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 rework.
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):
Autodesk Alias Design – For consumer product designers who control the entire industrial design process from initial concept to the final surfaces that are passed to engineering. Designers can develop and communicate product design concepts using sketches, illustrations, photorealistic renderings, and animations.
Autodesk Alias Surface – Has dynamic 3D modeling capabilities that enable virtual modelers to evolve concept models and scan data into high-quality production surfaces for consumer product design and Class-A surfaces for automotive design and styling.
Autodesk Alias Automotive – Still probably considered the de facto standard for automotive design and the choice of most automotive styling studios, Alias Automotive provides visualization and analysis tools for the entire shape-definition process, from concept sketches through Class-A surfacing.
Support for Mac this time around is huge, and the Autodesk Alias 2010 product line marks a major milestone with its first release on the Mac OS X. This should make the Alias line more attractive to the creative community who extensively use the Mac.
A much-needed updated user interface and additional Getting Started and learning content will help improve the user experience and ease the learning curve, which historically has been steep.. Intuitive 3D viewing is available with one click, and the Autodesk ViewCube navigation tool makes it easier to view a model with traditional camera tools.
The new Material Library offers a collection of preset shaders and contains more than 250 common materials and textures. Common material descriptions from the Material Library make moving data from Alias to Autodesk Showcase visualization software more efficient. By the way, the price of Showcase was reduced from about $5,000 to $995, so it might actually realize a real market presence this time around.
DWF Export will be available with the Alias products. According to Autodesk, the DWF format helps to protect the integrity of a design and allows for precise publishing, rendering, and printing of digital models.
Autodesk Inventor 2010
The Autodesk Inventor 2010 product line provides new usability and productivity enhancements for 3D design, simulation, plastic part creation, and data exchange. Autodesk Inventor software is what Autodesk considers the foundation of its Digital Prototyping philosophy and methodology that produces a 3D model for validating the form, fit, and function of a design before physically building it.
Plastic part design got a lot of the attention this time around and according to the company Autodesk Inventor 2010 provides designers with the plastic design and analysis tools they have asked for. Multibody workflows, specialized plastic features, rule-based fillets and associative import of exterior or Aside geometry from the Autodesk Alias family of software give Inventor 2010 users the tools for designing complex molded parts (that supposedly update smoothly when changed) without requiring a lot of detailed geometry construction or intermediate steps.
The Autodesk Inventor product line includes a new application, Autodesk Inventor Tooling (included in Autodesk Inventor Professional), for designing complex molded parts. It includes automated tools that use the digital prototype to quickly create and validate complete mold designs, helping to reduce errors and improve mold performance.
The new Sketch Blocks in Inventor 2010 provide a logical representation of both rigid and moving bodies that can be combined into 2D kinematic models for detailed motion studies on mechanisms. Inventor Sketch Blocks can be used to populate the assembly with properly constrained part models based on the finished sketch.
Inventor 2010 has an enhanced, integrated simulation environment for motion simulation and finite element analysis (FEA) of both parts AND assemblies. Support for modal analysis, parametric studies and optimization should make it much easier to perform what-if studies to select the best design option and then push the resulting geometry back into the assembly model.
For interoperability and data exchange, with the new Shrinkwrap feature, you’ll have a new level of control over the simplification of large assemblies. You will be able to convert an assembly into a single part or surface model for use as an assembly substitute or to protect intellectual property (IP) when sharing models outside of your design department. Inventor 2010 includes new translators for CATIA V5 R6 through R18 as well as enhanced JT support for reading and writing JT files.
The enhanced AEC Exchange environment simplifies the exchange of data from mechanical components (HVAC, etc.) for use in building design. With support for the new Autodesk Package files (.adsk) and the Shrinkwrap tool, AEC Exchange will let you publish data files with simplified 3D representations and intelligent connection points for use in building models created using Revit MEP and Revit Architecture software.
A new task-based user interface should enhance usability and productivity. Inventor 2010 also includes many user-requested improvements, such as user-defined browser folders, user-defined coordinate systems, document tabs, improved spline handles, and an auto-save option.
This release includes new sheet metal tools that simplify the creation of rolled features and lofted flanges, such as square to round transitions. It also provides Unfold and Refold features, making it much easier to define features. Drawing Manager highlights include Aligned Section Views, dual units display and a new Arrange Dimensions tool.
Within Inventor Professional, there is now a new capability called Autodesk Inventor Tooling that has embedded the Moldflow technology to provide capabilities to simulate mold designs and ensure that potential mistakes are addressed before a physical model is created.
For the 2010 release Autodesk has officially brought the Moldflow products into the Inventor fold and has greatly reduced the amount of products from 93 to 17, as well as adjusted the prices to make the Autodesk/Moldflow portfolio more affordable.
The Moldflow product lines range from entry level products and are intended to guide product designers without the need to be an expert in plastics, tooling or injection molding. On the opposite end of the spectrum are products that provide insight into the plastics injection molding process and address a broad range of design and manufacturing issues associated with the plastics molding process.
Autodesk said it 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 detailed simulation of 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 mold rework.
AutoCAD Mechanical 2010
Contrary to what we continue to hear, 2D for MCAD is not totally dead and this is the sweet spot for AutoCAD Mechanical – AutoCAD for manufacturing, specifically developed to accelerate the 2D mechanical design process while preserving the AutoCAD user experience. Because it is optimized for 2D mechanical design, it simplifies complex mechanical design work and produce consistent results. AutoCAD Mechanical 2010 lets users to document digital prototypes created in Autodesk Inventor. Users can detail production drawings using the Autodesk Inventor link, that automatically updates 2D drawings when changes are made to the 3D model.
AutoCAD Mechanical 2010 has “intelligent” drafting features for automating common design tasks. AutoCAD Mechanical 2010 features a streamlined user interface that let you find favorite tools and commands faster, locate less frequently used tools more efficiently, and discover relevant new features more easily.
Bills of material enhancements to AutoCAD Mechanical 2010 help users create accurate BOMs and parts lists by automatically extracting BOM data from existing DWG files. Users have access to the more than 750,000 standard parts and features included with AutoCAD Mechanical. Part publishing offers the capability to add new part families to the library, helping save time and maintain consistency across projects.
The Week’s Top 5
Over the course of the next several months, we hope to get a number of these new 2010 products in-house to take a closer look, because most of them are applicable and important to our readers who are interested in what’s new from Autodesk. Stay tuned!
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 Invests in Intercim
Dassault Systèmes (DS) and Intercim LLC, a market leader in manufacturing and production operations management software solutions for advanced and highly regulated industries, announced a new step forward in their strategic alliance, with Dassault Systèmes taking a minority position in Intercim LLC. The announcement illustrates Dassault Systèmes and Intercim’s commitment to bringing the real world of Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) into the virtual world of PLM. The partners will provide a dynamic, real-time ability to execute production orders exactly as planned by manufacturing engineers and close the loop between engineering and the shop floor. Dassault Systèmes’ investment in Intercim, a partner since 2004, follows a June 2008 Memorandum of Understanding to provide the aerospace and defense industry with Intercim's manufacturing operations management solution integrated with Dassault Systèmes' V6 platform. Creating real-time collaboration on product and production lifecycle data in a single online referential between the different communities in the manufacturing supply network, such as design engineering, manufacturing engineering, shop floor, and quality management;
Enforcing engineering-driven production execution on the shop floor, as designed and as planned.
Okuma America Corporation Selects PTC CoCreate to Design CNC Machinery
PTC announced that Okuma America Corp., a developer of computer numeric controls (CNC) and machining technology, has selected PTC CoCreate to design CNC machinery adaptations within their standard CNC product line. CoCreate is the explicit 3D CAD modeling and data management software that provides companies with a lightweight and flexible approach to designing products. For manufacturers delivering products to a worldwide market, the challenges can be daunting. For complex products, especially ones that are customized to meet localized needs, the barriers to success are even greater. Okuma America is one such manufacturer. With its parent company based in Japan, the majority of the product designs Okuma produces regularly require customization for application and use in the North and South American markets that Okuma serves. Okuma America wanted a 3D CAD solution that would deliver a complete product design environment that would be flexible and easily adaptable for its design-to-order and custom product lines. Okuma’s US-based design team uses PTC CoCreate to construct and adapt its existing product designs for these markets—custom designs that offer fast-on-the-fly interactions with geometry. Each month, the Charlotte team receives machines containing 2,000 to 10,000 components that require specific customization for these mixed American markets. By utilizing CoCreate explicit 3D modeling to adapt their existing product line, Okuma is able to satisfy the uniquely specialized customer requirements.
Mastercam’s Feature Based Machining
With its release of Mastercam X3, CNC Software Inc. introduced Feature-Based Machining (FBM) that eliminates the manual processes involved in identifying features for programming milling and drilling operations on solid parts. By analyzing the part for specific feature types (shapes, size, location of holes, etc), FBM can automatically create the individual toolpaths needed to machine the selected features and intelligently design an effective machining strategy. Mastercam X3 includes two types of FBM toolpaths - FBM Mill and FBM Drill. Both toolpath types use information derived from the part's features in combination with a stock definition to accomplish the following tasks:
- Detect all features for the selected FBM toolpath type, based on selection criteria the user defines. The user can then review all of the identified machining features, and selectively modify or remove features from the list before generating toolpaths.
- Select the appropriate tools, either from a preferred tools list or from specified libraries.
- Create and assign boundaries needed to drive or constrain tools.
- Automatically generate all of the toolpaths necessary to machine the features.
Geometric Launches DFMPro for Pro/ENGINEER
Geometric Limited announced DFMPro for Pro/ENGINEER. This design for manufacturability (DFM) product is integrated within the Pro/ENGINEER design environment, and provides a series of automated checks and analysis to assist a designer in creating designs, that are cost effective and easy to manufacture. DFMPro is a DFM tool developed for designers to facilitate upstream manufacturability validation and identifying areas in a design that are difficult, expensive, or impossible to manufacture. This design for manufacturability tool is engineered examining product manufacturability. It includes advanced design rules for manufacturing processes like milling, drilling, turning and sheet metal fabrication. Some benefits of DFMPro include:
- Early prediction and prevention of production problems or manufacturing inefficiencies
- Evolution of optimal design and product quality
- Automation of manufacturability review process
- Reduction of lead-time by reducing backtracking and design iterations
- A scalable framework for manufacturability knowledge capture and reuse
TransMagic Helps Superlift Raise Productivity
TransMagic Inc. announced that Superlift Suspension Systems has integrated TransMagic into its design process. Superlift is leveraging the power and flexibility of TransMagic software to exchange 3D data between different CAD systems. Using TransMagic, designers visually select, automatically repair and group the needed portions of 3D CAD data from automotive OEMs before importing into SolidWorks. Superlift engineers use the data to create new product designs. Superlift has reduced reverse engineering processes and file re-creation by integrating TransMagic. Quality is also improved since new product designs are based on original OEM data rather than measurements taken in the field. TransMagic reduces the costs of translating, repairing, and repurposing 3D CAD files to any design and manufacturing applications. Visit www.transmagic.com for a free trial.
Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at Email Contact or 408.850.9230.
Autodesk 2010 Manufacturing Software Demonstrates Power of Digital Prototyping
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