MCAD Tech News (#296)

12 Jan, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff

Banking on Green

At Yakima, lifecycle thinking generates products that not only reduce carbon footprint but also drive innovation and save money.

By Jim Romeo

Forget about doing the right thing, giving back, and corporate conscience. Today, companies in increasing numbers are pursuing sustainable product design because, plain and simple, it makes good business sense. Environmental performance is the newest criteria for product development — and it's driving innovation and boosting profits.

Products such as Yakima's FrontLoader and ForkLift bike mounts must be environmentally friendly as well as practical, durable, and profitable. Image courtesy of Yakima Products.
Products such as Yakima's FrontLoader and ForkLift bike mounts must be environmentally friendly as well as practical, durable, and profitable. Image courtesy of Yakima Products.

An approach known as lifecycle assessment, or LCA, is key to realizing these bottom-line benefits, and it's catching on. LCA models the complex interaction between a product and the environment, from cradle to grave. When used in early-stage design, it brings sustainability considerations into product development by taking a comprehensive view of a product's potential lifecycle impacts on the environment in an effort to reduce those impacts (including carbon footprint), as well as overall costs. In short, it supports what is known as the double bottom line: planet and profits.

One company putting LCA to the test is Yakima Products, based in Beaverton, Oregon — a provider of popular vehicle-mounted racks to carry equipment for kayaking, bicycling, skiing, and camping. Like many of its customers, Yakima is enthusiastic about preserving the outdoors for long-term enjoyment. On the Planet Payback page of its web site (, the company outlines the corporate principles that guide everything from product design to how employees commute to work. "Our primary objective is reduction. We constantly look for ways to create less waste and consume less energy," the site states.

What the site does not reveal is that Yakima has found that environmentally friendly ideals make for better products and bigger profits. Read more »

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Jim Romeo is a freelance writer based in Chesapeake, Virginia. He is an engineer by background and education and writes frequently on business and technology topics.


Take Inventor Assembly Constraints to the Max — and Min

Avatech Tricks Tutorial: Add limits to assembly constraints in Autodesk Inventor 2011.

By John Hackney

When working in assemblies, the designer would often like to flex some of the assembly constraints within a predetermined range of motion. You could accomplish this with a drive constraint, but that may be too much for just a quick motion check. This is a great opportunity to use Inventor assembly constraint limits and physically drag your constrained components through the range of motion.

The constraint limits can be found by selecting the double chevron in the lower right corner of the Place Constraint dialog box.

Limits are available for the following constraint types:

  • Mate
  • Flush
  • Angle (Undirected Angle and Explicit Reference Vector only)
  • Tangent
  • Insert.


Most of these will be very easy to apply, but I will caution you: The angle constraint limits may have you scratching your head. Read more »

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John Hackney is a senior mechanical application engineer for IMAGINiT Technologies.




Share Your AutoCAD Story
Are you using a recent version of AutoCAD to support your 3D MCAD workflow? An exclusive newsletter series from Cadalyst, coming in early 2011, will highlight the benefits of using AutoCAD in combination with Inventor, SolidWorks, Pro/ENGINEER, CATIA, or other 3D mechanical CAD solutions. If this describes your design process, we'd like to share your story! All we ask is that the relevant contacts be available for an interview. Send a brief description to the editors and we'll follow up soon.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


Webinar: Journey to Best-in-Class Product Development
January 26, 2011
11 a.m. ET
This live webcast is part of the Aras Community Events (ACE) Innovation Series and addresses the challenges of achieving best-in-class product development to deliver innovative new products. Read more »

CIMdata PLM Certificate Program — Michigan
February 28–March 4, 2011
Ann Arbor, Michigan
This assessment-based program includes an intimate classroom experience, individual and team exercises, and individual evaluations of achievement. Additionally, the program provides candidates with exposure to a team of CIMdata's PLM experts. Read more »

Siemens PLM Connection Americas User Conference 2011
May 2–5, 2011
Las Vegas, Nevada
This annual event, organized by PLM World with support from Siemens, is designed to help attendees prepare their PLM investment for the future, learn from Siemens PLM Software's developers in hands-on training sessions, and network with other PLM users and gain real-world user feedback. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


What’s New at


Autodesk University 2010, Part 2
At the week-long user event in Las Vegas, Autodesk partners were busy showcasing their latest tools for manufacturing, AEC, and GIS workflows. Read more »

Luxology Modo 501 Cranks Up Rendering Speed
Revamped new version offers 30% to 40% faster performance and much more for Windows- and Mac-based 3D design visualization and animation. Read more »

Autodesk University 2010, Part 1
Bouncing back a bit from 2009, the annual user event draws a reported 7,000 attendees as the company gets serious about consumer, mobile, sustainable design, and cloud computing technologies. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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