World of CAD XI: New Hybrid Machines, Carl Bass Leaves Autodesk, New Solutions from Dassault Systèmes, and More

Updated Oct 4, 2023
World of CAD XI

Welcome to the eleventh edition of World of CAD, Scan2CAD’s monthly roundup of CAD-related news. We’ll start this month’s edition by focusing on one of the biggest stories to have rocked the world of CAD in recent years: Carl Bass’ departure from his position as CEO of Autodesk.

Next, we’re taking a look at some new solutions from 3D design leaders Dassault Systèmes which are aimed at creating a more streamlined product lifecycle workflow for companies of all sizes. We’ll also examine Siemens‘ new L.E.A.P. program, which aims to boost the CNC skills of students across the U.S.

To finish up, we’ll be taking a look at two different hybrid maker machines. First up is the AMH-350, a collaboration between Tongtai Machine & Tool Company and additive manufacturing innovators Optomec. Finally, we’ll be looking at the hybrid Optimus machine, whose IndieGoGo campaign has already hit more than 383% of its initial goal, and which combines the three most popular maker tools. Read on for all the info you need this month!

Carl Bass leaves position as CEO of Autodesk

To begin this month’s roundup, we’re focusing on one of the most dramatic stories of the past month. On February 7, Autodesk announced that Carl Bass, who had served as the company’s CEO since 2006, was to step down. The news came as a surprise to most, with Bass having only revealed the news to the board.

Bass led Autodesk through a period of substantial change—not least of which was the end of perpetual licensing and move to subscription-only services. Before Bass’ tenure, Autodesk had focused primarily on its flagship product, AutoCAD. Under Bass, however, the company expanded rapidly, with a number of acquisitions and new products.

Such dramatic changes mean that Autodesk is currently experiencing a transitional period. The shift from sales to subscriptions has brought Autodesk’s business model closer to those of competitors such as Adobe. Subscription figures are increasing, and currently stand at 3.11 million licenses. However, the company has suffered losses in almost every quarter since transition. In fact, in figures announced on March 2, the company made a net loss of $579.2 million in the year to January 31, 2017.

Despite Bass’ departure, the company is not set to reverse the changes to its business model. Bass will continue to serve in an advisory role in Autodesk. The company’s board is yet to choose a new CEO; in the interim, Andrew Anagnost and Amar Hanspal are serving as joint CEOs.

Want to learn more about one of the CAD industry’s major players? Check out our guide to everything you need to know about Autodesk.

Three new industry solution experiences from Dassault Systèmes

French 3D design powerhouse Dassault Systèmes, creators of SolidWorks, announced the launch of three new industry solution experiences on February 28. The company’s new experiences include:

  • My Design, which provides 3D design, performance testing and simulation, visualization and rendering capabilities for creative and detailed design
  • My Production, which addresses tooling design, product documentation, machining simulation, quality, compliance traceability and real-time manufacturing analytics to define ideal tooling and processes for flexible manufacturing operations
  • My Operations, which leverages intelligent logistics, agile production, supply and demand planning capabilities to improve efficiencies and operating margin
Dassault Systèmes My Design

Dassault Systèmes’ My Design is one of three new industry solution experiences designed to ease product lifestyle management

Additionally, the company has enhanced the capabilities of its existing My CollectionMy Store and My Product Portfolio industry solution experiences. The aim of these new product launches and improvements is to enable “companies of all sizes, in all sub-segments, [to] experience an end-to-end digital approach for product innovation”. Indeed, Dassault Systèmes sees a place for the new solutions in the fields of fashion, footwear, leather goods, and retail, as well as furniture, home, garden, and leisure goods.

The new solutions fit in with Dassault Systèmes’ ambition to act as “the 3DEXPERIENCE company” and provide solutions for every stage of the product lifecycle. For full details, check out Dassault Systèmes’ press release.

Siemens brings CNC knowledge to high school students

The number of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) jobs is currently booming, with a rate of growth 70% higher than for non-STEM jobs. Nonetheless, such growth requires a healthy supply of graduates with advanced knowledge of their field. In order to ensure that today’s students successfully progress towards becoming tomorrow’s engineers and technicians, Siemens has launched L.E.A.P.—the Lifelong Educational Advantage Program.

L.E.A.P. is a workforce development program which aims to provide students and teachers in the U.S. with the education they need to enter into a manufacturing labor market that is in a state of flux. The program involves robust training courses in two major fields of CNC: milling and turning.

Included in the program are instructional content, training, and partnership with machine tool builders—a combination of classroom and hands-on training modules. The PC-based modules make use of Siemens’ SinuTrain software, which uses the same HMI as the company’s leading CNC machines. These key elements will help give students advanced knowledge of CNC skills, creating a better educated workforce for the skilled labor market.

Brian Hamilton, Siemens’ CNC education manager, noted that “employers need graduates who are more than basic machine operators for basic parts cutting. Siemens CNC instruction best supports this career path from basic to advanced knowledge.”

Technical educational institutions can get involved with the program by partnering with Siemens through its Siemens Cooperates with Education (SCE) program. The institution will then be subject to a site assessment in order to decide which of the two L.E.A.P. programs is best suited to the school’s needs. Find out more by reading Siemens’ L.E.A.P. program brochure.

Tongtai incorporates Optomec technology into new machines

Several months ago, we published our guide to some of the best new CNC innovations. Featuring on that list was BoXZY, a hybrid machine combining both additive and subtractive manufacturing techniques. In this month’s World of CAD, we’re featuring two new machines which employ the same principle and incorporate both CNC machining and 3D printing techniques.

The first of these two comes courtesy of a collaboration between Taiwan’s Tongtai Machine & Tool Company and the New Mexico-based Optomec. Optomec, a company specializing in 3D printed metals and electronics systems, is supplying its LENS technology for use in Tongtai’s new hybrid machines. The LENS Print Engine was specifically designed to be combined with other metal fabrication tools, and incorporates patented Optomec technologies such as Steady Flow powder feeders and LENS deposition head.

Tongtai AMH-350

The Tongtai AMH-350 incorporates Optomec’s LENS Print Engine

The new partnership between the two companies means that the LENS Print Engine will be integrated into Tongtai’s AMH-350 (Additive Manufacturing Hybrid) 5-axis machining centre. Adding this technology into the vertical milling machine means that it additionally gains metal additive manufacturing capabilities. There are 5 modular components to the LENS Print Engine: print heads, powder feeders, tool path software, and motion and process controls. The new machine is aimed to lower production costs and speed the uptake of 3D printing using metals by industries across Asia.

Though the partnership between the two companies is currently limited to the AMH-350, there remains a future possibility for collaboration on Tongtai’s 3D printed circuit boards. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on this exciting partnership here on the Scan2CAD blog.

Febtop Tech launches hybrid 3D printer, laser cutter and CNC mill

Finally, we’re covering another example of a hybrid manufacturing machine. Stockholm-based Febtop Tech recently launched the Optimus, a new modular system that is intended to combine the three main tools used within the maker community: a 3D printer, a laser cutter, and a CNC mill.

As with many other innovative companies, Febtop Tech turned to crowdfunding to get their idea off the ground. The result has been a complete success—the amount raised to fund the development of the Optimus has far outstripped the company’s initial target of $50,000, with $191,252 having been raised at the time of publication. With 13 days still to go in the campaign, it’s clear that there’s real interest in the Optimus.

Looking at the technical specs, it’s easy to see why. With the Optimus, Febtop Tech have aimed to tackle some of the most common problems found with hybrid maker machines: a small available working volume, and a mechanical structure that cannot allow for both 3D printing and heavy CNC machining. To get around these issues, Febtop Tech decided to create a modular machine that can be built into different configurations: a vertical delta configuration, which is suitable for 3D printing and a horizontal Cartesian configuration, which suits laser cutting and CNC.

Febtop Tech’s delta-configured 3D printer has many advantages over Cartesian printers, including faster print times and greater precision. In addition, Febtop Tech also notes that the machine calibrates itself automatically, is extra strong and rigid, and can be assembled and disassembled more than 500 times with no effect on performance. Check out the Optimus in action in the video below.

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