3 Takeaways from DEVELOP3D LIVE 2016

develop3d live

It’s been more than a week now, since I have returned from the Develop3D Live – one of the leading conferences and exhibitions for designers, engineers, and manufacturers.

I found Develop3D Live very inspirational. I learned more about the innovations in the design technology, heard David Heiny share his ideas on how SimScale can make simulation a standard tool in every engineer’s software stack, and most importantly had a chance to meet face-to-face with some of the SimScale users.

Now that the dust has settled, I finally had some time to reflect on my key takeaways from the conference:

1. You don’t need to be an engineer to make a new product

When you go to a conference like Develop3D Live, you might be initially thinking that this is an event dedicated to only engineers and designers. As a non-engineer I was positively surprised to see that it’s not the case. Although majority of the attendees are engineering companies, there were also many families with kids and students visiting the conference. One dad approached me to ask about the best way for his two teenage sons to learn about the engineering simulation basics. I was really happy to meet all these young people representing the next generation of innovators and refer them to our free F1 Aerodynamics and drone workshops, which I think are a great way to get started with CAE and SimScale.

But it’s not just the attendees, but also the companies exhibiting at Develop3D Live, that made me realize how widespread the 3D technology become in the recent years. A great example is Philip Norman from Ross Robotics – writer and artist – who without any formal background in engineering, decided to learn Solid Edge CAD and created his Ross Robotic company that is developing a flexible, modular and cost effective robot system.

With more accessible and easy-to-use CAD tools like Onshape, CAE tools like SimScale and desktop manufacturing devices like Formbox from Mayku, a completely new group of creative people is gaining access to technologies that were previously reserved for engineering experts. And this is just the beginning. With the 3D printing technology being more and more accessible to a broader audience, in 5-10 years from now it will probably become a standard to have a 3D printer at home. In the future we will all be makers!

2. Collaboration brings you further than competition

Being at the conference reminded me once again about the importance of collaboration. As Bill Gates once said, “innovation requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs”. There were for sure many opportunities for that at Develop3D Live. The conference is smaller than many other I have attended in the past and has a very unique “relaxed” atmosphere, which makes it easier to connect with people and share ideas. I was really inspired by the know-how exchange we had with other companies and all the possibilities that collaboration and partnership opens up.

It is great to see that more and more companies are acknowledging the importance of supporting collaboration among users through cloud, integration with other platforms through apps, and connection of the whole product development process and multiple tools in one platform.

This is also the reason why, at SimScale, we have launched our Community in December. We want to empower engineers, students and designers to collaborate with each other and exchange ideas in order to have access to a constant feedback loop and, as a result, design better products.

3. CAE in the cloud is the next big thing

It was interesting to see how much more accessible and “main stream” CAD technology has become in the past few years. Several CAD companies have presented their updated offering and new features during Develop3D Live and were highlighting the importance of the cloud for the future of product design.

And what about CAE? I enjoyed listening to one of our company founders David Heiny explaining what it will take to make simulation a standard tool in every engineer’s software stack. David highlighted the difference in order of magnitude between the number of CAD and CAE users, where only 1 out of 10 engineers, that could take advantage of simulation in their product design, uses simulation. The reason for it are the 3 barriers that come with the deployment of a traditional simulation software: budget, access, and know-how. From David’s perspective, the cloud, that has proven to be so important for the future of CAD, will also help to democratize the simulation technology. The main values that David thinks cloud can bring are accessibility, cost-efficiency and know-how sharing through community. These are all the aspects that SimScale is focusing on.

The power of the cloud could be definitely proven, when David showed the audience his example of a butterfly valve. He was able to run all five simulations for different opening angles of the butterfly valve (each of them requires 32 cores to be computed effectively) at the same time. The simulation runs took him just 15 minutes and he did them while waiting for his turn to present using the regular conference WiFi.

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