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Autodesk embraces AI

At Autodesk University, Autodesk has announced it will expand Fusion capabilities, leveraging AI to unlock automation and creativity across design and make.

Autodesk University has seen Autodesk launch Autodesk AI , technology that unlocks creativity, helps solve problems, and eliminates non-productive work across the industries that design and make the world around us.

Autodesk Fusion launched 10 years ago with a vision of unifying the siloed product design and manufacturing process, and that remains the vision. Last year, Autodesk introduced its Fusion industry cloud for manufacturing. Anchored on Autodesk’s Design and Make Platform, this end-to-end, connected solution is designed to unify people, data, technologies, and workflows from product design to manufacturing, all the way through to shop floor operations.

Fusion transforms the way organisations design and make by removing barriers caused by disconnected tools that inhibit the flow of information across teams. The first of its kind – integrating CAD, CAM, CAE, and PCB design capabilities, and connecting PLM, PDM, and MES solutions – Fusion streamlines processes across the entire product development and manufacturing lifecycle.

Whereas manufacturers traditionally relied on multiple tools throughout different phases of product development, necessitating multiple handoffs from one team to another, Fusion brings it all together. Changes made in one workflow are instantly reflected everywhere. No one works with outdated models. Everyone saves time and headaches.

In Autodesk Fusion, customers can automatically generate product designs that are optimised for manufacturing method, performance, cost, and more. Fusion workflows are also being developed to enable automated creation of templatised Computer-Aided Manufacturing toolpaths that can be adjusted by the user as needed. And automated drawings will provide interactive experiences around sheet creation, view placement, and annotation workflows.

The Autodesk Data Model, which is the heart of Fusion, makes this possible. Leveraging Autodesk’s cloud-based data model, customers can automate and streamline their workflows. Autodesk AI uses the same cloud data to eliminate repetitive tasks and free people up for higher-value, creative work.

Today, data flows between Revit and Inventor, Inventor and Fusion, and Inventor and AutoCAD. The Autodesk Data Model APIs mean partners and third-party developers can also build for Fusion.

Autodesk was the first to introduce generative design for manufacturing in Fusion more than six years ago and is now unlocking opportunities to automate repetitive processes, analyse shopfloor operations, and augment creativity using AI.

Generative AI technology that augments the work of industrial designers will debut in Autodesk’s automotive design studio tools.

Autodesk recently acquired BlankAI. Blank.AI’s generative AI capabilities will enable conceptual design exploration for the automotive industry, leading to accelerated outcomes and 3D models that can be rapidly created, explored, and edited in real time using semantic controls and natural language without advanced technical skills.

“As the trusted technology partner for Design and Make industries, Autodesk sees AI as a way for our customers to tackle the challenges they face and turn them into opportunities,” said Andrew Anagnost, President and Chief Executive Officer, Autodesk. “Autodesk AI is the assistant that lowers the learning curve for designers and engineers, supercharges their productivity, and accelerates innovation.”

To date, Autodesk’s AI Lab has published more than 60 peer-reviewed research papers advancing the state of the art in AI and generative AI.

“AI is the future of design and make, and Autodesk is pioneering this transition,” said Anagnost. “We sit at the junction of many of the most creative and impactful industries in the world. We’ll continue to invest in AI because of its transformational potential to drive better outcomes for our customers’ businesses and the world.”

Fusion will also provide the ability to create fully dimensioned 2D drawings from 3D models with the click of a button. One of the most time-consuming areas in product design is documentation. This largely procedural, non-value-adding task can occupy up to 80 percent of a skilled engineer’s time. Not anymore. By the end of the year, Autodsesk will launch Automated Drawings in Fusion to translate 3D models into fully dimensioned drawings with the click of a button.

The CloudNC CAM Assist Automation add-in for Fusion translates 3D models of three-axis components into machining strategies in seconds.

Automated toolpaths are another new offering. Fusion streamlines data exchange with industry-leading partners, enabling technologies to work together seamlessly. One example is the CloudNC add-in for AI-powered CNC toolpath automation. CloudNC sees customers reduce tool programming times by up to 80 percent.

Autodesk also announced that it is expanding functionality through partnerships and acquisitions. It’s now working with Cadence, the leader in electronic systems design tools for everything from integrated circuits to printed circuit boards. This integration as part of the Autodesk Platform ecosystem connects Cadence’s PCB design capabilities directly to Fusion, enabling data to flow in both directions.

Autodesk has also signed a definitive agreement to acquire FlexSim, a provider of discrete event simulation technology that enables factory and logistics centre operators to optimise their production processes. FlexSim powers a key link between factory design data and operational data. It helps with everything from planning and designing, to building and operating a digital factory. Autodesk brings together strengths in factory operations, building design, and construction solutions.

The Configurations capabilities in Fusion provide the ability to create and manage multiple design variations from a single, unified model, bringing unprecedented flexibility to design and manufacturing workflows.

The powerful new configurations capabilities in Fusion enable the creation of multiple product variants early in the development cycle, without the pain and overhead of multiple file versions. Each new configuration does not produce a massive, new file. Instead, changes are recorded in a single cloud database, making them faster to load, easier to navigate, and easier to manage.

The major takeaway is that Fusion is now more capable and more valuable today than ever before. According to Autodesk: “We are rebalancing the price of Fusion and its extensions to reflect the additional capabilities and customer feedback on the value of our offerings. Full details of these changes are available on the Fusion Blog. As always, you have our commitment to ensure Fusion delivers the best possible design and manufacturing solutions at unprecedented value.”