August 11, 2017
The Autodesk Product Design & Manufacturing Collection—a bundle most relevant to DE readers—just got a whole lot bigger at no extra cost.
In the middle of last year, Autodesk restructured its offerings. It replaced the industry software suites with three new industry collections: AEC Collection (for architecture, engineering, and construction); Product Design Collection; and Media & Entertainment Collection.
This week, the company added a set of CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) and simulation packages to the Product Design Collection, now called Product Design & Manufacturing Collection.
Nastran and HSMWorks at No Extra Cost
In the blog post announcing the change, Stephen Hooper, Sr. director of manufacturing business strategy and marketing, Autodesk, said, “Specifically, we’re adding the world-class simulation software Nastran In-CAD and the top-flight Autodesk HSM CAM software to the collection. Annual subscriptions for both of those used to cost over $7,000 per year together. But because we believe so firmly in the advantages of combining design, engineering, and manufacturing, we’re adding them at no additional cost to the collection. It will remain just $2460 per year (in the U.S.).”
The move expands what was previously a conceptual design software collection to a new bundle that addresses both design and manufacturing.
The collection’s centerpiece, Autodesk Inventor Professional, now features CAD-embedded FEA (finite element analysis), made possible by the addition of Nastran In-CAD. It’s also augmented by Inventor HSM, a specialized software package for simulating and analyzing CNC (computer numeric controlled) machining operations.
HSMWorks, an independent CAM software developer with plug-ins for CAD users, was acquired by Autodesk in 2012.
The Integrated Workflow
Whereas conceptual design engineers use CAD software to define new products, analysts use FEA packages to verify the validity and performance of the proposed concepts. In the production phase, manufacturing engineers use CAM software to plan and execute the machining routines.
By incorporating FEA and CAM into Autodesk Inventor’s CAD environment, the company enables designers to gain better insights into the analysis and production phases. With the ability to spot geometry that can trigger production failures or performance issues, the integrated workflow is expected to reduce costly errors.
Autodesk licenses its software under subscription programs. As long as the subscription remains active, the subscriber gets automatic updates to the software at no extra cost. A departure from the perpetual licenses that used to be the industry norm, subscription licensing is now gaining momentum as the new sales model, particularly attractive to new users with limited budget or shorter project cycle times.
The cloud-hosted collaboration features in Fusion 360, also part of the collection, lets designers work together from different locations on the same project.
The addition of Nastran FEA and HSMWorks features makes the Autodesk Product Design & Manufacturing Collection much more comprehensive, yet within reach of many small and midsized firms. The new bundle is bound to put pressure on Autodesk rivals—Dassault Systemes, PTC, and Siemens PLM Software—to reexamine their bundle pricing to remain competitive.