I recently taught Autodesk Inventor Professional to 11 engineers from a new customer – A-Safe from Elland just a little west of Leeds.
In each of my classes, I have a quick section where I show things other than the software being trained to show the other benefits that your Autodesk account has.
One of those benefits is the Idea Station.
Now what is an Idea Station? Autodesk have a virtual wish list for many of the Autodesk products you can find the Idea stations here then navigate to the product that you have an amazing idea for or want to find out if someone else has had an idea that you can help to become a reality.
Now I did a quick calculation, in my head so it may not be correct, but between 60-80% of improvements over the last 4 years in the Autodesk software I use daily have come from either the Idea station or Autodesk Labs, you can read more about Labs or technology previews here. A Great Blog on Autodesk Technology previews by Autodesk employee Scott Sheppard.
This is what The Ideas Forum looks like for Inventor. Big vote button on the left to upvote the ideas you like. Now the highest rated idea only has 647 votes at the time of writing, this is pretty bad, I’ve had more likes on Facebook probably for a picture of my tea. Think about this, a tool that can improve the way you work every day for ¾ of your waking life can be improved significantly just by getting the same amount of votes that you can get for a random post on Facebook. You can help to change the way your Autodesk product works.
Anyway, back to Idea station – Dylan Wilson one of the engineers from A-Safe instantly found an issue with the software that would take up a lot of his time over the long term. Dylan’s and therefore A-Safe’s problem is that when he creates a family of parts, or iParts, then adds the table to a drawing, the table shows the equations he’s used to create the variants.
Here is a video of what that looks like.
It’s annoying if you have 3-5 things to do but it’s a show stopper if you have 200 variants of one part and then when it’s in an assembly you add that to another 200 variants, that’s 400 lines of excel spreadsheet you have to edit.
Dylan has made a suggestion on the Idea Station and I think it’s a great one, Allow the value to be selected rather than the equation when placing the table into a drawing. It’s not a big change, the data is already there, it’s the addition of a selection option. If you think this is a good idea, go to the link below and upvote it, show Dylan the power of the Idea station and help improve the software for the better.
Please use the link, login and vote for this improvement, it would come in really helpful for Dylan, but I know at least 5 other companies that could use this to streamline their workflow and stop engineers managing spreadsheets and get back to engineering.
Here is a little about A-Safe from their website which can be found here.
“A-SAFE is the inventor and manufacturer of fixed, polymer safety barriers, used around the world to offer unbeatable, cost saving protection for buildings, personnel and equipment.
Made from a patented polyolefin blend called MemaplexTM, A-SAFE barriers absorb and dissipate impacts from vehicles or hardware, protecting structures, people and machinery and offering huge cost savings in maintenance, replacement products and down-time.
Rigorously FEA tested using an in-house Research & Development team and independently verified by TÜV, A-SAFE barriers are a giant leap forward for modern health and safety practices and requirements in the workplace.
A-SAFE products have been rolled out as best practice across the world by Nestlé, and other recent clients include Coca-Cola, BMW, 3M, Heathrow Airport, Unilever, Amazon, Heineken and Jaguar-Land Rover.
The company was formed in Halifax, UK in 1984 and now has offices in ten countries (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Scandinavia, USA, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Australia) and re-sellers in over 60 more.
A-SAFE also regularly create bespoke pieces for clients which address individual issues of safety concern and compliance. The company also has systems for testing the performance characteristics of existing barrier systems and are able to suggest best products and procedures should a company’s barriers be unfit for purpose.
A-SAFE won the Queens Award for International Trade in 2014.”