Some of my blog friends were having a conversation offline about a post at PR, Marketing and the business of CAD that covered the Mechanical Media Summit where Autodesk revealed their new “forward-thinking solution” to do away with PLM. Digital Prototyping.

“It is presented as a way to prove a new product, prototype it digitally, fully simulate it digitally and manufacture it digitally, prior to committing to the production line.”

Hmm. Now, ponder that for a moment.

Prototyping something digitally (modeling) that allows manufacturing an opportunity to critique is hardly a new concept, maybe newish, or new from a 2D pencil and pad, 1983, fax it on over, completely oblivious and unorganized, third world point-of-view. But let’s pretend to get excited for a moment. It’s hard, I know. Put yourself in a Content Editor’s shoes and think of all the ads you could sell, buzz you could generate, and the friends you could make. Or better yet, in a manufacturer’s shoes, since this is what it’s aimed at. If this, for one moment, seemed like it could be beneficial, how likely would you be to try it out?

We try out things again, because they’ve been repackaged in a shiny wrapper or new name. Digital Prototyping is what you as a designer/engineer do each day. There are probably things that will make this easier for you, but it’s not going to be a word, or really even software. Software and hardware are tools that can help, but if you really want a word for something that will help with product lifecycle, how about DISCIPLINE.

If anything needs help it’s how companies organize and allow others to access their information. Not a top heavy PDM system. I can get it modeled. Give me something to seamlessly and effectively kill the inefficiency in between engineering start and manufacturing finish. A web-based, slick-as-snot, data collector/compiler/sender/notifier of a system to communicate back-and forth between customer(manf) and vendor(eng). Two points, the cycle is gone and I’m getting things done.


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.