MCAD Tech News #157

9 Nov, 2005 By: Jeffrey Rowe

Cadalyst MCAD Tech News

Autodesk + Alias = Good Deal

Watching this acquisition with cautious optimism, you can see potential for mechanical design

In the last issue of MCAD Tech News (click here for archives), we discussed two of Autodesk's three recent acquisitions in the mechanical CAD world: Solid Dynamics for finite-element analysis and Engineering Intent for producing engineered-to-order products. This time we'll discuss the third acquisition, Alias, for conceptual design, visualization and presentation. Of the three acquisitions, I feel that the Alias purchase will have the biggest impact because of its companywide implications -- in mechanical design and beyond.

Sensible Move
I'm not surprised that Alias was purchased, but I am a little surprised that Autodesk ended up doing the deal. I've thought for some time that an Autodesk competitor would acquire Alias, but when you look at the product lines and customer bases of these two companies, they actually appear to be a good fit -- both today and tomorrow. So the acquisition, at least at this stage, makes sense from the perspectives of the two companies and their customers.

Both Autodesk and Alias have considerable presence in broadly divergent industries -- manufacturing and entertainment production. The common link between the two industries is visualization for design creation or presentation, or both, and visualization will ultimately prove to be the real value of the acquisition. Read more >>

MCAD Modeling Methods: Outsourcing Options

by Mike Hudspeth, IDSA

It's feast or famine in the design world. You either have too little to do, like the downtime right after you finish a project and before a new one begins, or you're so swamped that your kids don't recognize you when you go home at night. I hope you're usually in the second category -- it certainly beats the alternative. Let's assume you have too much work. How do you deal with it? One answer is to outsource.

In the Old Days
In the old days, companies outsourced to save money. They didn't have to invest in capital or materials, and they didn't have to train people. I've heard of companies that take outsourcing to the ultimate level. An outside vendor designs and builds each part, then another company assembles and ships the product. The main company ends up as a small one- or two-person operation. If everything is set up correctly, the company can make a lot of money, although it will have its problems, too.

Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

Data and File Management Best Practices Web Series
Through January 18, 2006

Cadalyst columnist Robert Green and Synergis Software host this series of free educational Web presentations to help organizations understand data and file management best practices. One-hour sessions will focus on basic guidelines for success, return on investment and best practices for manufacturing, AEC/facilities management and other industries.

CFdesign 2005 User Forums
November 8-9, 2005,
Westin O'Hare, Chicago, Illinois
November 17-18, 2005, Providence Westin, Providence, Rhode Island
Presentations by Damon Rinard, R&D Engineer in Trek's Advanced Concept Group, will reveal how CFdesign helped Lance Armstrong win his seventh Tour de France and how Trek uses CFdesign to accelerate product development and generate better products.

November 29, 2005,
Houston, Texas
November 30, 2005,
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
December 1, 2005,
Wilmington, Delaware
Richard Beck, head of AVEVA's VNET Business Unit, will discuss and answer questions about the company's VNET solution for engineering information management. Register for these free events by e-mailing

For Cadalyst's full calendar of events, click here >>

what's new at
Online Archives:Click here to view an online version of this newsletter and past issues of MCAD Tech News.

First Look Review: ViewSonic's latest LCD monitor combines good image quality with a large screen.

Bug Watch (AutoCAD Column): Autodesk releases Service Pack 1 to fix many of your AutoCAD 2006 problems.

Dialog Box -- Letters from Cadalyst Readers: Catch up on the latest rants and raves from fellow Cadalyst fans.