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Mechanical CAD migrates to `functional design`

01 March, 2004

AutoDesk, the company behind the market-leading AutoCad design software, has acquired certain assets from the US software developer MechSoft and plans to integrate key components into future versions of its Inventor products. The move is part of AutoDesk`s strategy of adding engineering functions to its 2D and 3D design software.

The enhanced range will extend the concept of "functional design", moving beyond 2D drafting and 3D modelling, and allowing users to work in terms of mechanical relationships, rather than geometric descriptions and restraints.

For example, engineers will be able to design gear-sets based on loading and reduction ratios, rather than size and placement, and MechSoft will generate the geometry needed. AutoDesk says that this approach will shorten design cycles.

The enhanced software will incorporate more than 50 calculators and "wizards" for designing items such as gears, shafts and cams. It will contain a drag-and-drop library of more than 1.5 million parts, and provide access to a mechanical engineering "handbook" containing reference materials.

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