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Rapid growth ahead for food, defence and energy

The decline in manufacturing output in Australia is easing and sectors such as food and beverage, defence and energy-based mining have experienced increased activity and are forecast for strong continued growth.

There has also been a noticeable increase in activity among metal fabrication and industrial machinery customers, which may indicate an opening up of supply chains following depletion of inventories.

The current environment will drive more innovation and flexibility in the manufacturing sector, as organisations with access to technologies that enable rapid adaptation will be in a solid position to gain market share when the financial crisis eases.

Continued innovation in the drive for sustainability and the government’s push to regulate carbon emissions has introduced a new range of composite materials that comprise light weight materials, like plastics, and heavier, metal-based materials that are easier to recycle.

These new materials behave very differently in the manufacturing process, which is a key area of research at Autodesk’s Moldflow research and development centre in Melbourne, Australia. Autodesk, together with polymer manufacturers and users of plastics, are researching these new composites to ensure manufacturing customers understand how to work with them.

The manufacturing organisations Autodesk deals with are changing their strategies to focus on collaboration between suppliers and customers, but without a common language this communication becomes very difficult. Autodesk’s digital prototyping solution provides cost effective and interoperable visualisation tools to help provide a common view to all parties of what is being manufactured.

Digital prototyping is a link between conceptual design, engineering, simulation and optimisation, visualisation and data management. The ability to replicate the real world environment digitally lets manufacturers take more design risks, knowing they can test the outcomes they are looking for without having to build a costly physical prototype.

In a climate where manufacturers are striving to become more productive, efficient and cost-effective in their operations, Autodesk provides support with its affordable digital prototyping solutions. Its release of Autodesk Inventor 2010 supplies strong translators for many other software formats, eliminating the need to purchase one of each computer aided design (CAD) package, as Autodesk Inventor can translate other CAD designs natively.

By providing a viable, cost-effective alternative to the multi-CAD environment, Autodesk is ensuring manufacturers stay viable and profitable.

Autodesk’s recent acquisition of Moldflow, ilogics and Algor further reflect the company’s commitment to being cost effective, scalable and attainable. Portions of these two leading products are now available in the Autodesk Inventor 2010 solution.

Customers on the Autodesk subscription program now have the advantage of multi-assembly finite element analysis (FEA) within their CAD environment, increasing design flexibility and speed and reducing the cost of FEA certification, as they can design to an acceptable standard before sending to a third party or another piece of software.

iLogics gives engineers access to rules-based designs directly from the CAD environment, reducing tedious tasks and providing greater speed and flexibility to manufacturers at no extra cost. The Moldflow acquisition helps manufacturers determine the malleability of a plastic part from the CAD environment, further reducing design time.

With manufacturing output coming back to life in Australia, digital prototyping will position manufacturers for rapid growth and enable them to stand out from the competition once the financial crisis eases.

[Karsten Hojberg is the director, manufacturing solutions division, Autodesk.]

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