Attendees at Autodesk University, the largest conference for Autodesk users in the world, held this year in Las Vegas, had the opportunity to be the first to hear the news about a major partnership of 3D industry movers and shakers: Autodesk is teaming up with 3D Industri.es to make 3D printable content, said Carl Bass, President and CEO of Autodesk, “truly accessible, and traceable, within the 3D printing ecosystem.”
Autodesk has been a leading force in the 3D printing industry for the past 10 years. It is the superstar of 3D design and printing software. Its latest project, Spark, an open 3D printing software platform, will make the dream of a 3D search engine into a reality thanks to 3D Industri.es’ proprietary 3D search technology, which will play a critical role in ordering and organizing 3D content on the Spark platform. With Spark, searchers will have access to 3D printable content web-wide.
According to Seena Rejal, CEO and founder of 3D Industri.es, working together, 3DI and Autodesk will be able to “solve 3D content challenges facing the 3D printing space, including universal access, management and attribution.” This collaborative effort will bring together 3DI’s customers and content partners and users of Autodesk’s new Spark platform. One of the major roles of 3DI is to make possible attribution and tracing of 3D intellectual property, which will maintain the critical transparency such a powerful search tool will need to offer to assure protection for users.
One of the major goals in creating this new 3D searching and tracing technology, where 3D forms and shapes can be tracked down within a massive store of data, is that small manufacturers can be included in the large loop of supply without relying on traditional part-sourcing methods. Using the new 3D search technology, suppliers and buyers of industrial parts and components can quickly and efficiently source what they’re looking for. Scanning and uploading a 3D design using Spark will return a list of suppliers around the world that can provide the component. For the middle men who are the traditional go-to guys and gals in parts sourcing, this is a dream come true as well, eliminating the tedium of catalog quests and negotiations with brokers, which can prove costly for smaller suppliers who wish to compete. This is of tremendous importance when you consider that just around 2% of US manufacturing companies have 500 or more employees; this is the manufacturing of the future.
It’s impossible to overstate the significance of this collaboration and the technological capacity it will open up. Think of the major role that Google played in making text searches possible. With Spark and, moreover, with the collaboration between these two 3D technology giants, Autodesk and 3D Industri.es, another dimension will be added to the already world-wide web. “Automated 3D shape-matching,” explained 3DI’s Rejal, “will create value in the ‘long tail’ of manufacturing and design in the same way that Amazon, eBay and Google transformed the ‘long tail’ of retail.” Stay tuned for more on how these two companies are working together to organize the 3D world. Let us know what you think about this collaboration in the Autodesk and 3D Industri.es forum thread at 3DPB.com.