March 09, 2009
Autodesk Introduces 2010 Manufacturing Product Line
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Autodesk unveiled the latest releases of its 2D and 3D design and engineering software for manufacturers. Significant enhancements and newly packaged suites of the company's industry-leading products can help manufacturers build better products, ranging from mobile phones to bulldozers, in less time.

The new 2010 product lineup for manufacturers includes Autodesk Inventor family of products, AutoCAD Mechanical, AutoCAD Electrical, Autodesk Alias family of products, Autodesk Moldflow, Autodesk Navisworks, Autodesk Showcase, Autodesk 3ds Max Design, and Autodesk Vault software – applications that constitute the Autodesk solution for Digital Prototyping. The 2010 software releases introduce an even greater range of design, visualization and simulation capabilities, along with tighter interoperability than ever before with both Autodesk software applications and other CAD tools.

"Putting powerful 2D and 3D software within the reach of mainstream manufacturers positions companies of all sizes--not just large enterprises--to compete on a global scale," said Robert "Buzz" Kross, senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry Group at Autodesk. "With our 2010 product line, customers can achieve greater collaboration than ever before between industrial design, engineering, manufacturing and marketing teams that are all responsible for bringing quality products to market."

Autodesk Digital Prototyping software gives manufacturers the ability to digitally design, visualize and simulate how a product will work under real-world conditions before it is built. Digital Prototyping reduces reliance on physical prototypes, which helps reduce cost and accelerate time to market in highly competitive industries.

As the foundation for Digital Prototyping, Autodesk Inventor software helps produce an accurate 3D model that validates the form, fit and function of a design before it is built. The Autodesk Inventor 2010 product line introduces new usability and productivity enhancements for 2D product documentation, 3D product design, extended simulation capabilities, a strong focus on plastic part creation and new data management and exchange capabilities.

New features in the Autodesk Inventor 2010 product line include:
  • Plastic part design and tooling: The Autodesk Inventor product line simplifies the design of high-quality molded part models with automated capabilities for designing injection molds for plastic parts. Incorporating Autodesk Moldflow technology, Inventor enables users to design complex plastic parts and quickly create and validate their corresponding mold design, helping to reduce errors and improve mold performance -- resulting in higher product quality and faster time to market.
  • Ability to simulate product performance: The Autodesk Inventor 2010 product line provides improved support for motion simulation and static and modal finite element analysis at both the part and assembly level.
  • Design productivity: Continuing to improve usability and productivity, Inventor offers a new user interface that combines an intuitive 3D design environment for creating parts and assemblies with tools that enable engineers to focus on a design's function to drive the automatic creation of intelligent components such as plastic parts, steel frames, and rotating machinery.

  • In addition, Inventor 2010 incorporates an enhanced architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) Exchange functionality that enables building products manufacturers to publish 3D data in a format that is easy to use in building information modeling (BIM) applications, such as the Autodesk Revit 2010 product line.

    "The Autodesk solution for Digital Prototyping allows us to design and manufacture at the speed of thought. Using Inventor to simulate real-world conditions means we don't need full-scale physical prototypes," said Kurt Bender, CAD manager at Viking Yacht Company, which produces luxurious, high-performance sport and cruising yachts. "We're also doing design reviews and marketing with digital prototyping, saving substantial time and money on each boat design. We're especially looking forward to the latest simulation capabilities coming in the 2010 release."

    Along with the Inventor software, Autodesk is releasing new Digital Prototyping applications that support and streamline design, engineering, manufacturing and marketing workflows, including:
  • AutoCAD Inventor LT Suite: Introduced in the 2010 release, this new suite combines Autodesk Inventor LT and AutoCAD LT, one of the world's top-selling 2D drafting and detailing software, to make it more practical and affordable for mechanical design professionals to start designing in 3D and participate in Digital Prototyping workflows. Autodesk Inventor LT offers powerful part-level 3D parametric modeling, multi-CAD translation capabilities, automated DWG drawing views, and many other advanced capabilities found in Inventor.
  • AutoCAD Mechanical: Now with even more intelligent drafting features for automating common design tasks, AutoCAD Mechanical offers mechanical designers and drafters significant productivity gains. New features include a streamlined design environment and bill of materials enhancements that help produce consistent results on the shop floor.
  • AutoCAD Electrical: Purpose-built to accelerate the creation of electrical control systems, AutoCAD Electrical now offers a streamlined design environment and a new "one-line" circuit symbol library that help to increase productivity for control engineers. Enhancements to the powerful Circuit Builder tool enable designers to analyze the energy efficiency of circuits and help them to make "green" engineering decisions.
  • Autodesk Alias family of products: Autodesk Alias 2010 industrial design software marks a major milestone with its first release on the Macintosh platform. Now available on Mac OS X, the new product family focuses on the specific needs and workflow requirements of three user profiles: creative professionals, digital modeler/sculptors, and automotive/transportation designers. New and improved functionality further lowers barriers of adoption and helps to increase modeling productivity and quality. One of the world's best surface modelers, the Alias family or products provides fast, high-quality data integration and exchange with Autodesk Inventor and other third-party CAD software.
  • Autodesk Showcase: Now with integrated raytracing, the 2010 design visualization software enables design, engineering, and marketing teams to quickly and efficiently create accurate, photorealistic, and compelling imagery from 3D CAD data to convey form and create environmental context to communicate brand character. Users can easily change the appearance and position of a product and manipulate parts such as wheels, body panels or mirrors.
  • Autodesk 3ds Max Design: 3ds Max Design software makes it easier to prepare digital prototypes and create photorealistic design imagery. A render-quality viewport in the 2010 version facilitates the creative process by enabling users to iterate quickly and explore more design options.
  • Autodesk Vault: The Autodesk Vault product line features extensive new document management capabilities that enable users to easily manage design revisions and control who can access data, and when. New revision control processes are built directly into Autodesk Inventor software, resulting in faster cycle times and better-quality engineering data. It also helps workgroups maintain control over the digital prototype at all times, so design departments can efficiently create and share Digital Prototyping information.
  • Autodesk Navisworks: A new part of the Autodesk solution for Digital Prototyping, the Autodesk Navisworks product line for manufacturing helps extended project teams visualize, optimize and collaborate on the most complex projects. Customers can combine large assemblies consisting of machinery, tooling, layout and facilities data from multiple CAD vendors to create a single, lightweight 3D digital model of factories and manufacturing plants. Navisworks reliably aggregates data to enable a real-time, whole-project view.
  • Autodesk Moldflow: Autodesk has simplified the Moldflow product line in the 2010 release to bring customers more value at a lower cost. The software suite for simulation, analysis, optimization and validation of plastic parts and their associated molds introduces new sustainability features, along with enhanced performance and quality. Autodesk Moldflow Insight offers powerful, in-depth simulation of the industry's most advanced molding processes using the world's largest plastics material database. Autodesk Moldflow Adviser simplifies plastics injection molding simulation and guides designers through analysis and interpretation, helping to avoid manufacturing delays and costly mold

  • Product availability may vary by country. Details and purchasing options will be accessible starting March 24, 2009, at

    Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

    While it still about a month or so before these Autodesk products actually become available, there were several MCAD applications that were introduced simultaneously last week. In the recent past Autodesk introduced their new products at “live” face to face press events in San Francisco, but chose to do it “virtually” over the web this time around.

    The three main product areas and associated products that I thought would be the most interesting to our readers were Alias (industrial design), Inventor (3D mechanical design), and AutoCAD Mechanical (2D mechanical design – yes, there is still a place for it). Below are some brief descriptions of what I witnessed and scribbled down.

    Autodesk Alias 2010 Product Line

    Autodesk acquired the Alias product line a few years ago to enter new markets and to meet the special needs and requirements of creative professionals, digital modelers/sculptors, and automotive/transportation designers. The Autodesk Alias 2010 product line provides sketching, modeling and concept visualization tools for the creative design process, also broadly known as industrial design. The Autodesk Alias family of products is intended to help designers capture their ideas digitally and then share with engineering teams through data integration and exchange with Autodesk Inventor and other third-party CAD software. To
    date, this integration has been more hope and dream than reality, but things appear to be improving for the 2010 versions. The Autodesk Alias 2010 product family consists of (in ascending order of capabilities and cost):

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