Faster to market with digital prototyping
Both vehicle manufacturers and auto component suppliers are doing their best to ride out the ongoing downturn but the grim fact remains that they operate in a complex and demanding environment and face unprecedented challenges today. Customer expectations are always on the rise and project times from design through to production reality are constantly being shortened – all this for lesser money than before. What’s more, OEMs are now sharing ideas and responsibility with their component suppliers in a bid to bring their products to market faster. Another key factor is that with most OEMs working in conjunction with their global design and engineering teams, it is imperative they use state-of-the-art methods and technologies to develop their products, be they vehicles or the components that go into them. Another key factor for success in the marketplace is product innovation while also managing costs closely.
That’s where the US-based Autodesk and its software products come in. They facilitate getting designs from sketch to the street easier and faster and, with the new solution for digital prototyping, enable improved collaboration and productivity.
New software for India
Autodesk has recently launched its latest 2D and 3D design and engineering software in India. According to Dr Andrew Anagnost, vice-president, engineering design and simulation products, significant enhancements and newly packaged suites of its industry-leading products will help manufacturers build better products.
“Digital prototyping is the first step towards manufacturing. Armed with this facility, companies are twice as fast to get into manufacturing and at half the cost,” says Anagnost.
The new 2010 product line-up for manufacturers includes the Autodesk Inventor family of products, AutoCAD Mechanical, AutoCAD Electrical, Alias, Moldflow, Navisworks, Showcase, 3dsMax Design and Vault software. All these are industry leading applications that constitute the Autodesk solution for digital prototyping.
“We aim to put powerful 2D and 3D software within the reach of mainstream manufacturers and companies of all sizes — not just large enterprises — to help them compete on a global scale,” adds Anagnost. He is confident that with the 2010 product line-up, customers will be able to achieve greater collaboration between industrial design, engineering, manufacturing and marketing teams that are all responsible for bringing quality products to market.
Ajay Advani, Head – Manufacturing solutions (India and SAARC), Autodesk India Pvt Ltd, says his company works with partners in India and has around 100 Centres of Excellence (CoEs) in the country. “We do not sell anything directly; we work through an authorised partner network or distributor. We have a number of offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune and around 100 employees in India, with 50 of them in sales and the rest in development, consulting and support groups. The CoEs or authorised training centres train people who have bought our software. These CoEs, which use our products and our curriculum, are tightly integrated with us. We want our users to use our products, adopt them and grow with them,” he says. The CoEs are independent businesses not owned by Autodesk which ensures that quality standards are maintained. “In the automotive field, every single OEM in India is our customer. Even the Tier I and II companies use our products. Everybody uses AutoCAD. At the higher end we have Alias, which is the concept styling product for the automotive industry. A number of customers have started taking our Inventor product line, using it for tools, jigs and fixtures and they are using it to communicate to their vendors,” said Advani.
Autodesk’s solution for Digital Prototyping helps automotive OEMs, suppliers and service providers to better design, visualise, and simulate product and process designs before they are even built. The company offers a broad set of interoperable solutions across all phases of product development to reduce development costs and promote collaboration. It enables workgroups to create a single digital model that can be used in every stage of production, bridging the gaps that usually exist between conceptual design, engineering, and manufacturing teams. This single digital model enables the simulation of the complete product and gives designers and engineers the ability to better visualise, optimise, and manage their designs before producing a physical prototype, helping projects get to market faster and reduce errors and the cost and waste associated with physical prototypes.
The benefits of Digital Prototyping accrue from the fact that it is attainable, scalable, and cost-efficient, allowing suppliers to realise benefits with minimal disruption to existing workflows. Briefly put, it helps create and maintain a single digital model in a multidisciplinary engineering environment. Advani notes that even small and medium enterprises in the auto industry have taken to using the company’s software. “They use AutoCAD and AutoCAD Mechanical, tools in the 2D segment. But they are beginning to use AutoCAD Inventor suite at the entry level for 3D too. It allows these players to get into the 3D mode at a reasonable cost,” he said.
Around 15 percent of Autodesk's revenues in India come from the automotive and transport segments. It also caters to the machine tool industry which supports the auto industry, thereby pushing up the share in revenues to as much as 35 percent.
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