April 20, 2009
MCAD Vendors Assist Displaced Workers
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on MCADcafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
| by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
Each MCAD Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the MCAD industry, MCAD product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by MCADCafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!
It’s certainly no secret that the state of the economy is at a low point, in fact, the lowest point in many, many years. The only time like the present that I can remember was the early 1980s, but this is different because it’s so far reaching into virtually every economic sector, including not just manufacturing, but design and engineering, as well.
Although the MCAD software companies are also feeling the effects of the current and continuing economic downturn, many, including SolidWorks and Autodesk (discussed below), are providing excellent opportunities for the MCAD community to retool and reinvent itself through a sense of community, education, and generous software offers.
If you find yourself in a situation where you feel your skills and knowledge are outmoded, I would heartily recommend you take full advantage of the programs presented by the MCAD vendors and look at this time as an opportunity to reinvent, reeducate, and retool for the future. I know I’m certainly going to take advantage of this time as I look ahead and move forward.
Also, check out the MCADCafe.com site as we have a number of resources for you to help in overcoming the current state of economic affairs. We have several forums for technical and advisory discussions with your colleagues, networking and job opportunities, technical information, and product reviews that will assist in your reeducation process, as well as to assure you that you are not alone in today’s challenging economic times. We’re all in this together and we will emerge from this temporary setback smarter and better prepared for the future on many different levels.
DS SolidWorks Unveils ‘Engineering Stimulus Package’ for Displaced Workers
Extending a hand to waves of displaced designers and engineers, Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. (DS SolidWorks) today activated a program to give these potential employees a chance to learn valuable new career skills in 3D computer-aided design.
SolidWorks Engineering Stimulus Package and first announced at SolidWorks World 2009 in February, the program gives free SolidWorks 3D CAD software licenses, training videos and tutorials, networking, certification, and potential job leads to any job seeker living in the United States or Canada. It will help them retool their skills at a time when unemployment is at 8.5 percent (a 25-year high), 3.3 million jobs have been lost in the last five months,
and manufacturing employment fell by 161,000 in March.
Reid Bader operated his own heating and mechanical systems construction business until December of 2008, when lack of work forced him to lay off his employees and close his business. He will download the SolidWorks Engineering Stimulus Package this morning. “While researching online job postings, it has become apparent that 3D CAD modeling and simulation skills are in demand,” he said. “It also has become apparent that SolidWorks is the platform that has critical momentum. When I found out that SolidWorks had an Engineering Stimulus Package for engineers who have been challenged by the hard economic times, I was very excited. I plan on enrolling in the program and becoming a
certified expert on the SolidWorks platform.”
Any US or Canadian resident is eligible for the SolidWorks Engineering Stimulus Package, which includes:
Software: a 90-day license of the SolidWorks Student Design Kit software for non-commercial use, with tutorials and documentation, plus the SolidWorks eDrawings® email-enabled file sharing tool;
Training: Hands-on test drives and other training from participating SolidWorks value-added resellers (VARs) throughout the United States and Canada;
Networking: Access to the SolidWorks Customer Portal for support, networking, and discussion; and
Certification: Free testing to become a Certified SolidWorks Associate (CSWA), a credential that documents SolidWorks competence and distinguishes job candidates for selective employers.
DS SolidWorks will also expand this program to other geographical regions in coming months.
SolidWorks is ideal software for a retraining program because of its position as the most widely used 3D CAD software in the world. SolidWorks is the single most requested 3D CAD technology experience on employment sites such as Monster.com and Aerotek. Individuals will be able to achieve basic proficiency within 90 days and have a fair opportunity to pass a CSWA test. DS SolidWorks offered a similar retraining program in from 2002 to 2007, which attracted more than 16,000 users. To support the new offering, more than half of SolidWorks’ North American VARs have agreed to offer hands-on test drives, and many of them will offer advanced training options as well.
DS SolidWorks CEO Jeff Ray hopes thousands more in Bader’s position take advantage of the program. “Actively developing high-demand skills can help transform your outlook, instill hope, and qualify you for well-paying careers,” Ray said. “Designers and engineers have placed their trust in DS SolidWorks for the last decade, and this is one way we’re doing our part and giving back.”
To participate in or learn more about the SolidWorks Engineering Stimulus Package, visit
Autodesk Assistance Program Offers Help to Displaced Workers
Recognizing the impact of today's economic challenges, Autodesk is launching the Autodesk Assistance Program. The Autodesk Assistance Program will provide Autodesk customers and partners with design software tools, education and resources that will help them to enhance, maintain and develop their 3D design technology skills and remain competitive in the marketplace. The program will offer free* student software term licenses, free online training and a path to certification to unemployed architects, designers and engineers in all industries.
"Everyone has been touched by the economic downturn," said Steve Blum, senior vice president, Autodesk Americas sales. "Autodesk has a tradition of supporting the needs of its customers and partners. The Autodesk Assistance Program is a fast-tracked way for our customers to improve their productivity and competitiveness during this challenging and volatile time by accessing the multiple resources we offer them to best position themselves for the future."
Autodesk Assistance Program tools and resources will be made available through an online portal, where users can access:
Free Software License: Any 13-month term student license of AutoCAD, Autodesk Revit Architecture, Autodesk Inventor Professional, and/or AutoCAD Civil 3D software.
Free Online Training: On-demand training available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week provided online through vBooks - powered by Retrieve Technologies, Inc. (internet access required)
Reduced-Cost Classroom Training: Many Autodesk Authorized Training Center (ATC) partners are offering classroom training at their training facilities for free or for a significantly reduced fee.
Certification: Certification preparation and exams are available at discounted rates through Autodesk Authorized Certification Centers.
Partners who participate in the Autodesk Assistance Program will be designated as official Autodesk Assistance Program members on the program's website. Offers for certification and classroom training will vary depending on each ATC. Locate an Autodesk ATC in your area for details.
The Autodesk Assistance Program is being launched in North America. The company hopes to roll the program out in other countries over the next few months.
Autodesk currently provides training and online resources to end users through Autodesk University Online (AU Online), Autodesk User Group International (AUGI), various online industry communities and the Autodesk YouTube Channel.
For more information about the Autodesk Assistance Program, please contact your local reseller, or contact Autodesk directly at Email Contact or visit
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
Autodesk Manufacturing Tech Day
A couple weeks ago we ventured to Lake Oswego, Oregon to Autodesk’s manufacturing software headquarters to learn more about the 2010 manufacturing software product lines. It was a full day, but provided good insight into how the various products fit and work together from conceptual design to simulation and analysis to tooling design to manufacturing.
Like many of its competitors, Autodesk is investing heavily in the consumer product design market, with tools such as Alias, Moldflow, and Inventor Tooling – all aimed at designing plastic parts and tooling.
Autodesk also admits that CAE is still too difficult to use, and is working hard to integrate acquired CAE technologies from Algor, Plassotech, and Solid Dynamics into inventor. The company is also striving to demonstrate and prove that simulation and design are not separate tasks, but processes that should be run in parallel.
The conceptual stage of the design process got considerable attention with the new Alias products. There is better fit with these industrial design products in terms of UI, look, feel, and behavior with some other Autodesk products, as well as price reductions, availability on the Mac platform, and support of DWF. These are all welcome changes and proof that Autodesk is serious about industrial design and its place in the company’s manufacturing design product mix.
Inventor 2010 was demonstrated in the context of its historical strongest market, industrial machinery. The top-down workflow was emphasized (layout-subassemblies-detailed parts), as well as new sheet metal capabilities, and working with large assemblies (levels of detail/simplified representations). Inventor was also discussed working with architecture and buildings through the AEC Exchange for using BOMs and BIMs between different Autodesk software applications.
Somewhat surprisingly, AutoCAD, especially AutoCAD Mechanical was openly discussed during the Tech Day as still important and vital to the manufacturing community. This session proved something I continue to contend, 2D is not dead.
There are now four versions of Autodesk Vault (one of the versions, Vault Manufacturing, replaces Productstream) for managing data and dealing with the three main PDM problems – ERP integration, BOMs, and engineering change management. All of the PDM products appeal to a diverse range of users – the engineering/CAD manager, product designer, and downstream consumer. This time around PDM might make more sense for more prospective users.
Moldflow was shown in the context of three different applications areas and users that made sense – Moldflow Adviser for the part designer, Inventor Tooling for the mold designer, and Moldflow Insight for the engineering analyst/specialist.
Finally, Navisworks Manufacturing 2010 was demonstrated for processing point clouds of factory laser scans. The resulting visual data can then be used for clash/collision detection within a factory. Its Time Liner capability can also be used with scheduling software, such as Microsoft Project, for installing equipment in a factory in the correct sequence.
So, it was a full day but provided us with a better understanding of where Autodesk is today and where it might be heading in the future with regard to mechanical design, engineering, and manufacturing. The day also provided insight and a sense of what Autodesk’s Digital Prototyping initiative is all about.
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.
Siemens PLM Software announced that in the recently released market analysis, PLM industry consulting and research firm CIMdata, Inc. recognized Siemens PLM Software as a PLM leader and as the vendor with the top market presence in the collaborative Product Definition management (cPDm) and Digital Manufacturing market segment, which, according to CIMdata, are important sub-segments within the PLM industry. Based on market estimates, the CIMdata analysis ranked Siemens PLM Software number one in terms of market presence for both cPDm and Digital Manufacturing among the PLM Mindshare Leaders in 2008 (the fourth year in a row). According to CIMdata, cPDm is forecast to continue being the
fastest-growing segment of the PLM market with an 8.6 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to exceed $12 billion in 2013 – leading both the Tools and Digital Manufacturing segments in growth. CIMdata estimates that the Comprehensive PLM market as a whole will grow at a CAGR of 6.3 percent to approximately $35 billion by 2013.
Integrated Industrial Information, Inc. (I-Cubed) announced the release of the I-Cubed Solid Edge CAD Integration for Windchill. The I-Cubed Solid Edge CAD Integration for Windchill enables engineers to create CAD documents and drawings in Solid Edge and then manage those files in Windchill without leaving the Solid Edge user interface. The Solid Edge CAD Integration allows users to capture, track, and control essential part and manufacturing data throughout the product lifecycle.The I-Cubed Solid Edge CAD Integration is currently available and supports Solid Edge V19 and V20 on Windchill 8.0 and higher. For more information visit I-Cubed's website at
SpaceClaim announced that it has secured an additional $7 million in funding to support ongoing R&D in product innovations, and to drive sales and marketing expansion as the demand for direct modelers increases for the performance of conceptual design, engineering analysis, and simulation-driven design. The round is co-led by existing investors including Borealis Ventures, Kodiak Venture Partners, Needham Capital Partners, and North Bridge Venture Partners. SpaceClaim recently announced the fourth release of the company's products, SpaceClaim Engineer and SpaceClaim Style and have experienced momentum in the marketplace.
Autodesk announced the AutoCAD Exchange, an online destination for AutoCAD users to connect and learn from experts, provide feedback to the product developers, and access professional tools that can help them do their jobs better. The launch of AutoCAD Exchange coincides with the availability of the Autodesk 2010 design software product line. The online community is rich with original multimedia content, including a video series, eLearning tools and aggregated CAD information from Web-based resources. Visitors can also create profiles to personalize their experience and share their own tips, scripts and applications, projects and experiences with the global community of AutoCAD users.
AutoCAD Exchange is a comprehensive online portal for AutoCAD users, bringing together a wide-ranging assortment of multi-media resources and content sharing tools for designers, including:
- AutoCAD Tips - AutoCAD Exchange provides users with an opportunity to hear directly from the product development team to garner tips and tricks from technical marketing experts for all AutoCAD-based products, leveraging video demonstrations for greater impact.
- User Collaboration - Users can upload their work and gather instant feedback from their peers with commenting capabilities in the showcase.
- CAD Resources - Users have access to a wide variety of resources on the AutoCAD Exchange site,
including eLearning curriculum, and Autodesk University courses, among others. Additionally, a robust Google-based search engine makes it easy to find information from Autodesk and across the Web.
- Daily Blog Feed - A blog role provides users with the latest in CAD news, featuring posts in a daily feed from CAD industry bloggers, as well as Autodesk bloggers, including Shaan Hurley, Heidi Hewitt, and Lynn Allen.
- Online Help - Previously only available within the AutoCAD application, users can now get answers to their questions quickly with online help for AutoCAD 2010.
The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, a multimillion dollar competition designed to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles, announced its official list of 111 Registered Teams. Having passed this first wave of judging, these teams now move one step closer to competing for their share of a $10 million prize purse that will be awarded to teams that win a rigorous long-distance stage competition and can exceed 100 MPG equivalent fuel economy (MPGe). The teams, which collectively represent 136 vehicle entries with 14 different fuel sources, include diverse groups from 25 U.S. states and 11 countries. Established automakers, emerging start-ups,
universities and inventors are among those represented. Six of the registered teams remain confidential. In the coming months, registered teams will undergo design judging based on a detailed data submission package, which will provide information on their vehicle's features, production capability, safety and business plans. Those that pass design judging will move into the performance testing phase and partake in a series of competition events that will begin as early as May 2010. Winners will be announced in 2010. The competition start date, the number of venues, and the geographic distribution of venues will be determined prior to July 2009. Winners will be selected from two classes in
the competition division -- Mainstream and Alternative. A complete list of Registered Teams, listed by the category in which they will compete and their proposed fuel type is available at
Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of
and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.