Autodesk helps bridge the gap between design and engineering

Allied Glass has been making glass for over a century and prides itself on offering a combination of traditional skills and modern techniques.

This has led to a focus on high-end markets and a reputation for taking glass packaging to new levels of quality and sophistication, as Chris Todd, Product Innovation Manager at Allied Glass explains: “Premium drinks manufacturers want a bottle that reflects their brand and its values. It also needs to stand out in a competitive market.  Consequently, glass packaging design is now an important factor in the success of a product.  Shapes are becoming more complex and there’s growing demand for unusual features.”

The designers are using the advanced Autodesk Product Design Suite and beginning to explore Autodesk Sketchbook, which enables them to draw shapes and forms on their PC’s, laptops or tablet computers, almost as if they are drawing on actual sketch pads. This gives them free rein to quickly capture the thoughts and ideas in their heads and then experiment and explore them further.

These concepts can then be easily transferred into Autodesk Inventor for more detailed and accurate 3D modelling. This is where the design is refined to ensure it matches all the required criteria.  “Because Inventor automatically works out volumes, we no longer have to take time to calculate them ourselves – and then recalculate when we make changes,” says Steve Glover. “We still might want to make any number of revisions at this stage. But, because the design model and the documentation behind it is automatically updated with every amendment made, we can quickly measure the impact of the change on volume.”

He adds: “It’s all a question of fit – right down to whether the labels will fit correctly on the bottle.  Because Inventor automatically co-ordinates all changes, we can be confident that everything is accurate.”

Data from the 3D model is then used to create the product mould. For this the team use Inventor’s fully-integrated i-Logic technology which dramatically simplifies rules-based design and enables easy customisation of the interior of the mould, whilst the external shape remains the same.

Meanwhile, the visualisation software included in Autodesk Product Design Suite also comes into its own. Autodesk Showcase takes 3D model data from Inventor to create photo-quality visuals and animations, Steve Glover continues: “Our aim was to be able to produce the same standard of presentation materials as a design agency and Autodesk Showcase enables us to do this as an integral part of our workflow.”

“Our clients invest a huge amount in their branding and the glass packaging of their product plays its part in promoting any brand. It is vital that we can work with all stakeholders and make key decisions at early stages of the design process.  It is a real benefit to be able to show our ideas in a way that is straightforward for everyone to understand, but also reflects the quality of our work. It makes for better client relationships and fewer changes further downstream.” He adds.

Members of the team are now also experimenting with the digital sculpting and painting tool, Autodesk Mudbox, Steve Glover concludes:

“Thanks to much of our routine work now being automated we can now take time to be creative.   For We are much more in control of our designs and can be far more proactive. It is helping us to realise our vision of providing a complete solution from idea to product for our customers.”

600450 Autodesk helps bridge the gap between design and engineering
Date: 10 October 2012

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