Autodesk: Revolutionizing Manufacturing Design and Simulation

Greg Fallon, Vice President, Business Strategy and Marketing, Design and Manufacturing
Historically, the advent of computer-aided design (CAD) helped in curbing the time required for a product’s prototyping, and consequently, its mass production by a large extent. Simulation has duly contributed to helping manufacturers re-route around manual, material-wasteful trialing environments. Autodesk, the household name when it comes to product design, manufacturing, and simulation, has been at the forefront in enabling creative engineers across various industry verticals to efficiently materialize their design vision. A little over 5 years ago, Autodesk launched Fusion 360, the company’s latest addition into its arsenal of tools for product design and manufacturing. In essence, Fusion 360 is an embodiment of the Autodesk vision to accelerate, as well as bridge, functional process gaps that are prevalent within product design and development processes today. The offering houses capabilities that essentially revolutionize the approach for design and simulation.

While simulation generally relates to ‘virtualized testing,’ Fusion 360 imparts powerful, suggestive capabilities, banking upon the novel concept of generative design technologies, which is widely regarded as the ‘future’ of manufacturing-based design. The technology places numerous design ideas based on the design parameters and constraints of the product at the design engineer’s disposal. Generative design appends the ‘smart’ tag to design and simulation apps. An aspect which is easier said than done! As proponents of the technology, the innovation labs at Autodesk have brought together cutting-edge AI tools, access to powerful cloud processing, seamless cross-compatibility, and an affordable pricing model to render Fusion 360 as a one of its kind offering in the space.

Fusion 360 has garnered immense interest from a wide range of companies including consumer electronics, automotive suppliers, aerospace entities, and even one-man shops. With the pay-for-usage pricing model—wherein subscribers need to pay only for the design ideas they choose to work further upon—and readily available cloud-based computing resources capable of running thousands of intensive design simulations, Fusion 360 immensely democratizes itself. “Another advantageous factor of using Fusion 360 is that it is built on an entirely open ecosystem.
In many instances, users tend to start using the product from an existing design made from another CAD tool, say SolidWorks. Users can easily input the SolidWorks assembly into Fusion 360 and use that as a starting point in generative design. They can as well take it out of Fusion 360 and put it back to SolidWorks in such a way that an update on a SolidWorks file will reflect simultaneously on the Fusion 360 file,” says Greg Fallon, Vice President, Business Strategy and Marketing, Design and Manufacturing at Autodesk.

Fusion 360 is designed to effectively streamline and remove friction between various stages of product development by letting data flow seamlessly

Fusion 360 is designed to effectively streamline and remove friction between various stages of product development by letting ‘data flow seamlessly’ as Fallon mentions. For instance, generative design within Fusion 360 can unify a design engineer’s vision on the aesthetic and structural integrity of a product, with the functionality view-point that a manufacturing engineer may envision on the product design. This eliminates the prevalent, time-consuming shuttling of designs across various functional teams in the manufacturing product development phase. Fusion 360 enables users to generate tool paths for a variety of machines which can bring clarity into the post-design phase of a product.

Utilizing Fusion 360, General Motors (GM) was able to come up with 150 valid design options for a seat belt assemble based on the parameters that engineers set, in a day instead of weeks. GM later acknowledged that the design they eventually chose to proceed with was one which none of their designers would have possibly conceived. When it reaches production, the end-product would prove to be 40 percent lighter and 20 percent stronger. The case best exemplifies the Fusion 360’s immense potential in reshaping manufacturing design and production prophecies. “Today we are focused on functional requirements of designs as they pertain to structural integrity for instance. In the future, we plan to extend it to other aspects of design requirements,” concludes Fallon.

Autodesk News

Autodesk to Acquire AI-Powered Construction Software Provider Pype

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. - Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Pype, a provider of cloud-based solutions for automating construction project management workflows. The acquisition will empower general contractors, subcontractors and owners to gain even more value from Autodesk Construction Cloud by automating critical construction workflows such as submittals and closeouts to increase productivity and mitigate project risk.

Pype’s suite of software reduces tedious manual entry and human error that can lead to rework, cost overruns and schedule delays on construction projects. The company’s technology leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically analyze and extract critical construction data such as project plans and specifications to be used throughout the project lifecycle. By automating these traditional manual workflows and converting real-time data into actionable insights, construction teams have the power to increase collaboration and project efficiency. Pype customers include top general contractors such as Barton Malow, JE Dunn, McCarthy, Mortenson and Skanska, among others.

Since 2017, Autodesk has invested in nine construction technology startups. The company also acquired Assemble, BuildingConnected and PlanGrid; these three acquisitions alone total more than $1.1 billion.

“I could not be more optimistic about the future of the building industry,” said Andrew Anagnost, CEO of Autodesk. “Even in challenging times such as those we are currently facing, Autodesk remains focused on making the jobs of people who build easier. Pype’s robust machine learning capabilities will empower Autodesk customers to connect workflows across the building lifecycle in new ways and optimize their businesses for long-term resiliency.”

“We’re incredibly proud of the rapid growth Pype has experienced since its founding in 2015,” said Sunil Dorairajan, CEO and co-founder of Pype. “We’ve launched four widely adopted solutions to-date, each rooted in our ongoing mission to automate manual construction workflows for increased productivity and reduced risk. Now as part of Autodesk, we look forward to expanding these automated capabilities to ensure construction teams efficiently progress through projects, from design to closeout.”

“JE Dunn has been a pioneer at incorporating innovation to create and enhance robust digital and automated processes,” said John Jacobs, Chief Information Officer of JE Dunn. “Both Autodesk and Pype have been strategic partners throughout this digital journey, each with unique strengths and best-in-class solutions. Combining Autodesk’s construction management technology with Pype’s AI-powered project management capabilities will certainly accelerate the ongoing transformation of our industry.”

Pype will integrate with Autodesk Construction Cloud for streamlined project management

Autodesk Construction Cloud, which brings together Assemble, BIM 360, BuildingConnected and PlanGrid, is a powerful portfolio of software and services comprised of advanced technology, the industry’s largest builder’s network and predictive insights. With Autodesk’s established design authoring tools, Autodesk Construction Cloud connects headquarters, office and field teams to increase collaboration and productivity.

Following the acquisition, Autodesk plans to integrate Pype products with Autodesk Construction Cloud. Pype’s product suite includes:

AutoSpecs: Allows construction professionals to generate submittal logs in a matter of minutes

Closeout: Accelerates the construction closeout process via an easy-to-use, centralized dashboard and automated document collection

eBinder: Automatically converts hundreds of closeout documents into a fully indexed, hyperlinked and searchable turnover file

SmartPlans: Extracts submittals, product schedules, and contract compliance requirements from drawings

“Too many critical construction workflows are still performed manually by project teams, leading to inefficiencies and exposing companies to increased risk such as schedule delays and cost overruns,” said Jim Lynch, vice president and general manager of Autodesk Construction Solutions at Autodesk. “Pype’s software makes data both actionable and collaborative, allowing teams to build and automate workflows that increase on-time and on-budget project delivery. Following the acquisition, Pype will join our portfolio of best-in-class solutions that are widely used by the construction industry to manage the building lifecycle from design through to operations.”

“While risk is inherent in the construction business, leveraging artificial intelligence to automate tedious yet consequential data and processes significantly reduces project risk associated with human error,” said Karuna Ammireddy, CTO and co-founder of Pype. “Together, Pype’s solutions with Autodesk Construction Cloud will enable customers across the industry to mitigate risk during each step of the building process.”


San Rafael, CA

Greg Fallon, Vice President, Business Strategy and Marketing, Design and Manufacturing

Fusion 360 product offering houses generative design capabilities to enable faster, streamlined manufacturing product design and development