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Autodesk adds manufacturing and generative design capabilities to Fusion 360

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Software company Autodesk has announced three new sets of capabilities for its Fusion 360 software. The updates, which were developed based on customer feedback, include a manufacturing extension that will cater to the advanced requirements of manufacturing specialists, a new cost insights tool for generative design powered by aPriori, and two more manufacturing constraints for the generative design workspace.

Let’s take a closer look at the three new capabilities added to Autodesk’s Fusion 360 software.

Manufacturing extension

Broadly, Autodesk is expanding the manufacturing capabilities of its Fusion 360 software with the addition of extensions that enable users to switch on groups of high-end capabilities that are customized for specific industry segments.

The new manufacturing extension is the first to be introduced as part of the extension line-up. The extension includes a bundle of sophisticated Autodesk manufacturing technologies which have been updated to increase production efficiency. When a user activates this extension, it will act as a sort of hybrid manufacturing environment, allowing users to perform state-of-the-art processes including complex surface finishing, automated drilling, additive manufacturing and automated verification workflows.

The automation and optimization tools unlocked in the programming stage will enable users to generate NC programs faster and more efficiently, delivering time savings throughout both programming and machining processes. The extension can also result in higher-grade surface finishes.

Users can activate the new manufacturing extension in Fusion 360 for 125 cloud credits per month, per user.

Generative design cost tool

Since launching its generative design for Fusion 360 software last year, Autodesk has received largely positive feedback from its users, who are enjoying the ability to compute solutions based on design requirements. Still, the challenge of evaluating tradeoffs between performance and cost for generatively designed parts remained.

To find a solution to this, Autodesk teamed up with aPriori, a product cost management software company. Together, they have integrated manufacturing cost insights for generative design into Autodesk’s platform, enabling users to more easily view cost estimates for every generative part.

“This partnership with Autodesk is very strategic for us,” said Stephanie Feraday, President and CEO of aPriori Technologies. “We’re expanding our footprint into the concept design phase of product development, integrating the power of Fusion 360’s generative design with aPriori’s manufacturing simulation capabilities.”

Autodesk Fusion 360 updates

aPriori’s product cost management solutions account for geometry, material and manufacturing method, so Autodesk users simply have to input that information when setting up their generative design study. The cost insights tool supports all of the manufacturing options available for generative design today and will support all future constraints that come to the workspace.

Essentially, aPriori will analyze each design variation created through a Fusion 360 generative design study to identify its manufacturing cost range. Compared to other product costing solutions on the market, aPriori’s software for generative design is fully automated and requires little user input.

“We’re also seeing future opportunities to extend the insights provided with each generative design study, added Feraday. “We could potentially include not only cost, but also manufacturability guidance, which will make the selection of design direction even more efficient.”

New manufacturing constraints

Lastly, Autodesk has added two new manufacturing constraints to its generative design workspace, expanding what the technology is capable of. The constraints, aimed at making generative design increasingly valuable to users, include a new die casting constraint and a 2.5-axis milling constraint.

The die casting constraint will soon be added as a technology preview, enabling users to apply generative design to the establish casting process. The 2.5-axis milling constraint, for its part, will be added to the existing range of CNC constraints to facilitate the production generatively designed parts.

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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