Autodesk Helps Design Eco-Friendly Prototypes
Autodesk is using Granta Design’s materials database to improve the sustainability of product prototypes
Autodesk has introduced a sustainable-design tool to its AutoCAD computer aided design suite. Eco Materials Adviser (EMA) is part of the Autodesk Inventor 2012 module and results from a strategic partnership between Autodesk and Cambridge University’s Granta Design.
The tool helps designers to estimate a project’s environmental impact and then to adjust materials and features to improve the lifecycle sustainability properties of the product.
Designers can quickly generate an eco-impact analysis for a product or its assembly parts in Autodesk Inventor. The EMA dashboard display shows key indicators, such as energy usage, CO2 footprint, water usage, and materials cost, as bar icons. This allows the user to explore the effects of changes in the chosen materials or other design elements of their digital prototype interactively.
Online Database Of Materials’ Specifications
EMA allows designers and inventors to address environmental considerations early in the design process and helps users who may not have any training in sustainability issues. The software uses Granta’s database to find the right eco-data for currently chosen and alternative materials to help create more sustainable, cost-effective, and durable products.
“Through the Eco Materials Adviser and our partnership with Granta, we are helping make environmentally preferred material selections a reality for enterprises of all sizes,” said Robert Kross, senior vice president, for Autodesk’s Manufacturing Industry Group.
Autodesk sees the tool as a way to make incremental adjustments during the design and prototyping phases. The software does help the designer to make improvements in materials choice but the overall approach to sustainability designs must be made at the planning stage. To help conceptualise products, Autodesk is providing tutorial videos, grouped together as the Sustainability Workshop, to offer information on sustainable design strategies.