DEVELOP3D Live

08 May 2013

Taking place at Warwick Arts Centre on 16 April 2013, our annual DEVELOP3D LIVE shindig brought luminaries from the CAD industry together with field experts and product designers.

With the success of our first DEVELOP3D LIVE back in 2012, our plans for this year’s event were a tad ambitious.

Carl Bass, Autodesk’s CEO,on the unlimited possibilities of cloud, mobile and true CAD

Instead of two simultaneous tracks we were going to try for four. We also doubled the amount of space for exhibitors and then proceeded to badger the heads of the leading CAD developers to come to the UK and give us an insight as to what was coming down the line.

We didn’t expect to have quite so many take up our offer and so we ended up with the best industry line up in quite some time, anywhere on the planet.

The CEO of Autodesk, Carl Bass, made a rare visit to the UK for the show, as did Gian Paolo Bassi, heading up R&D at SolidWorks. Add to that Chris Randles, CEO of SpaceClaim, Paul Brown, global marketing manager of Siemens NX and Jon Hirschtick, the inspirational founder of SolidWorks and now at Belmont Technology developing a new modelling engine.

Our Keynote was from Ping Fu who had just completed selling her firm Geomagic to 3D Systems and sneaking in at the end was Bob McNeel, creator of Rhino who took part in our questions and Answers session. If you wanted a broad view of where design tools are going, we definitely had the inside track.

Ping Fu and her company Geomagic have been doing incredible things with point clouds, enabling reverse engineering, quality checking, medical application and linking the real world with intelligent CAD systems.

Her recent biography, ‘Bend not Break’ has also hit the best seller lists, charting her upbringing in China during the cultural revolution, subsequent exile and career in the United States.
Fu advises President Obama and is involved in encouraging small firms.

She is a keen advocate of 3D printing and regularly wears 3D printed clothes. Her 3D printed scarf was quite a hit with delegates this year.

Head in the cloud

There was a lot of talk about ‘the cloud’ and its potential positive impacts.

Autodesk’s Bass used the event to announce subscription pricing for the company’s Fusion modeller, starting at $25 per month.

SolidWorks’ Bassi also offered evidence of some excellent new capabilities that will be coming to the core platform, as well as the next generation conceptual modeller the company is due to launch this year. Siemens did a live demonstration of forthcoming features in NX well ahead of NX 9’s launch.

Hirschtick’s new product is still being baked but he gave us a wonderful romp through the history of CAD and highlighted the shortcomings and problems that the industry has still to fix; one assumed that these were the challenges he set his team for their next generation modeller.

Hirschtick knows an opportunity when he sees it. SolidWorks got modelling on the desktop, while all the other companies were sticking to UNIX, causing a massive disruption to the status quo. The move to cloud-based applications is another such platform change that may offer a startup another opportunity.

I don’t want to go into too much detail of what was said, as the videos will be uploaded to develop3dlive.com.

There are over 30 hours of video that are being worked on and over time will be uploaded to the website for global access. Announcements of the updates will also be made on the develop3d.com website. Keep your eyes peeled.

Streams

Away from the mainstage we ran three other theatres covering: Product Design, Rendering, Simulation and Analysis, Hardware, 3D Printing and Sustainable Design.

There were tours of the Warwick Manufacturing Group (showing an automotive scan to edit workflow), Siemens hosted NX and SolidEdge training and Ansys offered hands-on simulation advice.

I think we may have got the room allocation slightly askew, with 3D Printing being standing room only and people peeking through the doors, while Analysis and Simulation had enough room to swing an elephant.

By grouping themes we hoped to minimise the need to run between theatres but I am not sure that worked as well as we had hoped. Next year we will have an integrated Product Design Stream.

A survey is being developed as we speak to help us improve this.

Conclusion

With over 1,000 people attending, 54 exhibition stands and every room of the Warwick Arts Centre in use, we saw growth of over 110 per cent over last year’s figures, so many that in fact we might have to find a new venue to accommodate further increase! We hope not, but we need to do some planning.

DEVELOP3D LIVE is always a fantastic time for the DEVELOP3D editorial team to meet up with readers and those from our industry. It’s reassuring that British engineering and design is so enthusiastic and open to new technologies.

We are very grateful to our founding sponsors DELL Workstation and AMD FirePro for their continued support of the show. This year gold sponsors Autodesk and Siemens also helped in broadening our reach.
The good news is that the work on DEVELOP3D LIVE 2014 has already started and speakers are being recruited.

Although Al Dean said ‘never again’ after his debut talk this year,  resenting his 3D photocopier (a cake decorating stand and a scanner on a trolley), we hope to entice him out for more public humiliation.

Even our Greg Corke was dragged up on stage to help out in the hardware sessions. Notice I am actively leaving myself well out of the running.         

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