Breaking Down the Wall between Design and Manufacturing

Product design has evolved over the years to include much more than just designing a 3D model. Controlling part revisions, collaboration, analysis, light weighting, drawings and more are now just some of the tasks in product design. Tools for product design have become better with increased functionality and interoperability with each other.

Unfortunately, for many designs, the workflow comes to an abrupt halt once manufacturing starts. Designs are figuratively thrown over some invisible wall, where the manufacturing can take place. Sometimes this means yet more design, such as creating mold or die components for running production. Sometimes it is just the physical manufacture of the part or necessary tooling that is thrown over the wall.

The benefits of an integrated CAM into CAD solution have been known for years, and discussed in this article. When surveyed, many manufacturing facilities also prefer an integrated CAD CAM solution. Unfortunately, the CAM software industry is quite fragmented, with many manufacturers using older technology or outdated interfaces because they really don’t know or are confused on what’s available. This has had the effect of strengthening that invisible wall between design and manufacturing, rather than shattering it.

For several years now, Autodesk has provided a one stop bundle for design, appropriately titled the Product Design Collection. This collection included AutoCAD and Inventor for drawing and modeling. Vault for product data management. It also included Navisworks and AutoCAD Architecture for some building work. Factory Design Utilities provided analysis of factory layouts. Fusion 360 is included for next generation design. Plus other software for rendering, animation, and 3D scanning.

Product Design & Manufacturing Collection

However, the Product Design Collection did not address that invisible wall between design and manufacturing, until now. On August 7th, 2017 Autodesk announced some additions to the collection, as well as a new name, the Product Design & Manufacturing Collection. This collection adds up to 5-axis HSM for Inventor CAM functionality, Nastran in CAD for Inventor, and up to 5-axis HSMWorks CAM for SOLIDWORKS.

Not only does the Product Design & Manufacturing Collection break through the wall between design and manufacturing, but it’s a one stop purchase to getting the best Inventor ever. With professional grade modeling and design automation, analysis, 5-axis CAM, factory utilities and more, Inventor provides one integrated experience, for one complete workflow.

Not only was the collection a great deal in the past, but it’s also an even better value today. Although it includes HSM CAM functions up to 5-axis and Nastran in CAD analysis, the subscription price remains the same as before the change. That’s a net decrease in price for the 5-axis HSM CAM offerings from before, and you receive so much more.

Customers that subscribe to the Collection also get the benefit of a future-proofed toolset. Updates and new functionality happen frequently to all products. Adding disruptive technology like cloud-based Fusion 360 or new technologies like generative design mean you are always receiving the latest technology available.

Autodesk’s Product Design & Manufacturing Collection marks a logical step in connecting what was often two separate workflows for design and manufacturing into one. This consolidated workflow will only become more important when you start adding in machine learning, virtual reality and the Internet of Things for machine and manufacturing connectivity.

Product Design & Manufacturing Collection

Al Whatmough is Product Manager at Autodesk for the HSM based CAM product; HSMWorks, Inventor HSM & Fusion 360. A machinist by trade, prior to joining Autodesk, Al was involved in the CADCAM field by running or owning companies that provided sales, services and created training for businesses wishing to implement integrated CAD/CAM technology.

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