How desktop CAD systems can be re-used into new cloud apps

How desktop CAD systems can be re-used into new cloud apps

Cloud application development is everywhere these days. However, CAD users are stuck in the desktop reality. There are many reasons for that – complexity of CAD environment, huge legacy, conservative engineers. As much as new cloud CAD is progressing, the process isn’t fast. Don’t misunderstand my statement, companies are making good progress, but existing desktop CAD are here for quite some time.

To move the needle, I can how CAD companies are introducing a hybrid development approach. Two examples below can give you some ideas One of them is taking an existing application and running in a server environment surrounded by the new cloud application.

Autodesk Inventor Automation API

Autodesk is growing Inventor automation API. Design Automation API originally available as AutoCAD I/O API is expanding now. It is part of the Autodesk Forge platform.

It [ gives you the ability to run scripts on your design files, taking advantage of the scale of the Forge Platform to automate repetitive tasks. The API originally supported AutoCAD but now works with AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit, and 3ds Max files. For example, this is a handy way to publish thousands of drawings to DWF or PDF. Ordinarily, you would have to download all the files, run a script on them in Inventor desktop software, and then potentially upload them all back to the cloud. Your efficiency would be bottlenecked by the processing power of your computer and your network bandwidth. In addition, you would have to instrument logging and retry logic in your code to ensure that the entire job completed. With the Design Automation API, you can offload all that processing to the Forge Platform that can process those scripts at a much greater scale and efficiency.]

The following video is a bit long, but you can skim it to see how Autodesk Inventor engine is used in Autodesk Forge platform.

Solidworks bridge to 3DEXPERIENCE

Here is a marketing video about coming SOLIDWORKS 2020, which demonstrates how SOLIDWORKS can be connected with 3DXPERIENCE and new cloud-based tools xShape and xDesign for specific tasks.

Dassault Systemes is developing new cloud applications for almost a decade. New tools such as xDesign and xShape made its first appearance at Solidworks World 2019 and as I can see coming into production in 2020 releases.

What is my conclusion? Software vendors are looking at how to balance between existing comfy environment for CAD users and the demand to have new agile applications with new capabilities. Manufacturing companies are looking for digital transformation pathways and at the same time, they have existing software assets that will most probably serve them for the next decade or even more. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud-based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups, and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.


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