April 7th, 2016

One of the most hospitable events of the year, Develop 3D Live, came to pass last week and I was able to finish crossing off the days. At what other event would you get a free lunch and a tea or coffee whenever you pleased? That’s a genuine question, please tell me because I love a free lunch.


Free lunches aside, there was much more to be devoured at Develop 3D Live. This included all of the major CAD providers, 3D printing, hardware, product designers and virtual reality. The day started with two speakers focusing on digital and automated themes – these themes are indicative of creative methods and production processes.

One of these speakers was Phillip Norman of Ross Robotics, a Solid Edge user, who has invented and developed a robot based on 3D modularity. This allows the addition of modules to a platform, and thus the creation of multiple robots from one unit. I think it speaks volumes that Phillip was once an artist by trade and picked Solid Edge as his preferred creative tool.

We watched a talk entitled ‘Creating an exoskeleton arm brace for paralysed mountain bikers’. I was struck by the combination of product design and technology to re-inform the experiences of people with disabilities. From design to production, the person is central. This person-centric emphasis guides the process and creates a feedback loop for design iterations. While the materials technology may not be robust enough for mountain biking, there is at least a path being navigated that will lead to this goal being achieved.


In the afternoon Dan Staples, from Siemens PLM, took the main stage and complained of 90’s CAD technology prohibiting 21st century innovation. A further theme from Siemens was that of fluidity and choice. You can work anytime, anywhere using Microsoft’s Surface Pro and Solid Edge or NX, as well as streaming CAD via the cloud. You can also choose a payment plan that suits you, no enforced subscription over here.


Below is Dan’s personal wish list for cloud usability.


Following Dan was Simon Floyd, from Microsoft, speaking about the increasing interconnectivity of products and how these infiltrate the digital and physical worlds.


This makes me think about the experiential level and ask, does this increase of information benefit us? More is better right. Well, unless we’re data literate an increase of data can confuse. Often we require it breaking down in to manageable chunks, but once managed this data can reveal insights invaluable to businesses and individuals alike.


We attended the show with Siemens PLM, and were also present on Dell and AMD FirePro’s stand. The latter two were using NX and our CAD model to showcase the power of their hardware. Another familiar face was that of Physical Digital, whose GOM ATOS scanner doubles as mood lighting.


There was so much to take in from the sessions, plenty of ideas to dissect and an array of people to speak to. Overall it was an enjoyable day and we’re looking forward to next year, but then again we are biased Develop 3D fans!