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Design software: From Mumbai Monorail to Aston Martin

May 19 2014, 09:18 IST
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From the Mumbai Monorail to an Aston Martin, design is the uniting factor. From the Mumbai Monorail to an Aston Martin, design is the uniting factor.
SummaryDesign software is changing how the world around us is being planned.

Design software is changing how the world around us is being planned. From building iconic structures to making movies, from manufacturing cars to solving climate change problems, from the Mumbai Monorail to an Aston Martin, design is the uniting factor

Last month Autodesk, the maker of computer-aided design (CAD) software, unveiled its 2015 Design Suites in India. Best known for AutoCAD—a software application for 2D and 3D design and drafting—the company aims to help professionals imagine, design and create a better world.

The 2015 family primarily includes seven suites. One, the AutoCAD Design Suite that offers a refined visual interface, better point cloud support to bring the real world into the AutoCAD canvas, and easier ways to work with online maps. Two, the Building Design Suite that delivers improved integration with BIM 360 cloud services and improvements to Autodesk Revit. Three, the Factory Design Suite (FDS) that introduces easier moves from 2D AutoCAD drawings to 3D factory layouts. Four, the Infrastructure Design Suite that includes enhancements to AutoCAD Civil 3D software. Five, the Plant Design Suite that rolls out improvements to AutoCAD Plant 3D software. Six, the Product Design Suite (PrDS) that has better modelling capabilities. And seven, the Maya 2015 software that adds new capabilities to the toolset.

To cut through the jargon, the 2015 family has something for everyone who is involved in the design and making of products and projects. Pradeep Nair, managing director, Autodesk (India & SAARC), says, “Users will notice a significant difference in how much easier it is to get their work done with the Autodesk 2015 Design Suites.” He adds that AutoCAD 2015 is the most ambitious redesign of the AutoCAD interface in more than 10 years.

Rajiv Bajaj, head, Manufacturing, Autodesk India, adds, “Both the PrDS and FDS provide designers with a complete set of tools and cloud services that allow them to simplify design, visualisation and simulation work-flows from product development through to delivery. By offering solutions that are scalable, cost-effective and open, our customers have the opportunity to design, manufacture and sell great products.” These two design suites have attracted testimonials too. Rajiv Gandhi, director, Vulcan Industrial Engineering, says, “Autodesk solutions have given us an exceptionally improved development process and have enabled us to implement all the product design activities on the PrDS.” Hemant Makwana, director, Taikisha Engineering India, adds, “We are excited with the implementation of the FDS, which will help us in visualising the paint-booth layouts to identify the potential problems during the planning stage itself.”

On the Infrastructure Design Suite and Building Design Suite, Sunil MK, head, Architecture, Engineering & Construction, Autodesk India, says, “Both these suites can empower designers, architects and engineers with technology for greater productivity, improved collaboration and better integrated BIM work-flows.”

Autodesk, in fact, has played a major role in the design and creation of various global landmarks. Nair explains it this way, “From our humble beginnings as the desktop-based CAD company to becoming a leader in 3D design and engineering software, our products have been involved in designing iconic projects like the Shanghai Tower and New York’s Freedom Tower.” Moving from landmarks to landmark movies, Nair says that recent Hollywood flicks such as Gravity, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger and Star Trek Into Darkness used Autodesk software to bring their stories to life. “Then, almost every car made in this world uses Autodesk software at some stage in the design and development of the project. For instance, Aston Martin uses Autodesk Alias to design its cars. And we were also involved in the redesign of the Ford Mustang,” Nair adds. In fact, in car manufacturing, CAD-enabled digital prototyping is already saving companies huge sums of money as they are no longer limited to creating and testing physical prototypes. “A digital prototype of a car can be used to explore, visualise and model a product even before it is made and can be tested for safety, resilience, durability, balance and performance at the click of a button.” More recently, Ashok Leyland used the Alias software to design its LCVs.

Coming to how the company is leading India’s design-led revolution, Nair says that Autodesk is more than just a software company. “Design technology is now more relevant for India than ever before,” he says, adding that Mumbai Monorail and the city’s T2 International Airport used Autodesk’s Building Information Modelling (BIM) solutions. “Then, in the media and entertainment sector, movies such as Krrish 3 and Chennai Express used Autodesk software to provide Indian viewers with a visual treat that was previously not possible.”

Nair also tells us that Autodesk is developing design skills in India through its education partnerships. “Our partnerships in education have touched 19 million students and include more than 70% of the AICTE-recognised engineering colleges. We have launched the Autodesk Foundation that will invest in and support non-profit organisations using the power of design to help solve epic challenges such as climate change, access to water and healthcare. From industry and academia to civil society, we are advocating the use of design technology in India to solve the most pressing challenges. We are at the centre of India’s design-led revolution and aspire to lead the way,” he adds.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in India also stand to gain from the company’s solutions. “Our growth has been dependent on small companies. The subscription-based software purchase and cloud services as a part of our 2015 Design Suites can deliver significant value for SMEs and professionals. One of the things designers traditionally struggled with was the amount of processing power required to run powerful and sophisticated simulations. If you do not have state-of-the-art hardware, running simulations becomes tedious. This is where the practically infinite processing power of cloud plays a crucial role. Autodesk subscription offers customers new purchasing options that

enable to choose the plan that best fits their current project needs and budget,” Nair says.

In most sectors, CAD solutions turn out to be very cost-effective. Nair confirms, “When we look at the overall benefits on project costs that CAD software enables, it is a worthwhile investment. In the construction sector, a lot of issues such as cost overruns, project delays and planning flaws can be effectively resolved using 3D design software. For example, in the Mumbai Monorail project, the AutoCAD Civil 3D software helped L&T engineers visualise, simulate and analyse the real-world performance of their designs early in the design process in a 3D environment. It greatly aided the timely execution of the project.”

If CAD technology can reduce manufacturing costs, it can also help reduce environmental impact throughout the manufacturing process. Nair agrees to this. “In the manufacturing industry, one of the major concerns is the amount of waste that is generated during the production process and the time spent in rectifying design flaws. Most companies have to bleed useful resources due to these reasons. Our sustainability solutions for manufacturing are based on digital prototyping, simulation and lifecycle management platforms, so teams can explore, implement and communicate sustainable design decisions. This helps companies create, validate, optimise and communicate ideas from the conceptual design phase through the manufacturing process, delivering products to market faster.” Clearly, digital prototyping technology can significantly shrink waste and save large amount of time which is otherwise lost in creating reiterations of product design in the physical world.

Overall, 3D design software is changing how the world around us is being planned. From building iconic structures to making movies, from manufacturing cars to solving climate change problems, from the Mumbai Monorail to an Aston Martin, design is the uniting factor. And companies such as Autodesk are helping professionals imagine, design and create a better world.

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