A recent study by Aberdeen Group turned the spotlight on the importance of digital prototyping and simulation as it pertains to process of product development. Released last September, the study, “The Transition from 2D Drafting to 3D Modeling Benchmark Report,” found that best-in-class manufacturers (those meeting cost, revenue, quality and launch date targets 86% of the time) built half the number of physical prototypes than the average manufacturer.
Why is this is important to the average engineering Joe? Because those same firms get their products to market 58% faster with nearly 50% lower prototyping costs, according to Aberdeen. That’s certainly nothing to scoff at.
Autodesk executives touted those findings when positioning the latest upgrades and additions to their design tool product portfolio announced this week. To be best-in-class is not just about moving from 2D to 3D, but rather to push ahead to digital prototyping to answer questions about your product before you start to build it, said Andrew Anagnost, senior director of CAD and CAE products in Autodesk’s Manufacturing Group.
Anagnost says Autodesk’s goal with its new releases is to make it easier for engineers to do more effective digital prototyping. Up until now, he maintained, it’s been too difficult for most companies to adopt the practice. In fact, the wide ranging estimate is that between 50% to 80% of Autodesk’s customer base is still firmly planted in the 2D world, he said.
To help facilitate the transition, the Autodesk upgrades natively connect all of the disciplines involved in product development, from industrial design to mechanical and electrical engineering and manufacturing. New Inventor features to aid in digital prototyping include:
• DWG Interoperability through DWG TrueConnect. This lets users read and write DWG files without translators while maintaining full associativity with the 3D inventor model;
• Interoperability with AliasStudio, its conceptual design and illustration tool suite. Now users can import AutoCAD surface and solid data and there’s also a new DWG export feature in AliasStudio.
• Ribbon cable design tools for controlling the shape and routing of ribbon cables, simplifying the design of electrical wiring.
• An updated 2D sketch environment.
In addition to the Inventor enhancements, Autodesk released enhanced versions of its other manufacturing products, including Autodesk ProductStream, software for automating the release-management process, and AutoCAD Mechanical and AutoCAD Electrical. Details on purchasing options will be available in the spring.