Autodesk Partners With Granta Design Around Sustainability

October 22, 2010

2 Min Read
Autodesk Partners With Granta Design Around Sustainability

Autodesk Inc. took ahuge step towards helping its engineering customers address the challengesassociated with sustainable design via its announcement this week of astrategic partnership with Granta DesignLtd., a company recognized for its materials information technology.

Granta's software is currently used by engineeringenterprises to manage materials information; to help select, substitute andoptimize costs around materials choices; and to help design in the context ofenvironmental objectives and regulations. Autodesk's vision is to partner withGranta to leverage its materials information database and technology to empowerbetter materials selection when it comes to sustainable design, according toSarah Krasley, Autodesk's industry manager, sustainability.

"There are a lot of issues users are coming up against interms of making better decisions earlier on in the design process," Krasleysays. "What a part is made up of can drastically change the environmentalfootprint of a product. We want to empower engineers with better choices."

As a result of their partnership, Granta and Autodesk planto co-develop software that will add new sustainable design capabilities to theAutodesk solution. The companies will work to integrate Granta's eco designmethods and materials database information into the Autodesk digitalprototyping suite, with the goal being to help designers estimate theenvironmental impact of their products and make more informed design decisionsaround sustainability, Krasley explains. 

For example, an engineer who has routinely chosen a specificmaterial has no visibility into what the environmental impact of that materialis, she says. "They know that it has to adhere to certain performance criteriaand that it needs to work with the machines in the factory that have to produceit," she says. "They haven't fully explored the materials aspect because thatdon't have visibility into what other materials could work that wouldn't end upin a landfill or that would deliver a better carbon footprint."

Design issues around sustainability are increasing inimportance, Krasley says, pointing to dozens of initiatives, includingWalmart's Sustainability Index and the EPEAT regulations for consumerelectronics. There is also the FTC "Green Guide," adirective would require manufacturers marketing their products as made withrenewable materials to answer specific questions such as how much of theproduct is made with those materials, how they are sourced and why they areconsidered renewable.

There is no timeframe for delivery of a specific productresulting from the Autodesk/Granta alliance. Rather, Krasley said the companieswill be collaborating and working with customers over the next few months toexplore possible options.

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