Reimagine what’s possible in design and manufacturing

Unlock the power of AI, data, and collaboration to improve efficiency. Discover new ways to use technology to transform how you design and make a better world with Autodesk.

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Solutions for today, a vision for tomorrow

Did you know: throughout the product development process, a huge amount of data is generated and more than 80% of that data goes untouched. So, how do you use data more efficiently? Hear from our President and CEO, Andrew Anagnost, as he shares Autodesk’s vision for empowering you to do more with your data today and in the future.

Key trends among your peers in design and manufacturing

74%

Feel ready to navigate unforeseen changes


40%

Say digital transformation has improved productivity


74%

Consider digital maturity a top attractor of talent


80%

Feel AI will enhance their industry



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Autodesk, 2024 State of Design & Make (US Site) report and study data

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See how the industry is preparing for the future

D&M leaders and experts are optimistic about the global landscape, as well as their companies’ resilience, preparedness, performance, investment, and level of digital transformation. See what else they said—and how leading companies are navigating change—in our exclusive free report.

Explore an expanded vision for tomorrow

Data is already transforming the industry

Leading manufacturers are unlocking data—to gain deeper insights, make faster decisions, and increase the pace of innovation within their organizations.

Emerging technologies offer more opportunities

As collaboration increases, modern manufacturers must leverage new data- and technology-powered processes that better respond to evolving customer expectations.

Labor gaps demand new ways of working

Successful organizations will overcome skills shortages by complementing workers’ expertise with automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and generative design.

Sustainability will be a critical growth driver

Evolving consumer tastes and new legislation is transforming sustainability from an optional case for efficient use of resources to a mandatory evolution of operations.

Manufacturing leaders are betting on AI

Artificial intelligence is becoming a crucial partner in design and manufacturing organizations by enhancing innovation and boosting productivity. While human creativity remains essential, many business leaders see AI as vital for future success.

Unlock solutions that foster innovation today

Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost speaking on stage at Autodesk University

Welcome to the new era of work

Modern manufacturing is about data, not documents. Collaboration, not silos. More open and integrated systems. The Autodesk Platform can help you embrace this future with a cloud-first evolution in design and manufacturing software—where technology connects your data, and AI-powered insights and automation unleash your agility and creativity.


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The foundation of connected manufacturing

Connect capabilities, data, people, and processes across your entire product development lifecycle. With Autodesk Fusion industry cloud, you can eliminate repetitive tasks and processes, accelerate productivity, and provide critical real-time insights about product development and business operations.


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Analysis. Augmentation. Automation.

From generative design to automated modeling, toolpaths, and drawings, the AI built into our toolsets works alongside you to enhance creativity and decision-making. With Autodesk AI, your team can find new solutions to challenges more quickly and sustainably than ever before.


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Solve interesting problems more efficiently

Built for designers of complex products, equipment, and systems, the Product Design & Manufacturing Collection is an integrated set of professional-grade CAD, CAM, and CAE applications, including Autodesk Inventor, AutoCAD, and Vault, with exclusive extended capabilities for simulation, visualization, reality capture, and automation.


Go deeper into design and manufacturing

Design and engineering

Bring your products to market with unprecedented levels of efficiency and collaboration.

 


Manufacturing

Uncover new opportunities for continuous improvement, from planning to building to operating.

 


Automotive design

Drive innovation more quickly and effectively with agile studio tools built for automotive design.

 


How manufacturers get ahead with Autodesk

Uncover more insights in design and manufacturing

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STATE OF DESIGN & MAKE REPORT

Rethinking operations in a globally connected industry

Learn how senior manufacturing executives are tackling the biggest challenges in industrial machinery.

 


Engineer working on automotive model at desk

STATE OF DESIGN & MAKE REPORT

Driving innovation in automotive

From electrification to autonomous driving, explore how peers pursue innovation with new technologies.

 


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ARTICLE

Smart manufacturing: the future of making is digital

From Industry 4.0 to developments in AI, see how smart manufacturing is poised to transform the industry.

 


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ON-DEMAND EVENT

A vision for the future of manufacturing

Hear what Autodesk manufacturing industry leaders say about embracing this transformative new era.

 


See the world differently with Autodesk

As the state of the design and manufacturing industry changes around us, you don’t see a crush of discouraging obstacles—you see a world of exciting new possibilities. Contact us to discuss the ways Autodesk design and manufacturing solutions can help you explore new possibilities on your journey to solving the world’s most interesting problems.

Frequently asked questions about design and manufacturing (FAQ)

What is a product?

A product is an item manufactured to benefit your customers. Your services can also be referred to as your product. Nowadays, many "smart" products merge physical items with internet-connected digital services, which offer ongoing value to the customer beyond the physical item's value.

What is product design?

Product design is the process of imagining, creating, and iterating on solutions that solve problems for customers in commercial sectors like industrial machinery or automotive manufacturing or directly for the public in sectors such as consumer products.

 

The product design process begins with research to understand the market and customer needs. Designers use knowledge, empathy, and creativity to conceptualize solutions. 

Hand sketches, prototypes, technical drawings, and 3D computer-aided designs (CAD) (US Site) models are created to communicate and review the proposed product design solution and to coordinate the design process among stakeholders. Further prototyping is used to test and validate concept designs with real customers. 

 

The final output is a product requirements document, specification, technical drawing, and visuals. Typically, product designers work with design engineers to develop concept designs ready for manufacturing.

 

Jobs in product design could include design manager, industrial designer, product designer, UI/UX designer, graphic designer, animation designer, design engineer, technical designer, design drafter, CAD designer, CAD technician, and CAD operator.

What is manufacturing?

Manufacturing is the process of converting raw materials or components into finished products through various techniques, tools, and machinery. It involves a series of steps, including designing, planning, sourcing materials, assembling, testing, and packaging.

 

Manufacturing is carried out in many industries; examples include Industrial machinery (US Site), automotive (US Site), building products (UK Site), consumer products (US Site), and electronics (UK Site). The goal of manufacturing is to create products that meet specific quality standards, are cost-effective, and can be delivered to customers in a timely manner.

 

Jobs in manufacturing could include production worker/operator, quality control inspector, manufacturing engineer, industrial engineer, CAD/CAM engineer, CAM programmer, CNC machinist/setter/operator, fabricator, supply chain manager, maintenance technician, logistics coordinator, CAD designer, CAD technician, and CAD operator.

What is product design and manufacturing?

Product design and manufacturing form a closely linked and iterative process that turns a conceptual design into a real product in the hands of your customer.

Desirability, manufacturability, cost, and efficiency need to be considered during the design phase to ensure that the product can be manufactured successfully while meeting the desired price point and customers' quality expectations. In return, feedback from the manufacturing process informs design improvements and optimizations.

Overall, product design and manufacturing work together to create products that are visually appealing, functional, and feasible to produce efficiently and cost-effectively.

Why is product design important in the manufacturing process?

Product design plays a crucial role in the manufacturing process for the following reasons:

  • User experience: Product design influences the user experience i.e., how easy, intuitive, and enjoyable customers find it to use your product. By focusing on ergonomics, aesthetics, and intuitive design, product manufacturers can create products that customers find visually appealing, easy to use, and enjoyable. 
    Desirable products support brand preference, meaning that customers will seek out, and/or recommend your products. This can improve sales and market share. 
  • Meeting customer needs: Great user experience starts with understanding customer needs and preferences. By incorporating customer feedback and market research into the design process, manufacturers can create products that align with customer expectations, leading to higher customer satisfaction and increased sales. 
  • Innovation and differentiation: Product design is a key driver of innovation and differentiation in the marketplace. By creating unique and innovative designs, manufacturers can set themselves apart from competitors, attract customers, and gain a competitive edge. 
  • Feasibility and efficiency: To meet the desired unit cost of the product, designers must consider the feasibility of the design, and consider factors such as materials, production techniques, and assembly processes to ensure that the product can be manufactured efficiently and cost-effectively. Designing for manufacturability helps streamline production, reduce waste, and optimize resources. 
  • Quality and reliability: A well-designed product is more likely to meet quality standards and meet customers' performance expectations. Design considerations such as material selection, structural integrity, and tolerance specifications can significantly impact the product's durability, functionality, and overall quality. 
  • Cost optimization: Design decisions have a significant impact on the cost of manufacturing a product. By considering factors such as material costs, production processes, and component integration, designers can identify opportunities to optimize costs without compromising product quality or functionality. 
  • Time to market: Efficient product design can help reduce the time it takes to bring a product to market. By streamlining the design process, minimizing design iterations, and considering manufacturing constraints early on, manufacturers can accelerate the product development timeline and gain a competitive advantage.

Product design is important in the manufacturing process because it ensures that products meet customer needs, can be efficiently manufactured, are of the desired quality, and offer a competitive advantage in the market. Design engineering is a critical step in manufacturing successful and profitable products.

What Autodesk tools are available for product design and manufacturing?

Autodesk empowers innovators with design and make technology for product design and manufacturing, equipping customers to work fluidly across boundaries of project, discipline, and industry.

Autodesk software for design and engineering (US Site): 
Autodesk provides a range of software tools specifically designed to support designers and engineers. Each tool is tailored to a specific discipline and offers a range of features and capabilities to support the design and engineering process, including 2D and 3D CAD modeling, automatic BOM creation, manufacturing documentation, and engineering simulation (CAE).

  • Autodesk Inventor 
    Professional-grade product design and engineering tools for 3D mechanical design, simulation, visualization and documentation.
  • Inventor Nastran 
    CAD-embedded software for non-linear stress, thermal, vibration and fatigue simulation. 
  • Inventor Tolerance Analysis 
    Tolerance stackup analysis software for evaluating the impact of dimensional variation. 
  • Inventor Nesting 
    True shape nesting software for Inventor to optimize yield from raw material. 
  • Inventor CAM 
    Integrated 2.5- to 5-axis CAD/CAM programming solution for Inventor.
  • Vault 
    Product data management software to manage design files. 
  • AutoCAD 
    2D and 3D CAD software with industry-specific toolsets. 
  • Factory Design Utilities 
    Factory design software to plan, design and install an efficient production layout. 
  • Navisworks Manage 
    Large-scale design review software with clash detection and scheduling. 
  • ReCap Pro 
    Reality capture and 3D scanning software and services. 
  • 3Ds Max

3D rendering and animation software for design visualization.

  • Fusion 
    Cloud-based CAD/CAM/CAE software for product design and manufacturing.

 

  • Additional Autodesk software products for design and engineering include:
  • Autodesk Moldflow (US Site)
    Autodesk® Moldflow® simulation software provides plastic injection molding and compression molding insights to improve manufactured part quality. Advanced tools and a simplified user interface help you address manufacturing challenges such as part warpage, cooling channel efficiency, material selection, and cycle time reduction. 
  • Fusion Manage (US Site) 
    Cloud PLM and PDM that easily connects your data, people, and processes. 
  • Design Review (US Site)
    Design Review CAD viewer software lets you view, mark up, print and track changes to 2D and 3D files for free – without the original design software. 
  • Autodesk Drive (US Site)
    CAD-aware cloud storage for individuals and small teams. 
  • Autodesk Rendering (US Site)
    Submit renders to the cloud directly through your Autodesk product, freeing up your local system and allowing you to complete other tasks while your renders process.

 

Autodesk software for manufacturing: (US Site):

Autodesk offers a range of computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software solutions. These tools enable manufacturers to generate toolpaths, simulate machining operations, and optimize CNC programs for milling, turning, and other machining processes.

  • Inventor CAM: 
    Autodesk® Inventor® CAM software simplifies the machining workflow with CAD-embedded 2.5- to 5-axis milling, turning, and mill-turn capabilities.  
  • Inventor Nesting: 
    Autodesk® Inventor® Nesting software helps to reduce cost while optimizing yield from flat raw material. 
  • Autodesk manufacturing software also includes:
  • Autodesk Fusion with Netfabb (US Site): 
    Netfabb is a software suite for additive manufacturing (3D printing) that provides tools for design optimization, file preparation, and process simulation. It helps manufacturers ensure the quality and reliability of their 3D printed parts. Now includes Fusion and Fusion Team. 
  • Autodesk Fusion with PowerMill (US Site): 
    PowerMill® CAM software provides expert CNC programming strategies for complex 3- and 5-axis manufacturing, now with access to Fusion and advanced manufacturing capabilities through Fusion extensions. 
  • Autodesk Fusion with PowerShape (US Site): 
    PowerShape® manufacturing CAD software combines surface, solid, and mesh modeling to help prepare molds, dies, and other complex parts for manufacture, and now includes Fusion and Fusion Team. 
  • Autodesk Fusion with PowerInspect (US Site): 
    PowerInspect® is 3D measurement software for offline programming of inspection routines that monitor and control manufacturing processes. 
  • Autodesk Fusion with FeatureCAM (UK Site): 
    FeatureCAM helps manufacturers automate CNC programming. It now includes FeatureCAM Ultimate, PartMaker, Fusion, Fusion Team and HSMWorks: 
  • Autodesk Fusion with CAMplete (UK Site): 
    CAMplete™ provides G-code post processing, verification and simulation. Import CAM data, then use proven post processors and accurate 3D machine models, developed along with machine tool builders, for quality, collision-free NC machining code. 

Can Autodesk tools be used for both 2D and 3D design?

The company that brings you AutoCAD, Autodesk offers a range of cross-compatible design and engineering tools for 2D and 3D design. You don’t have to choose between 2D and 3D CAD. In many cases, the best option is a combination of both.

Autodesk Inventor ‘AnyCAD’ allows 2D AutoCAD data to be referenced into a 3D Inventor model. The AutoCAD data can remain the single source of truth, and the Inventor model will update when the AutoCAD model updates.

Autodesk Inventor uses the same DWG file format as AutoCAD. Inventor drawings can be opened in AutoCAD for processing including review and markup.

Autodesk Vault product data management (PDM) manages 2D and 3D data seamlessly, supporting your needs to work with legacy 2D data, migrate from 2D to 3D, or use 2D and 3D design tools concurrently. 

AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, and Vault are available in the Product Design & Manufacturing Collection (US Site).

How can computer-aided design (CAD) software enhance the product design and manufacturing process?

Computer-aided design (CAD) software offers several benefits that enhance the product design and manufacturing process:

  • Visualization and conceptualization: CAD software allows designers to create detailed 2D and 3D models of products, enabling them to visualize and conceptualize their ideas more effectively. This helps in exploring different design options, making informed decisions, and communicating design intent to stakeholders. 
  • Design iteration and optimization: CAD software facilitates rapid design iteration and optimization. Designers can easily modify and refine their designs, test different configurations, and evaluating the impact of design changes. This iterative process can optimize the design, reducing errors, and improving product performance. 
  • Design accuracy and precision: CAD software makes it easy to provide precise and accurate design models and documentation. Designers can define and optimize parametric dimensions, geometric constraints, and tolerances, ensuring that the manufacturing team have the correct information to meet the expected quality standards. 
  • Design validation and simulation: CAD software often includes simulation capabilities that allow designers to virtually test and validate their designs. This includes analyzing structural integrity, motion, fluid flow, and thermal behaviors. By simulating real-world conditions, designers can better predict and avoid potential quality issues, reducing the need for destructive testing of physical prototypes. 
  • Design documentation and manufacturing preparation: CAD software automates the creation of engineering drawings, bill of materials (BOM), and other documentation required for manufacturing. This helps in generating accurate and standardized documentation, reducing manual errors, and providing consistent information to improve manufacturing efficiency. 
  • Collaboration and communication: PDM software enables secure, permission-controlled collaboration and communication among design teams, stakeholders, and manufacturing partners. Design files can be shared digitally, reviewed, and annotated, automating the audit trail of feedback and decision-making. This streamlines the design process, reduces errors, and ensures that everyone is working with correct and current design information. 
  • Integration with manufacturing processes: CAD software integrates with computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software, enabling seamless transfer of design data for generating toolpaths, optimizing machining operations, and preparing for production. This integration streamlines the transition from design to manufacturing, reducing errors and improving efficiency.

Overall, CAD software enhances product design and manufacturing by improving visualization, accuracy, collaboration, optimization, and documentation. It helps create better designs, reducing errors, shortening development cycles, and ultimately delivering higher-quality products to the market efficiently.

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