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Inventor's Functional Design: Is it Really New?

25 Sep, 2006 By: Kenneth Wong

Competitors weigh in on Autodesk's latest catch phrase


Manufacturing
 

At last month's Autodesk Manufacturing Solutions Media Summit, the company put forward a new mantra: functional design. It's a different modeling paradigm, a departure from how we've always been designing, say Autodesk officials. The concept is to use a simple schematic and a series of input variables to automatically generate 3D geometry. In other words, specify the function of the design, then let the software generate the part's geometry. In its online literature, Autodesk calls the concept "innovative technology found only in Autodesk Inventor."p>

Following that event in August was a barrage of media and individual response -- much of it taking issue with the claim that the functional design concept is new. Is Inventor's functional design in fact a new species -- or was it a preexisting animal? Some Autodesk competitors say it is practically a prehistoric beast. Rainer Gawlick, vice-president of worldwide marketing for SolidWorks, says, "Asking the CAD system to generate geometry is a notion that's been around for a long time. There's nothing new about that. ... It's a notion many vendors, including SolidWorks, have pursued."  
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About the Author: Kenneth Wong