Autodesk integrates and expands its Fusion platform at Accelerate 2016

Fusion is coming into its own as a platform, with features for IoT, PDM, collaboration, and data management. 


Autodesk presented its re­vamped cloud-based PLM/PDM (prod­uct data management/product lifecycle management) strategy at its Accelerate 2016 conference held in Boston. First, there’s the name change. Autodesk has changed its cloud-based PLM product line to Fu­sion Lifecycle.

And what’s in a name? Consistency.

Autodesk is building on its Fusion brand to build out a complete end-to-end PLM product line that’s af­fordable and practical for Autodesk’s base of SMBs.

Last May, the company announced a name-change from PLM 360 to Fu­sion Lifecycle, and the integration of its SeeControl IoT product into the family as Fusion Connect. With that, Fusion became the platform for Autodesk’s cloud-based manufacturing products.

Meet the family:

Fusion 360. Autodesk’s cloud-based modeling tool with direct modeling and parametric modeling capabilities and support for mechanical engineer­ing, drawings, visualization, simulation, machining, and additive manufacturing. Fusion 360 includes CAD/CAM/CAE capabilities. Its base subscription price is $25 a month with annual commitment ($40/month otherwise) and free for stu­dents and startups.

Fusion Lifecycle. Formerly known as PLM 360, Fusion Lifecycle is cloud based and connects project data throughout a business and includes PDM, Bill of Materials Management, Change Management, New Product In­troduction, Supplier Collaboration, and Quality Management.

Cloud PDM. An addition to Fusion Lifecycle, PDM fills out Fusion Life­cycle to give Autodesk a competitive end-to-end PLM product in the cloud. Cloud PDM enables collaboration on engineering data related to a project including CAD and document tracking tools. As part of Fusion Lifecycle, man­agement of versions and design data is handled automatically. The Cloud PDM tool supports Fusion360, Inven­tor, AutoCAD and SolidWorks.. At Accelerate 2016, product manager Brian Roepke said the company is plan­ning to add support for Siemens NX, PTC Creo. He added that they are look­ing at Siemens Solid Edge as well.

Fusion Connect. Autodesk’s industri­al IoT software developed with the SeeControl technology acquired in 2015. It enables the development of smart, connected products and services. Fusion Connect will provide Dy­namic Predictive Analytics powered by  technology from Nutonian, and the company has announced a new option coming Eureqa, an AI modeling engine that can help predict machine failures.

Fusion Configure. A new product in the Fusion lineup that will add enter­prise CPQ (configure, price, quote), for manufacturers. It will allow companies that may have products with multiple options to configure, price, and deliver quotes for complex products. Autodesk says Configure is coming soon.

Autodesk is positioning its cloud expertise as a major competitive ad­vantage. Being cloud-based means it’s unnecessary to install and update soft­ware, and configuration is easier for companies with limited or no IT staff.

Somewhat counter-intuitively, PDM is the latest addition to the Fusion product line. Counter-intuitively be­cause PDM is the function most closely aligned to the design process and usu­ally an early add-on for companies. PLM often comes later as the need to manage product data across disciplines, groups, and sometimes companies be­comes important.

Autodesk has had an on-premise PDM product for the desktop with Vault, and the company intends to con­tinue support for Vault and has added interoperability with Fusion Lifecy­cle through a middleware tool from Jitterbit.

As mentioned, Cloud PDM is part of Fusion Lifecycle and is available to Life­cycle subscribers now.