Why Automation Design Replaced Autodesk Inventor with PTC Creo

While CAD is important to most engineering firms, at Automation Design, it’s a selling point. The company, based in La Crosse, Wisconsin, is made up of design pros from several industries who can help you with mechanical design, CAD services, material handling, and even laying out your new factory floor.

“At Automation Design, we provide parametric modeling for your mechanical, interior and industrial projects,” reads the company website. “We can convert your hand-drawn sketches, design plans, ideas, and drawings into impressive 3D models.”


The company boasts that it pays attention to shape and texture, and follows the latest standards and techniques in 3D modeling.

Established in 2001, the Automation Design works with each customer as a partner, offering custom services to meet their needs.  Unfortunately, one thing that wasn’t meeting Automation Design’s needs was its CAD software—Autodesk Inventor!

To break into new markets and improve departmental efficiency, the team needed a high-quality tool that offered the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art technology. So, Automation Design swapped out its old software for PTC Creo Parametric—along with PTC Creo Simulate and PTC Creo Schematics.

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Automation Design liked the accuracy and ease of use that comes with PTC Creo Parametric. With the application, the team can develop high-quality digital 3D models that hold up throughout the manufacturing cycle, before clients invest significant capital in materials, tooling, and volume production.

PTC Creo Simulate is an extension engineers use to analyze models. They perform structural, thermal, and vibration tests with a comprehensive set of finite element analysis tools, so they know exactly how the part or assembly will perform before they build even the first prototype. Best of all, it’s fully integrated with PTC Creo Parametric.

“PTC Creo Simulate can analyze models in one environment and provides needed detail,” says Josh Bendel, company owner.

And with PTC Creo Schematics, the team now has a standalone solution for routing systems like cabling, piping, HVAC, and hydraulics in 2D. It even automates the creation of detailed 3D routed systems from 2D schematics.

As a small engineering firm, Automation Design also benefits from Unite technology, PTC Creo’s multi-CAD capability. That’s because the software works well with data from vendors regardless of the file format. So the team doesn’t have to worry about what systems a client prefers. And they don’t have to worry about translators to work with existing SolidWorks, CATIA, and Siemens NX files.

We asked the team at Automation Design how things are working out since adopting PTC solutions. Here’s their summary:

  • Importing data into PTC Creo is 5 minutes faster per project compared to Autodesk Inventor.
  • The engineering department is faster after adopting PTC Creo.
  • PTC Creo ribbon interface and other features make day-to-day use faster than other CAD solutions.

“We find PTC Creo more intuitive,” says Bendel. “It has enabled the engineering department to be 10% more efficient. With numerous options and more of a direct input environment, it is more professional that other CAD tools.”