Today Autodesk unveiled a new technology on Autodesk Labs called Project Krypton. This Technology Preview is aimed at people designing plastic parts. As you model your part you are given real time feedback regarding (1) Manufacturability, (2) Cost Efficiency, and (3) Plastic Material Impact. This technology is being shipped as an add-in to Inventor and SolidWorks. Yes, Autodesk is actually offering their Moldflow technology as free add-ins to SolidWorks users.
@kellings asked a question on Twitter, “Very confused by what Autodesk has to gain by making software plugins for SolidWorks. Can anyone help me figure that one out?” To which I replied, “The best form of advertisement is not magazine/web ads. Its making your target audience use your product in theirs.” I don’t think SolidWorks users will switch to Inventor because of this add-in any more than they would by reading an Inventor advertisement or case study. But little things like these add up to build awareness of a product other than the one they are currently using.
The way this works is quite simple actually. The add-in sits inside SolidWorks as a set of three meters one each for manufacturability, cost efficiency and plastic material impact. As you model the add-in does its thing in the background and offers alerts on problems and recommends solutions. For example, modeling a 50x50x50 mm cube in SolidWorks showed exclamation marks on the manufacturability and cost effectiveness meters.
The add-in recommended that I decrease the part’s thickest regions, reduce the wall thickness and add a draft angle. It also noted that very high cycle times could lead to higher production cost. After I added a draft to the vertical faces the manufacturability meter reading increased a couple of notches because the draft angle issue was taken care of.
The problem about the thickness still remained and hence the warning about the high manufacturing cost. So I added a shell and all the warnings disappeared.
If not anything else, this technology will help educate new users who may not be engineers. Obviously, final decisions are not going to be taken based upon these calculations. But I feel this will go a long way in refining the output that is sent to the simulation engineers down stream.