Simulation and Analysis Concerns

One of the questions raised at the Q & A session with Buzz Kross was whether Autodesk had put any safeguards in place, now that Inventor users without the engineering knowledge and experience could do analysis and simulation.

This is what think. I highly doubt anyone is going to make critical design decisions based on output of an inexperienced CAD user fiddling around with an “ALGOR for Dummies” stuck inside Inventor, a “COSMOS for Dummies” stuck inside SolidWorks or a “FEMAP for Dummies” stuck inside Solid Edge. I feel the real value of these “lite” versions of simulation and analysis tools is to help CAD users end up designing (to the extent possible) instead of just stopping at modeling. There is a difference. Modeling is the process of coughing up geometry using whatever means that suits you best – history based parametric modeling, direct modeling, whatever. On the other hand, designing is the process of adjusting the model so that it works as desired when manufactured and put to use.

When I say inexperienced CAD users, I am referring to the inexperience in the field of engineering and design, not modeling. These express tools, especially the way that they have been dumbed down, are excellent resources to help users design (to the extent possible) instead of doing simple modeling. It is a process and actually dependent on how much the individual feels the need to educate himself.

Eventually someone knowledgeable and experienced will need to validate the design before it goes into production. Just that giving these tools upfront to the CAD user will end up resulting in more “polished” output which actually becomes the input to the engineer down the road.

I am at the Portland airport waiting for my flight to Dallas and am about the board the plane in a few minutes. If that plane I see parked outside has been designed by inexperienced CAD users poking around these lite versions of analysis tools stuck inside MCAD systems then I am not boarding. šŸ˜‰