More on Autodesk Manufacturing Tech Day

We spent yesterday learning about new features and advancements in Autodesk's 2010 products:

First, the developer stresses how well its programs work together to provide a digital prototype which acts as a master model and lets engineers work concurrently on a design during product development. According to the company, Inventor 2010, AutoCAD, Alias, and the moldflow and FE packages allow almost seamless exchange of data.

New features in AutoCAD 2010 include parametric drawing. This lets users apply geometric constraints to drawings. The software has the same constraint engine as the developer's other tools. Users can now also push and pull what are called mesh objects (a new object type) to create smooth shapes. A "gizmo" tool lets users move, scale, and rotate the object. All these capabilities mean that AutoCAD can be used for conceptual design!

The developer is pushing the use of Inventor 2010 for the design of consumer products. Users can import surfaces from Alias (a surface modeler) and Inventor stitches together the surfaces for a 3D model. Models can be "split" into sections to make a multibody so different individuals can work on the model at the same time.

Interestingly, Autodesk said it queried designers in China for feedback on the new mold-design features in Inventor. Evidently, China is big in mold design. New: hole patching and runner surface development are automated. The system uses the Moldflow engine to make design suggestions. The Moldflow data base includes over 8,000 materials. When Autodesk acquired Moldflow, it also got the material-analysis labs in Ithaca, N.Y. and Melbourne, Australia.For sustainability purposes, the plastic design component of Inventor includes an energy usage indicator and another code that indicates recyclability.

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