Benefits of moving from AutoCAD workflow to Factory Design Utilities

27 June 2023Autodesk Software, Digital Transformation, ManufacturingFactory Design, factory design utilities, PDM, Product Design & Manufacturing, production



Factory Design Utilities software lets you plan and validate factory layouts for efficient equipment placement to improve production performance. This software is available only as part of the Autodesk PDM (product design and manufacturing) Collection.

You can download Factory Design Utilities from your Autodesk account from this website:

Working with a factory layout in standard AutoCAD can be very time consuming. The Factory Design Utilities (FDU) come with tools that, once set up, will make laying out your designs easier and faster, whether they are new layouts or redesigning an existing layout. FDU adds a Factory tab to your existing ribbon. AutoCAD will look like this:

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AutoCAD menu against black background showing Factory tab

Inventor will have a Factory tab added too and will look like this:

Inventor menu showing Factory tab

FDU uses what are called assets. These are very similar to AutoCAD blocks but include key parameters that control different configurations of the AutoCAD geometry or an Inventor model. Additionally, you can define two or more variations. So for example, if you have a machine with more than one workstation, a user can select which configuration to place initially or change it later at any time. The Asset Browser is a standalone dialog that can be docked as desired and allows you to drag and drop them into your assembly. Here is a default out-of-the-box look of a typical Asset Browser:

Asset Browser menu

When working in AutoCAD/AutoCAD Mechanical, you will use the same workflows you have been using to start new layouts, so you can continue to use your existing templates. Inventor will have a new template to use when creating a factory layout called “StandardFactoryLayout.iam” and will look like this when you select the New tool:

Factory Design Utilities menu showing icons with Standard Factory Layout outlined in red

Factory Design Utilities is a bi-directional workflow, so you can start in either software and sync/open in the other software. For example, if you start in the Inventor software, you will click the New option and select StandardFactoryLayout.iam from the list. This will start a new file with geometry that represents a factory floor and activates the Factory ribbon. The Model Browser will look the same as any Inventor assembly file.

When moving from standard AutoCAD to Factory Design Utilities you can continue to use your current workflows and drawings to complete your layouts. As you work with your existing layouts, you can start to include the assets supplied with the Factory Design Utilities and create your own over time.

Since Factory Design Utilities is bi-directional, you can start using the software you are not comfortable with over time, as well, whether that is AutoCAD or Inventor. The sooner you get started with Factory Design Utilities the faster you can take advantage of the amazing features and time saving benefits of the software.

If you’re interested in learning more about Factory Design Utilities or the Autodesk PDM Collection, contact Graitec Group today and talk to an industry expert.



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