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The evolution of technology throughout the years has hit an important milestone. Engineers, designers, analysts, and manufacturers have embraced simulation as a day-to-day activity, proving advancements in simulation capability and reliability is worthwhile to invest in. This is the same with CAD software. In addition to advancements with CAD capabilities in general, technology such as 3D printing have enabled developments such as generative technology as they are now more feasible to manufacture, ultimately allowing us to create just about any shape desired.

Because of these advancements, the engineer, designer, analyst, or manufacturer often struggles with juggling multiple software suites to get the results they are seeking, causing a conundrum of which one to choose.

One solution is to integrate simulation into the CAD environment, which is what Autodesk Nastran In-CAD was able to achieve. Its integration as an add-on for Autodesk Inventor helps open possibilities that traditional FEA workflows can lack, resulting in the potential for a smarter, faster and more efficient product design process. The single user interface lets the user swap environments within the same window, allows for easy analysis duplication/modification, and if the direct surfaces the constraints and loads were applied to have not been altered, automatic assignment on modified designs.

On a similar note, the Autodesk Fusion 360 simulation tools provide similar integration between CAD and simulation. With options to quickly analyze on the cloud, this opens the possibility of working from anywhere, be it the shop floor where you’re trying to redesign something in production or just on the road away from your normal workstation. Although Fusion 360’s simulation power is still developing, it is a great option for designers to do a quick check on their designs before passing them over for more formal structural analysis.

It may seem like a simple process to click between two windows/screens, but when comparing many design options or trying to hit a specific set of results by making modeling adjustments, that time can add up. Removing the need to export from CAD, import into FEA, analyze, keep track of revisions, then repeating as many times as needed can help save overall time and sanity.

Learn more about Autodesk Nastran In-CAD & Autodesk Inventor

Learn more about Autodesk Fusion 360 Simulation


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Kilroy Kristen

Kristen is the Technical Product Marketing Manager for Autodesk Moldflow, Helius, and CFD products. She has a degree in Plastics Engineering Technology from Pennsylvania State University, and has experience as a facility and project engineer at a custom injection molder. Kristen joined Autodesk in 2013 as a technical support specialist, focusing on working with Moldflow customers. She uses her industry and product expertise to create content and manage digital marketing efforts for Autodesk's simulation portfolio.