AU2015 – Day Two

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Welcome to our live blog from the second day of Autodesk University 2015, the software giant’s user event for its vast portfolio of design tools.

We’re starting with an Inventor breakfast and then it’s straight into some keynote sessions, so stick with us as everything will be coming thick and fast below the line!

All our AU2015 coverage can be found online

Read about everything that happened at Autodesk University 2015 for free here

Day 1 Live Blog – the opening day as it happened
Day 2 Live Blog – the day as it happened
Q+A with Autodesk top Brass – we got up close an personal about all the latest Autodesk news
5 Things we learned from AU2015 – some of the big stories and our predictions


8.45 – It’s a presentation breakfast – burritos, ALL the coffee and some news from the Inventor team.

First up is that releases are no longer going to be once a year – expect more updates throughout the year, ‘making sure the product meets the needs of the most demanding problems’.

11,500 beta participants are checking everything before the stuff hits your desks, which is important as over 2,000 customer improvements have been made over 9 releases in the last six months.

The Inventor team are pushing to build the most open, connected and professional grade tool – it’s all very confident.

8.50 – AnyCAD is exactly what it says on the tin – users can now grab any non-native CAD file from any system and insert it into Inventor. The user can recompute all the downstream features too, so in action it’s very slick. In a two window desktop, the part in another CAD package – SolidWorks, say – if the file is changed, the Inventor part changes too.

Inventor is now cramming in a lot of new features – topology optimisation powered by Nastran simulation looks pretty trick, with direct STL file output for instant 3D printing.

Force Effect, an iPad app for kinematic analysis, can take data straight into Inventor – pushing some fast and loose conceptual design into the system.

9.00 – Inventor 2016 R3, the latest release, is focussing two capabilities – expanding the BIM workflow, and adding ‘connected design’, more of which later.

IFC export capabilities means Inventor can churn out BIM-ready files ‘cementing Inventors status as the leader for BIM content’.

9.05 – Connected Design is all about letting people collaborate on a design in real time – which will usually be held in the cloud, and working via A360 – which is a file viewer, letting project workers get by without the need to have Inventor, giving the usual mark-up capabilities, but giving the sharer a lot of control over what they’re sharing.

10.00 – Breakfast over, it’s back in to the giant hall with everyone else for the main session – I fear the word ‘innovation’ is going to be used a lot in this, so I’m apologising in advance… Roman Mars is on stage, introducing the Innovation Forum.

10.05 – First up is Footprint, a couple of graduates that are designing and manufacturing custom footwear. EVA used in making midsoles can last up to 1,000 years in landfill, and no two feet are alike, so there’s a lot to be improved on just there. 3D scanning, modelling and 3D printing are all used to get the best results.

10.15 – Back to the architects – LMN Architects to be specific – which has set up a tech studio within the business to get its staff working on new tools, from generative design to CNC machining.

The team redesigned Cleveland’s Civic Core on a tight budget, and they built a plug in especially for Revit to factor in materials and cost savings. ‘We weren’t just using a software to make things look good. We were able to use it all the way through the process’.

Another project, using aluminium cladding, saw the team bust out the CNC machines, develop the facade, and work closer with the end part fabricators.

10.28 – Taylor Dawson, GE’s community manager, is telling us about First Build – an online community designing, engineering, building, and selling the next generation of major home appliances – which GE has partnered with.

GE are working with outside makers and hackers to ‘make the products that they want’. The vision is to revolutionise how products are brought to market – shredding the usual ‘four years to market’.

‘A prototype is worth a thousand meetings… openness ignites passions’

So far they’ve created a countertop ice maker ($3M raised on Indigogo – for an ice maker – the world has gone mad), and are now developing a home pizza oven.

10.43 – Architect Ulrich Homann is presenting on connected data – specifically the ‘Age Of Data’. Take that Bronze Age…

We’re collecting more data than ever, and predictive maintenance for buildings is fast becoming a reality – with suppliers like ThyssenKrupp elevators putting this in place already.

10.54 – BAC Mono are introducing the audience to their high performance car – if you were at DEVELOP3D LIVE you’ll have already seen it.

‘We weren’t designing a car… we were designing a piece of equipment for the extreme sport that is driving.’

44 carbon fibre parts with a Cosworth engine and a Formula 3 gearbox – it’s a bit of a beast. ‘A purist supercar… for nothing but driving’.

11.09 – From amazing autos, to incredible images from Industrial Light and Magic – creators of some of the most memorable movie special effects. Their showreel has a drum soundtrack that is probably not being loved by many in the audience with sore heads from the night before…

The aim of ‘not being better than the competition in their industry, but to develop things that create their own industry – making the competition irrelevant’.

Its new X-Lab is working on the next generation technology for filmmakers – such as Scout, a VR enabler to allow filmmakers to explore a virtual set before anything has been built, and the Open Bionics Star Wars themed prosthetic limbs.

15.00 – We’re back for the afternoon, with some interesting user stories, beginning with ITAMCO – a company that make gears, clutch plates and connectors, but a wide variety of them, featuring everywhere from the international space station to offshore oil rigs.

Oddly enough, the presentation is about IoT and how they’ve created an education centre for advancing the technology from an industrial perspective, along with VR, in their design and manufacturing operations.

15.12 – Next is Voorbij Prefab, on how its investment in Revit helped save it from closure – it now has the best prefab factory in Europe, producing concrete parts for the construction industry.

They turn out enough prefab parts for 18 houses every day – ‘every item can be 100 per cent customised without changing the process’.

Using robots, they 3D print the moulds for the concrete parts, with the entire process digital, slashing time to delivery with the ability to be very flexible.

They also feed into the process a ton of other data, using Google transport data and even monitoring the weather, so they can produce the parts just before they’re needed to be on the building site – that way they cut out a lot of the hassle of storage.

15.31 – Next on stage is ConXtech, which produce modular structural steel framing for the AEC industry, and their drive to find a better way to build.

It arrived at the ‘digital chassis’, making the frame modular to a point, that slots into place, using gravity to shore up the structure. This also benefits architects, as they can take it into the design much earlier, and the construction teams, as it’s much easier to assemble, requires fewer workers, and is a safer way to build fast.

The manufacturing of the parts is done in a big robotics and milling facility, which looks fully loaded. Both this and the previous speaker show the merging worlds of product design and architecture as buildings bring in more prefabricated components.

16.15 – Time for the media session to wrap up the day.

Autodesk senior VP Andrew Anagost is starting by reflecting on what we’ve seen so far – most of it around the future of making things.

‘We’re relentlessly building out the ecosystem for how things are made’

What will happen to the channel once Autodesk moves to a subscription service? – ‘Our best partners are already figuring out what they need… they’re going to deliver a whole new set of services… it’s an inevitable part of the change’.

16.35 – CEO Carl Bass and CTO Jeff Kowalski are on stage taking questions – we’ll bring you this in full later in the event.

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