New cloud-based software rewrites rules for sustainable product design

Autodesk is pioneering a cloud-delivered simulation application which promises to be a game-changer for sustainable product design.

Its new Simulation 360 service is aimed at designers and engineers who need to test the durability and sustainability of a product’s components and its design -- before jumping into the prototyping phase.

Testing how materials perform under mechanical stress, in extreme thermal conditions or when subjected to fluid flow processes (including air) is an expensive yet important task in the development process.

"Simulation helps companies, building contractors, project coordinators get to a better project, a better product," said Grant Rochelle, senior director, manufacturing industry marketing for Autodesk.

Yet steep costs often mean that the job is left to simulation specialists using desktop software that costs between $10,000 to $60,000 for one test.

Because Simulation 360 is available in the cloud, its operating costs are significantly lower -- starting at $3,600 for 120 analyses over the course of a year.

This means designers can submit simulation proposals more often during the development process without consulting specialists or tying up in-house computers for hours at a time. In addition to saving time and money, it has the potential to help companies avoid bad decisions when it comes to component choices.

Though Autodesk is far from the leader in design simulation software -- that honor goes to ANSYS --  it’s invested more than $500 million in simulation capabilities over the past six years. Simulation 360 is part of the company’s effort to reach a vastly underserved market which includes 5.6 million designers, a group that outnumbers specialists by a ratio of 15:1.  

Abstract concept provided by kentoh via Shutterstock

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