The events, which attracted more than 140 registrations, followed a series of similar regional meetings at the end of last year. They provided more opportunities for users of the company’s manufacturing software to see the latest enhancements in the programmes, to hear about the continued development in customer training and support, and to speak face-to-face with Autodesk engineers and other staff.
During the welcome presentation, details were given on the importance of Delcam within the series of acquisitions of manufacturing solutions made by Autodesk over recent years. This broad portfolio now allows Autodesk to help its customers to “Make Anything”, whether in metal, plastics or composites, using either additive or subtractive technology.
It was emphasised that the highly-experienced support team developed by Delcam in Birmingham could still be contacted by phone or email during office hours, with the only change being the introduction of Autodesk email addresses. A new addition is a 24-hour international support portal that can accessed by UK users working shifts so that any issues can be logged for a rapid response from the support teams in other countries.
Customer training in Birmingham has been improved with the creation of a series of new training rooms. All of the course documentation is now available online, making it easier to access and search than the previous printed notes. This approach has made the courses more interactive and allowed more sample exercises to be added to the training programme, that can be completed either after hours during the course or when the user returns to their company.
The main part of the meetings consisted of sessions focused upon details of the latest enhancements in PowerMill, PowerShape and FeatureCAM, together with tips and tricks from the Autodesk engineers to help users to make the most from the programs. These demonstrations included new options for electrode and tooling design in PowerShape and additional features for 5-axis and high-speed machining in the CAM programs.
Special attention was given to the new ribbon-style interface that has been introduced in all the programs. The new interface style benefits both new and experienced users by speeding up and simplifying programming, as well as by making the software more compatible with other Autodesk programs.
A key benefit of all of the programs has always been the options for the user to customise the interface for their preferred workflow, in particular to give faster access to commonly-used commands and to automate repetitive operations. The demonstrations showed how both the ribbon and the quick-access toolbar can be customised with the grouping of buttons and tabs, and then saved as custom configurations for use on other installations.
Each event concluded with a brief introduction to some of the broader portfolio of Autodesk manufacturing products, including Netfabb for additive manufacturing, the Tru products for composites and sheet metal components, and the Moldflow process simulation tools.
The overall response to the events was extremely positive from all the delegates. A typical response was that it was an “excellent day”. The customer added “It was great to talk one-to-one with Autodesk employees, helping us to answer any questions and issues we had. We left happy to continue to support our FeatureCAM product and, equally, to be supported by Autodesk.”