec Aerospace Association. This 5-year agreement provides for the development of innovative applications in the field of optical 3D measurement for non-destructive testing (NDT), test monitoring and form and surface measurement, applied to aeronautics, space and defense.
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