"Digital prototyping for innovation in manufacturing"

That is the title of a workshop I am attending, the morning of day two of Autodesk World Press Day, 2008. Of course, we have to wait on several laggard journalists who are too busy eating breakfast and yakking to bother with work. Autodesk says it has concentrated on such things as conceptual design; connecting industial design and engineering; and marrying electrical and manufacturing design.

For example, in industrial machinery, the stages are conceptual design, engineering, and manufacturing.

For conceptual design, it's now easier to synchronize work with wider accessiblity of the DWF format. One presenter played the part of a supplier. He goes into Productstream, searches for a design, and gets a few results that are suitable for the part. He pulls up the basic schematic in the DWF format. He then implements the file into Productstream. Now there is an ability to collaborate. The presenter packages everything up and sends it for review to Design Review in DWF.

The new Inventor version supports massive assemblies with 64-bit support. Functional design concepts are now being used for electrical. For example, advanced sheet metal capabilities include rules for sheet metal design. And stuff like motors know how to put in their own circuits. Users can now simply change a pipe style and the system takes into account all the changes necessary.

And to put a sheetmetal guard on the back of the machine, users can pull in a guard and change corner reliefs easily, and the flanges rebuild. Graphic icons help engineers build features that can actually be manufactured. Model lets users analyze form and fit, and also dynamic capabilities for function. The software lets users work in the context of a whole assembly, such as a robotic manufacturing cell.

All these design capabilities let engineers re-use designs downstream. Productstream works with Microsoft SharePoint to support collaboration thoughout the enterprise. Inventor lets users make motion studies that can be made into movies. Revit can take Inventor data directly and incorporate it into the building design. This lets users see, for example, if a production line will interfer with the facility.

Consumer products is a different industry than machinery, in that it is not B2B. Consumer products involve industrial design, engineering, manufacturing, and marketing. AliasStudio directly reads Inventor data. The industrial designer sketches in Alias on a tablet with a pen. Then he adds rendering to the sketch, while referencing the Inventor data. So everything is done with respect to the mechanical assembly, and the drawings don't have to be redone. Inventor data thus interacts with the surface data.

Inventor has improvements for native translations. What is called an iFeature includes much of the detail of features.

Inventor now can deal with the manufacture of plastic parts. Users are guided through mold design....

More to come later.....

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