Automation software: Factories, plant designs get more efficient with new 3D design suite, Autodesk says
Autodesk Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK), supplier of 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, recently introduced a family of software suites for visual, factory and plant design. The new suites will offer increased functionality, interoperability and provide users with a superior user experience through a simpler, more cost-effective purchasing and deployment process, Autodesk says.
Digital prototyping for the factory: 3D design visibility
“The introduction of the Factory Design Suite is a clear demonstration of our commitment to extending digital prototyping into the factory,” says Scott Reese, senior director, digital factory at Autodesk. Reese told Control Engineering, “A 3-D model of the factory gives greater visibility not only into how it’s laid out but also how it operates. Ultimately users want to optimize the layout to achieve the most efficient manufacturing process, and a 2D layout drawing alone just doesn’t give you that visibility. The Autodesk Factory Design Suite allows users to start exploring what-if scenarios digitally, which gives them much greater insight on the various impacts and costs before they commit to making a change.”
Reese explains that it’s imperative for controls engineers to understand the implications for the controls system before a change is made in the physical factory environment. The Autodesk software solution “has the power to change the controls engineer’s life for the better.
For example, he says, the controls engineer:
- Can visualize and simulate how the machines they are designing fit into the factory;
- Ensure proper clearance for control panels;
- Allow engineers appropriate access to the PLC before the factory is built; and
- Gain a greater understanding on how safety fences or safety mats will fit into space constraints.
“By giving controls, mechanical and manufacturing engineers greater visibility into how factory floors are designed and laid out,” Reese says, “they can get the level of information they need to make well informed decisions that drive manufacturing profitability."
This software makes it "much easier for Autodesk customers to accelerate their design processes and benefit from the wide range of Autodesk design, visualization and simulation technologies,” says Carl Bass, Autodesk president and chief executive officer. “Customers will also benefit from increased interoperability and productivity through access to new features and web services that will only be available as part of the design suite family.”
Suites for visual, plant and factory design are the first releases of the new family of design suites aimed to address industry workflows. The design suites will provide strong interoperability between the products, and a range of capabilities for design and visualization. The first three suites are:
- Autodesk Factory Design Suite is for machine and equipment builders, system integrators and manufacturers who design, visualize and simulate layouts of machine lines and entire manufacturing facilities. Autodesk Factory Design Suite helps manufacturers make better layout decisions by creating a digital prototype of the factory before equipment is installed and commissioned. The primary products in this suite include AutoCAD Architecture, Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Vault and Autodesk Navisworks.
- Autodesk Plant Design Suite is for plant designers and engineers who need integrated plant design and whole-project review capabilities for plant design projects. Primary products in this suite are AutoCAD, AutoCAD P&ID, AutoCAD Plant 3D and Autodesk Navisworks.
- Autodesk Design Suite is for architects and designers working with AutoCAD software who desire enhanced concept design, sketching and best-in-class 3D visualization capabilities. Main products in this suite include AutoCAD, 3ds Max Design and Alias Design.
Each suite will be available in several editions, with each edition offering progressively broader and more sophisticated capabilities.
Availability for new Autodesk design software
The Autodesk Design Suite and the Autodesk Factory Design Suite are available in select countries in North America, Asia, Europe and Latin America. The Autodesk Plant Design Suite will be available this month, the company said in a June 23 announcement. For more information visit
Autodesk Inc., based in San Rafael, CA, offers 3D design, engineering and entertainme1nt software for the manufacturing, building and construction, and media and entertainment markets. Autodesk AutoCAD software was introduced in 1982 to visualize designs digitally to help save time and money.
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– Edited by Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering content strategist, www.controelng.com