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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
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 »

Goodbye 2015; Hello 2016 From MCADCafe

December 31st, 2015 by Jeff Rowe

The end of one year and the beginning of another always makes me give pause to what has transpired in the recent past as well as what might occur in the future. For me, 2015 was no different in this regard.

Below are some of the highlights of 2015 in the MCAD arena. Keep in mind they are in no particular order, and I know there are others I could have chosen, so if I missed any, let me know.

The Cloud — It’s not just for storage anymore. As a matter of fact, 2015 saw some real innovation for cloud-based computing horsepower and applications, such as those from Onshape and Autodesk. While there are still definite concerns about cloud security and IP, the volume level isn’t quite as high as it had been in the recent past. We consider cloud-based apps to be the most significant MCAD-related technology for 2015.

Continued Consolidation — The acquisition trained continued to roll this year in many areas, including augmented reality, simulation, rendering, and Internet of Things (IoT). While consolidation does mean fewer companies for the short term, it diversifies the acquiring companies with different results for customers — some good, some not so good.

3D Printing Gets Real — It’s no secret that 3D printing continues its march on dominating the world of 3D physical realization. In the past year I’ve seen 3D printers at Office Depot, UPS, FedEx, and Staples where you can bring in an STL file on a USB drive and, theoretically, come back in a few minutes or hours with a 3D product of your creation. Also, Sam’s Club and Home Depot are selling 3D printers. Is this necessarily a good or bad thing? It’s largely dependent on the quality of the design and skill of the designer/operator.

Internet of Things — While many companies are dipping their toes in the IoT waters, PTC is betting a good bit of its future on it, and for good reason — the potential is huge. So, with all that’s transpired in the past couple of years with IoT, we considered it the technology of 2014. Continuing for the foreseeable future and beyond, look for greatly increased adoption of IoT as current and sideline players get ready to participate.

Funding Manufacturing — Should the Federal government get involved with funding manufacturing innovation? On the one hand, I feel that this is money well spent by the federal government, and something I like my tax dollars being spent on as opposed to perpetual squandering. On the other hand, though, although there have been notable exceptions, I wonder if federal government involvement/intervention/oversight will stifle true innovation in the long run with yet another federal program. Think NASA. In this regard, the manufacturing industry and the market have more often than not been stronger forces for timely and true innovation.

Windows 10 –Have you taken the Windows 10 plunge yet? I haven’t either. Is Windows 10 really the dawn of a new day for Microsoft? I’m still skeptical, but it could end up being a good thing. However, the recurring cost thing annoys me, and personally am in no hurry to install it myself, but am willing to hold off judgement until we see how it is perceived, received, installed, and used by the PC, mobile, and Xbox universe because it’s supposed to benefit users of all platforms.

Finally, I’m at the halfway point for my middle school adventure as a Denver Math Fellow. The first half of the school year was very challenging, but also very rewarding. I have learned a lot and my students have taught me as much about things as I have taught them about math. The second half of the year promises to have just as many twists, turns, and surprises as the first, but I fell I am better prepared for them than I was the first time around.

To all of our friends and supporters, we hope you’ve had a wonderful 2015 holiday season. In 2016 we promise to continue to provide you with the most important news and information surrounding mechanical design, engineering, and manufacturing. Thanks for sharing the continuing journey with us through

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