Brushing off attacks from its flanks by other software developers, Autodesk continues to enhance its flagship AutoCAD product. The company announced its 20th AutoCAD release recently, calling it a major upgrade of its core 2D drafting capabilities that will speed up the process for engineers.
Says Mark Strassman, senior marketing director, estimated time savings with the new capabilities are 10 hrs per week.
While competitors such as SolidWorks and Solid Edge tout their 3D solid modeling features and launch direct assaults to woo AutoCAD users to their folds, Autodesk is investing in its 2D product because it feels that 2D drafting remains a critical function in engineering.
"Half of our million-plus customers use 2D and 3D," Strassman says. "And even the 3D users say they spend 80 percent of their time documenting their designs in 2D," he adds. "Saving them time in that effort is important."
What's more, he comments, the 2D AutoCAD product also serves as a platform for the company's own 3D solid modeling software, Autodesk Inventor.
Among the enhancements in the latest AutoCAD release:
Dynamic blocks that represent objects such as bolts that engineers use frequently. One bolt block would represent several different bolts. Special grips allow stretching, scaling, and rotating them, adding or removing threads as needed. Strassman says the feature will save engineers time they would normally take exploding the block and editing geometry.
Dynamic Input settings that enable users to enter dimensions right at the cursor without going back and forth from cursor location to command line.
Customizable user interface, which, says Strassman, makes the customization that was already in the product easier. He says that formerly users had to be familiar with several tools and files to get the customization they wanted. The new release speeds up the process by providing a centralized location for creating and editing interface components.
In the succession of AutoCAD releases from 2002 to 2005, Strassman says, the company included features that saved about 15 hrs per week of drafting time. "We knew we could save even more time, and this release does that," he asserts.
For more information on AutoCAD, check out the link: http://rbi.ims.ca/4392-530