Virtual Gas Is Helpful For Designers

Commercial kitchen and bakery equipment manufacturer Moffat has cut design time by up to a third using Autodesk's Inventor 3D software and its new online collaboration tool, Streamline.

The Christchurch company is the first in New Zealand to trial Autodesk Streamline, to be launched in November. Design engineer Daren Gamble says the product allows staff anywhere in the world to examine designs.

"They just need the browser to interrogate the model. They don't need Inventor to do that," he said.

"It's stunningly good, like a virtual model. It saves us faxing or couriering designs around the world."

Gamble says Inventor does not have all the features of Autodesk's older engineering design software, Mechanical Desktop, but it is far easier to use.

"I picked it up in a week. It takes about a year to be competent in Mechanical Desktop," he said.

A more intuitive interface improves design accuracy and speed, which, combined with the collaboration tool, means Moffat can get new products such as ovens and cooking tops to market faster.

"It means we only have to make two or three prototypes instead of five or six, because we can do a lot of the prototyping virtually." Moffat, part of Italian conglomerate Ali, employs about 200 people worldwide. It exports to 46 countries and has major offices in Australia, Britain and the US.

Companies Office records showed it made a $2.9 million profit in the 14 months to August 2001 on revenue of $40.8 million.

Autodesk regional manager Andre Pravaz said Streamline was the design version of Buzzsaw, Autodesk's online collaboration tool for the construction version.

"It means you can take the design process upstream to your suppliers or downstream to your customers."

For the second quarter ending July 31, Autodesk reported net income of US$12 million ($25.6 million) on revenue of US$211 million, compared with US$19 million net income on US$231 million revenue for the same period last year.

However, revenue from sales of manufacturing design software grew 21 per cent to US$33 million, with 14,000 new 3D commercial users added, far exceeding the seats sold by any other 3D modeller on the market.

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