April 28, 2009

CAD Programs Going Green

SolidWorks recently announced that its upcoming SolidWorks 2010 will include a new software package which can measure a product's carbon footprint. Rick Chin, SolidWork's director of product and marketing innovation, said, "we're providing designers and engineers with valuable information for making good decisions that significantly reduce the environmental impact of the products they create." SolidWorks is hoping this new software package will cut down on the amount of raw materials used, create less remnants, and maximize manufacturing runs.

SolidWorks is not the first CAD company to promote sustainable design. Autodesk has been promoting sustainable design for many years, but instead of adding to their already successful product design program Inventor, they have decided to educate product development teams on how to incorporate sustainable design principles into their designs.

These two CAD companies are taking very different approaches on how to help product development teams design more environmentally sustainable products. On the one hand, SolidWorks, who caters more to the mechanical engineering side of the product development process, will be teaching engineers and designers the environmental impacts of their already conceived designs through trial and error, whereas, Autodesk, who seems to be catering more to the conceptual designers in the product development process, wants designers to understand the basic principles of sustainable design so they will be able to conceive of a more eco-friendly design in the beginning of the process.