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As we move deeper into 2011, it's important to reflect on the good, the bad and the ugly of 2010.
Autodesk, Inc., a provider of 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Blue Ridge Numerics, Inc., a provider of simulation software, for approximately $39 million US in cash. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close by the end of April.
The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has awarded $398,811 to the University of Windsor to support the development of an Innovation Design Studio and Transformable Manufacturing System, the first of its kind in North America. The systems will be housed in the university's $112-million Centre for Engineering Innovation, scheduled to open for classes in the Fall of 2012. The project is led by engineering researchers Dr. Hoda ElMaraghy, Dr. Ahmed Azab and Dr. Waguih ElMaraghy. The funding will be used to purchase state-of-the-art equipment to create an "iDesign Studio" and "iFactory," where faculty members and students can develop their product ideas, from conceptualization to prototyping and designing virtual assembly systems, to actually building their product in a real-world, truly reconfigurable factory in the laboratory. "This funding will help students acquire a unique hands-on experience in integrating product design and manufacturing," said Dr. Hoda ElMaraghy. "These novel technologies will enable industry to implement new business models in order to be competitive in a changing world. This investment from the federal government is helping to put the University of Windsor on the map in the area of manufacturing systems research." "We are highly grateful for this award from CFI and very proud of what our researchers in the new Centre for Engineering Innovation are doing to enhance our country's competitiveness in manufacturing," said Alan Wildeman, president, University of Windsor. The Canada Foundation for Innovation is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. The University of Windsor's award was given as part of the Leaders Opportunity Fund, which provides support to Canadian institutions so that they can attract and retain leading researchers at a time of intense international competition for knowledge workers. For a complete list of the projects awarded, please visit www.innovation.ca.
Manufacturing AUTOMATION is conducting a survey on the topic of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software in the manufacturing industry, in co-operation with Jonathan Gross, ERP analyst and vice-president with IT consultancy Pemeco. Participants of this first annual Benchmark Study: ERP in Canadian Manufacturing and Distribution survey could win, among other things, an audit with an ERP expert (valued at $10,000). The feedback will be used to develop best-in-class procedures for selecting and implementing ERP systems. The results of the survey will provide detailed insights into the strategies that best-in-class companies use to select, implement and manage their ERP systems. "More and more Canadian companies are investing in ERP software. However, as most people know, ERP projects contain significant risks and costs," explains Gross. "This study is important because it will help companies learn how to drive ERP success, manage their risk and reduce their costs. In essence, this study will highlight the procedures that best-in-class companies use to select ERP, implement ERP and accelerate the ROI on their investment." Highlights from the survey results will be published in the June 2011 issue of Manufacturing AUTOMATION, and will be made available to all respondents. The deadline for the survey is Monday, March 14, 2011. Take the 10-minute survey.
Dassault Systèmes (DS) SolidWorks Corp. provided the 5,000-plus attendees at SolidWorks World 2011 in San Antonio, Texas, with a sneak peak into the new features users can expect in the next release of SolidWorks. For SolidWorks 2012, the company has: • Refined the functionalities its customers use most often to simplify and speed up their daily use of SolidWorks; • Added new tools that extend current SolidWorks design capabilities, allow specification-driven design and fundamentally change the way users estimate and make design decisions related to the cost of manufacturing products; and • Expanded support for collaboration and connectivity, allowing design teams to work on joint projects across the globe. Below are the top 10 features SolidWorks users asked for in the next release of the software. 1. Angle mates that don't flip at random; 2. Better utilization of processor cores; 3. The option to dangle instead of deleting; 4. SolidWorks should cleanly uninstall itself; 5. Freeze features; 6. Enhanced equations input, and editing and linking; 7. Convert a solid body into a surface body without having to delete, offset or knit faces; 8. Make the ideas section (in the forum) available all year, not just for SolidWorks World; 9. File compatibility between versions; and 10. Pressing the escape key should immediately return control of the interface. All of the new features of SolidWorks 2012 will be revealed this Fall. www.solidworks.com
Dassault Systèmes (DS) SolidWorks Corp. announced at its annual user conference last month that one million SolidWorks design software licences have been purchased by educational institutions. "Just think about that. One million licences found their way to schools over the past 15 years. That's huge," said DS SolidWorks CEO Bertrand Sicot, during a keynote on the final day of SolidWorks World 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. "It was only in 2009 that we announced one million licences [sold in] total - education and commercial - globally. The adoption rate in universities and high schools is incredible. We are reaching students every year at the younger ages." "It is a number that I am humbled by that so many people have decided to purchase SolidWorks as the tool in their school," said Marie Planchard, the company's director of Worldwide Education Markets. "When you think about that volume, almost half of that, I would say 40 percent of that, [was over the last] two years. So when you think about that increase, it's phenomenal of the adoption." Planchard attributes this jump in adoption to the company's approach of focusing on the particular needs of each teacher, and an "amazing reseller channel" that trains and supports the educators. SolidWorks and its network of resellers target students starting at the sixth grade level, supplying schools with SolidWorks CAD software, as well as simulation tools to do things like stress and sustainability analysis - though for six graders, they don't call it analysis, Planchard said; they call it "fun with physics." "It's about being able to design a project like...an F1 car, which is very popular in the Canadian middle school market," Planchard explained. "They can build a little wooden car, and they design it in SolidWorks. They put it through our virtual wind tunnel and see how the change in the wind can affect drag and flow, and then they machine it in a simple wood router and they race it." One of SolidWorks' youngest users is 13-year-old Riley Lewis, a Grade 7 student from San Jose, Calif. Riley was singled out at SolidWorks World 2011 by Jeff Ray, Dassault Systèmes executive vice-president of Geographic Operations, as one of the bright young students he is "blown away" by. Riley was introduced to SolidWorks at age 11, at Laney Community College Summer Camp. A professional engineer showed the students how to use the software. The rest he learned through online tutorials. It was just the thing he needed to help with a project he had been working on. Riley was previously using Google SketchUp, but it wasn't meeting his needs. SolidWorks had the features he was looking for to help him complete the project. "I think it's a great software. After learning a little, I found that the usability is greater than most of the other tools on the market," he said. Though he has been using SolidWorks for two years, he has had an interest in engineering and inventing since the age of four. "When I was four, I started building small projectile [items] like catapults...out of PVC and stuff that I had in my room," he said. "My dad and I have always been makers. When there is something broken, we try to repair it before taking it to the shop to get repaired." Recently, Riley - a self-taught "lock picker" - developed a prototype for an unpickable lock using SolidWorks software.   What's next for this young mind? "My plans for the future are learning more," said Riley, who at 13 is already in talks with universities. He would like to focus on sustainable engineering or mechanical engineering.  What is his advice to would-be engineers? "Start with Google SketchUp. Then see if there are any SolidWorks users in your community. Talk to them. Try to get the software. If you can do that, you may end up at a show like what I'm doing right now." He had these inspirational words for today's practicing engineers: "Never stop dreaming. Just keep inventing. We need innovation." SolidWorks World 2011 kicked off on January 23, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas, with 5,000-plus attendees. SolidWorks World 2012 will take place in San Diego, Calif. from February 12-15. www.solidworks.com
Autodesk revealed the greenhouse gas (GHG) and other environmental impacts of Autodesk University (AU) 2010 recently at its inaugural Sustainability Summit. The results revealed that in-person attendance at the company's main annual user conference in Las Vegas late last year grew 16 percent, even as the per-attendee carbon footprint was reduced by four percent over 2009 due to increased online participation. "Each year, Autodesk hosts several conferences attended by thousands from across the globe. While these events are important for our business, they can have a profound impact on the environment, mainly in the form of greenhouse gas emissions from travel, energy and lodging, as well as materials use and waste," said Lynelle Cameron, director of sustainability at Autodesk. "In fiscal year 2010, our largest events contributed 14 percent of the total Autodesk carbon footprint, but we're working to continue lowering that number and reducing the overall environmental impact of our events. One of our key strategies to that end is driving more online attendance through events like AU Virtual." In 2010, AU brought together a record 30,000 attendees for live conferences in Las Vegas, Tokyo and Beijing, and online through AU Virtual. Online participants in the event increased 18 percent over 2009, while physical attendees at the main event in Las Vegas increased 11 percent. Even with these attendee increases, however, the analysis conducted by the company shows the benefits of impressive efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the event: 1. Reduction in materials use remains high: Beginning with AU2009, Autodesk reduced the amount of water bottles at the event, saving 3.3 tons of plastic from landfill. In addition, the company moved from printed show guides to a mobile device-based application for attendees, while eliminating handouts for AU classes, reducing paper use enough to save 314 trees. 2. Solid waste diversion keeps materials from landfill: For AU2010, more than 92 percent of all solid waste generated by the event was diverted from landfill, with food scraps going to a local pig farm and all recyclable materials being processed in Las Vegas. 3. Attendee travel continues to be largest impact: Travel of attendees and employees to and from the event - Scope Three emissions - was the primary contributor to carbon impacts. These emission numbers remained flat per physical attendee, even as event participation grew, due in large part to an increase in online attendees. 4. Greening event is important to attendees: In a post-event survey of AU2010 attendees, more than 61 percent of respondents said it was important to them that Autodesk considers sustainability in its operation of the event. www.autodesk.com
Dassault Systèmes, a provider of 3D and PLM solutions, recently announced that SolidWorks CEO Jeff Ray has been named executive vice-president, Geographic Operations, and member of the Dassault Systèmes executive committee. In this newly created position, Ray will oversee the company's geographies in order to empower the Dassault Systèmes local teams to serve customers' and partners' growing needs, and fully exploit the market growth potential. Ray joined Dassault Systèmes in 2003 as chief operating officer for SolidWorks, and was appointed CEO of SolidWorks in 2007. Prior to his seven-year tenure at Dassault Systèmes, Ray held various senior executive positions in software and IT companies. Bertrand Sicot will replace Ray as SolidWorks CEO. Sicot first joined Dassault Systèmes in 1997, where he was in charge of regional sales for SolidWorks in Europe. He then expanded the U.S. SolidWorks operations from 2004 to 2007, and since 2007 has been leading the SolidWorks global sales channel. www.3ds.com
An interview with Autodesk sustainable design program manager, Dawn Danby, regarding the recently launched Autodesk Sustainability Workshop.
Autodesk, Inc., a provider of 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, recently announced the availability of Factory Layout Optimization for AutoCAD software, a new free technology preview available on Autodesk Labs, enabling industrial engineers and layout designers to devise more efficient factory layouts for material handling. The AutoCAD plug-in is designed to help manufacturers adopt leaner manufacturing methods, decreasing waste and improving overall factory efficiency. The Factory Layout Optimization utility enables industrial engineers and factory layout designers to take existing 2D layouts created using AutoCAD and define the material flow paths and stations inside the factory. The new technology provides real-time feedback on optimizing layout from a material handling standpoint, enabling more precise evaluation of multiple layout scenarios earlier in the design process. The Technology Preview can be applied to new or existing 2D layout designs in AutoCAD 2011, AutoCAD Architecture 2011, AutoCAD Mechanical 2011 and Autodesk Factory Design Suite 2011. "This technology is an exciting addition to our factory design software capabilities," said Scott Reese, senior director, Autodesk Manufacturing Industry Group. "The Factory Layout Optimization utility will enable our many factory customers to eliminate the guesswork from factory layout and have greater confidence in their decisions." Factory Layout Optimization for AutoCAD will be available on Autodesk Labs for a limited time. Factory Layout Optimization for AutoCAD is compatible with AutoCAD 2011, AutoCAD Architecture 2011, AutoCAD Mechanical 2011 and Autodesk Factory Design Suite 2011 software; both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The user interface for Factory Layout Optimization for AutoCAD is in English, but the technology preview is compatible with non-English versions of the supported applications.  This announcement was made at the 18th annual Autodesk University, which took place in Las Vegas, Nev., from November 29 to December 2. The event provides training on the latest Autodesk 3D design software, free certification opportunities and the chance to interact with and learn from other users and design industry leaders. More than 7,000 attendees and 120 exhibitors participated in this year's event at the Madalay Bay Resort and Casino. Manufacturing AUTOMATION magazine was there. Stay tuned for more coverage in the January/February 2011 issue of Manufacturing AUTOMATION. www.autodesk.com
Autodesk, Inc., a provider of 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, has updated AutoCAD WS, a free web application that uses cloud computing to enable AutoCAD software users to view, edit and share their AutoCAD designs and DWG files through web browsers and mobile devices. The updated mobile application, which will soon to be available through the App Store, helps to increase usability and functionality in AutoCAD WS by making designs accessible even when users are not connected to the Internet, and offers support for opening e-mail attachments directly into AutoCAD WS. "AutoCAD WS has been overwhelmingly embraced by users," said Amar Hanspal, senior vice-president, Autodesk Platform Solutions and Emerging Business. "In just eight weeks, over 410,000 users have registered, 430,000 drawings have been uploaded and the mobile application has been downloaded from Apple's App Store over 560,000 times. With the update to AutoCAD WS, we are directly responding to user feedback. We have added requested features, including the ability to access designs while offline. This will encourage even more designers to start using this free and groundbreaking product."   AutoCAD WS facilitates true anytime, anywhere design by connecting AutoCAD users across the globe through an online workspace that is accessible directly from their AutoCAD desktop software or on iOS devices, including Apple iPhone and iPad. The 1.1 version of the AutoCAD WS mobile application will expand design accessibility through features that include: • Offline support: Most requested from existing AutoCAD WS users, designs can now be viewed and edited from mobile devices, without the need for Internet connectivity. • Direct file uploads from an iPad: Users can now open an e-mail attachment and upload it to their AutoCAD WS account directly from their device. • Simplified gesture interface: Editing, drawing and markup has been enhanced to be more intuitive and similar to AutoCAD. Version 1.1 of the AutoCAD WS mobile application for iPad, iPhone or iPod touch will soon be available on the App Store. Users of AutoCAD products, including 2010 and 2011 versions of AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT software, can download a free plug-in to upload and open files stored in AutoCAD WS accounts directly from their desktop. This announcement was made at the 18th annual Autodesk University, which took place in Las Vegas, Nev., from November 29 to December 2. The event provides training on the latest Autodesk 3D design software, free certification opportunities and the chance to interact with and learn from other users and design industry leaders. More than 7,000 attendees and 120 exhibitors participated in this year's event at the Madalay Bay Resort and Casino. Manufacturing AUTOMATION magazine was there. Stay tuned for more coverage in the January/February issue of Manufacturing AUTOMATION. www.autodesk.com
For most of 2010, Canadian companies have taken a wait-and-see approach to ERP. According to IT research firm IDC, Canadian businesses are neither jumping headfirst into new ERP applications nor making significant changes to their existing systems. Our firm's on-the-ground experience is consistent with IDC's findings. Our ERP consulting business is slower in Canada than in the U.S. We're not the only ones seeing this trend. Software vendors are singing a similar tune: their Canadian ERP sales are, on an adjusted basis, relatively weaker than their U.S. sales. A Canadian sales rep for a well-known ERP vendor recently told me that he's being relocated to the U.S. to help mop up some of the excess demand. From a competitiveness perspective, lagging Canadian ERP adoption is concerning. It means that Canadian manufacturers and distributors - particularly in the small to medium-sized segments - are in some respects technologically disadvantaged relative to their U.S. peers. This technological disadvantage has real business consequences that span an organization's entire value chain, including lower sales, higher inventory costs and lower product quality. In my view, a tipping point in the Canadian ERP market will be reached in 2011 and 2012. Canadian companies will be compelled to upgrade their enterprise systems, and when they do decide to make the leap, they will need to be prepared for a long and arduous change management project. This change project starts with system selection. The selection process will take months and, in some cases, can last longer than a year. For one client, we're into month six of its selection project and, to date, everything has proceeded smoothly. Another company we're talking to has given itself a year to find the right-fit system. For the buyer's management team, the selection phase can be grinding. It consumes key IT, operational and administrative personnel. It's a distraction from the day-to-day business. Usually, by the time the company has narrowed the field to the top two or three contestants, frustration has set in. Management just wants to choose the system and move on to the implementation project.  Management, though, should resist its urge to rush negotiations. The total cost of an ERP system - and its ultimate net value - depends heavily on bargaining efforts. Discounts are there to be had. They just have to be found. For example, one of the large ERP vendors is sometimes prepared to offer license fee discounts of 60 to 90 percent to companies that earn less than $100 million in annual revenues. Concessions like these can add up to six-figure savings. Though, many buyers - particularly in the SME segment - don't have the internal ERP negotiating expertise to land these types of deals. As a result, many end up leaving significant value on the table. Below are some tips to help you extract the most value from your ERP negotiations, starting with timing.   The setup: Timing the negotiations Timing is critical. If a buyer is lucky enough to time its ERP investment with a trough in the ERP sales market, it'll have an easier time extracting concessions. Few buyers, however, fall into this category. Most tend to enter the market in and around the same period. These buyers will have to work a little harder to make time work in their favour. Opportune negotiating windows typically open up near the close of a vendor's reporting period. Here's why: a vendor includes a buyer's project in particular quarterly and annual sales projections. The vendor then translates these sales projections into targets for its sales reps. Sales rep commissions are typically based on meeting those targets. The key for the buyer, therefore, is to time the negotiations for the end of the reporting period. By pressuring the sales rep's commissions, the buyer can create urgency, which can translate into favourable concessions. Managing the vendor's sales expectations The buyer should actively manage the vendor's sales expectations. Vendors use sales expectations - or Total Account Value (TAV) in vendor parlance - to set proposed pricing and sales rep commission levels. As an oversimplified rule-of-thumb: the higher the TAV, the more expensive the system.  The buyer should take it upon itself to make sure that ERP vendors assign low (but reasonable) TAVs. How? By managing the information it divulges. For one, the buyer should seldom disclose its project budget. However, since vendors know that most prospects won't divulge budget information, they have developed proxy measures based on company size. Most commonly, ERP vendors generate TAVs based on a prospective buyer's annual revenues and employee count. If your company is privately held, I would recommend keeping this information close to your vest. If there are compelling reasons to divulge this information, I recommend using broad ranges. Be warned that vendors acquire TAV information from third-party research companies (among others). Here's how these arrangements work. The research companies offer "free" ERP research to prospective buyers. The buyer fills out a contact form and gets access to the research. The research company then turns around and sells the information contained in your contact form to ERP vendors. And, as you've probably guessed, the information sought on the contact forms typically includes questions about company size and project timing - the key inputs for sales projections and TAV. Getting the deal done If the buyer has timed the negotiations and managed its information, it has done its positioning work. The toughest part - contract negotiations - remains. One reason why getting a good deal is so difficult is because almost all ERP vendors keep their list prices a secret. This makes it almost impossible for buyers to gauge whether or not the vendor's offer is fair value. Another reason has to do with the complexity of the various contracts that the vendors want the buyer to execute. Oftentimes, the easiest way to cut through all of this complexity is to hire an experienced ERP negotiator. A good negotiator is one who can extract good dollar value while protecting the buyer's rights and interests. In an ideal scenario, your negotiator should: • be independent and impartial; • have good relationships with vendors; • have strong negotiating expertise; • have deep subject-matter expertise; and • be a lawyer. Having said that, many companies will still decide to negotiate on their own behalves. For these companies, I recommend that they do their due diligence before sitting down at the bargaining table. This means understanding the terms of the contract and researching best-practices. Talking to peers and participating in online communities are good places to start. Once the negotiations have concluded, the buyer is ready to move onto the main project: implementation. Jonathan Gross is vice-president of Pemeco, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in ERP selection and implementation. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
On a recent ERP system selection project, our client eliminated a functionally competitive ERP software package because of its disproportionately high price tag. In fact, our client dismissed the manufacturing and distribution ERP package during the first round of cuts, before the vendor was even given a chance to perform a live software demonstration.   The point of the story is that ERP value - like most things - is partially judged in relation to cost. Even though most ERP buyers appreciate the importance of cost, many fail to give it the treatment it requires. The general result: unexpected sticker shock.  In most cases of "mystery surprise" pricing, an impartial observer could not be faulted for laying blame both on the ERP vendor and on the buyer. More often than not, the vendor can be blamed for maintaining opaque pricing practices that preclude meaningful up-front research. Very few vendors publish their list prices. Many buyers, meanwhile, can be blamed for not giving the vendor sufficient information from which to prepare a meaningful pricing proposal. They can also be blamed for not doing enough good analysis on the vendor responses. The purpose of this article is to help empower ERP buyers to make better-informed buying decisions. It is primarily focused on vendor pricing practices relating to ERP licenses. Getting vendors the information they need When an organization acquires an ERP system, it is getting something that is, in many ways, unique. The uniqueness reflects the way that the system is assembled, configured and customized. An ERP buyer needs to understand that the vendors cannot deliver useful proposals without understanding its unique combination of needs. It would be akin to ordering a build-your-own pizza without identifying the toppings you want. Much like the build-your-own-pizza model, an ERP vendor starts with a core application. Then, it adds toppings in the form of software customizations, add-on modules and third-party software.   The buyer's first task, therefore, is to develop a list of basic ingredients that allows the vendor to price a complete ERP solution. The list of ingredients should be made up of actual functional and technical needs. In my article, ERP selection: Three steps to analysing functional needs, I explain how to develop such a list. Only once this list is delivered to the vendor will it be in a position to determine the best mix of applications and customizations.   Now, bear with me while I stretch the pizza analogy further than it should probably go. Just as a pizza parlour would not be able to price a pizza based on toppings information alone, a vendor would not be able to price an ERP solution based on specifications information alone. In the case of the pizza parlour, the missing information is size. In the case of the ERP vendor, the missing information is capacity. In ERP terms, capacity refers to the number of licensed users. The buyer's next task, therefore, is to project its ERP users. A word of caution to the buyer: user licenses come in two forms - concurrent and named. Some vendors price licenses on the basis of concurrent users, while others do so on the basis of named users. There are even some that offer both alternatives. Distinguishing between user types is important because most buyers do not have a 1:1 ratio of concurrent-to-named users. In terms of definitions, concurrent licenses refer to the number of users that are allowed to use the system at any one time. In contrast, named licenses refer to specifically dedicated people who are authorized to use the system. Given different vendor licensing practices, the buyer is advised to project both concurrent and named users. The buyer would also be well advised to have the vendors price multiple user scenarios, because the real future might be different from the projected future. Any variance between actual and projected user counts could affect relative pricing, because different vendors have different ways of pricing license increments. Analysing pricing proposals After submitting its specifications and user scenarios, the buyer has put itself in a position to receive meaningful pricing proposals. Though there are no guarantees that the vendors will oblige, most vendors respond with useful pricing information. Even if the responses do contain useful pricing information, the forms in which they are received are generally not conducive to comparative analysis. The buyer's next task, therefore, is to reorganize the responses into a format that permits "apples-to-apples" comparisons (whether manually or by automated program). For each client, we create a customized pro forma Statement of ERP Costs that we use to analyse each vendor response. For each vendor, we aggregate the line items into common categories and sub-categories. For example, in the license cost category, we might have line items for the following: core license, vendor add-on modules and third-party software. We might also have line items to highlight the costs of non-standard high-priority items (e.g. shop-floor data collection licenses). Once all of the responses are entered into the pro formas, we make whatever pricing adjustments are needed to perform an apples-to-apples comparison. In some cases, the vendor has given us sufficient information to make the required adjustments. In other cases, we need to ask the vendor to re-price certain items based on a different set of assumed circumstances. Once all of the adjustments have been made, the buyer has put itself in a position to perform an "apples-to-apples" comparison. In terms of relevant time periods, the analysis should, at a minimum, be performed for Year 1 and for an assumed system lifespan period. The costs over a system's expected life are known as the total cost of ownership. For ERP systems, we generally assume a 10-year total cost of ownership period. This 10-year total cost of ownership analysis is a must because the most significant ERP costs are typically in the form of recurring annual maintenance costs. Every year, the buyer generally pays maintenance and support costs that are equal to 16 to 22 percent of total, undiscounted license costs. In my next article, I intend to delve deeper into these maintenance annuity obligations, and offer some tips on negotiating more favourable terms. In the meantime, I hope that this article has provided you with helpful tips to guide you on your ERP selection project. Jonathan Gross is vice-president of Pemeco, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in ERP selection and implementation. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Autodesk, Inc. recently announced that AutoCAD for Mac is now available for purchase. The company is making a free 30-day trial of AutoCAD for Mac available for download and will offer free educational licenses to students and educators. Styles&Wood, a provider of property services to retailers, banks and commercial organizations, is one of the more than 5,000 participants who were part of the AutoCAD for Mac beta program. "We have been waiting a long time for AutoCAD to come back to the Mac," said Andrew Handley, CAD development manager. "Our experience has been that AutoCAD for Mac is similar enough to the PC version that the transition is easy. We've found it to be a very powerful and reliable product that has all the functionality we need." AutoCAD for Mac has an intuitive interface that will feel familiar to Mac users and takes full advantage of Mac OS X, including graphical browsing of design files with Cover Flow and use of Multi-Touch gestures for pan and zoom on Mac notebooks, Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad. With native creation and editing of files in the DWG file format, AutoCAD for Mac also supports easy collaboration with suppliers, customers, clients and partners, regardless of platform. AutoCAD for Mac is also integrated with AutoCAD WS, so users can also upload and manage designs in their online workspace directly from the desktop, and edit and share those designs through a web browser or Apple iOS devices using the free AutoCAD WS mobile application. AutoCAD for Mac is now available for purchase in English in North America and Europe from leading resellers, online retailers and Autodesk.com. For details, purchase options or to download the free 30-day trial, visit http://www.autodesk.com/autocadformac. Students and educators are also eligible to purchase commercial seats of AutoCAD for Mac at a substantial discount. For more information and to download the free education version, visit http://www.autodesk.com/pr-mac4students.
Autodesk, Inc. has announced that AutoCAD for Mac software will be available to users this Fall. This version of AutoCAD runs natively on Mac OS X and will increase choice of hardware for millions of users around the world. Autodesk also announced the AutoCAD WS mobile application, a new app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch that will allow users to edit and share their AutoCAD designs in the field. "The release of AutoCAD for Mac marks the return of professional design and engineering software to the Mac platform, and an important convergence of power and design. Over 5,000 customers have helped develop this product through our beta program, and they are delighted to have the choice of a native Mac version of AutoCAD," said Amar Hanspal, senior vice-president, Autodesk Platform Solutions and Emerging Business. AutoCAD for Mac has an intuitive interface that will be familiar to Mac users. It takes full advantage of Mac OS X, including graphical browsing of design files with Cover Flow and use of Multi-Touch gestures on Mac notebooks, Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad for intuitive pan and zoom features. User experience design patterns, such as the visual approach to drawing and layout management, have also been incorporated into AutoCAD for Mac. With support for native creation and editing files in the DWG file format, AutoCAD for Mac also offers easy collaboration with suppliers, customers, clients and partners regardless of platform, the company said. Files created in previous versions of AutoCAD will open in AutoCAD for Mac, boosting productivity by reducing time-consuming file translation and cleanup of converted data. AutoCAD for Mac and the AutoCAD WS mobile application will be available in North America and Europe beginning this fall.

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