Every year Autodesk hold an Automotive Launch Tour to share new advances in their design software for the following year. The 2018 tour focused on the latest developments in fast concept modelling, surface modelling, 3D visualisation and digital asset management. With nine legs of their journey, the Autodesk team were well travelled and their presentations practised by the time they reached the UK. The Majenta Solutions’ customers kept them on their toes with questions and challenges that they are facing in their design studios.

Tim Norman, Director of Autodesk and Simon Ordish, Director of Majenta Solutions.

The opportunity arose to interview Tim Norman, Director at Autodesk for Automotive, Aerospace, Defence and Transportation in Europe, Middle East & Africa. We discussed his views and sought advice on the current challenges facing Automotive companies.

What are the challenges that your customers are currently facing?

There are five well-documented challenges that the industry is facing now including new business models, the move to autonomous driving, connectivity, electrification, and the move to new manufacturing technologies with a focus on lightweighting. The challenge for Autodesk is how we can assist our customers in these areas with design process optimisation, digital marketing, and how we support lightweighting and Additive Manufacturing.

Along with the need for customers to ever increase their brand identity when they are going to common electrification and technologies in connectivity, the design becomes ever more critical. The challenge of design differentiation is where Autodesk can assist.

How do these challenges differ across the Automotive industry?

We primarily work with OEMs in the studio, within the marketing space and in the factory. Obviously, the tier 1 suppliers have different challenges; particularly around manufacturing technologies, globalisation, the support of new powertrains and new technologies and materials. Our Automotive Launch Tour is primarily working with the studios and design houses to the OEMs and is geared up to tackle their challenges.

What advancing technologies excite you?

Two technologies that excite me are; Additive Manufacturing, and how that’s going to move from prototypes in very small batch sizes into true production over the next decade, Autodesk has some exciting products to support this. Secondly, moving the studio from more of an ‘art form’ into an integrated part of the business process. The newer areas that we’re moving into also excite me, such as Shotgun for the control of digital assets and how we can integrate more effectively with the overall processes of the customer.

How can Automotive companies stand out from competitors?

The challenge here is that the five areas which are currently driving the industry; business models, autonomous, connectivity, electrification and new manufacturing technologies are potentially making all products look the same. Cars will all have electrified powertrains, have a high level of connectivity, and they’ll all be autonomous. To differentiate, quality of manufacture and design are vital. Regardless of whether it’s a car that you drive or a car that you’re transported by, they must still have their brand identity and DNA. I think putting ever more differentiation on design creativity is imperative, which is precisely where we can help our customers.

Do Automotive companies need to react quickly to stay ahead?

I think they probably have more time than the market might suggest, the move to autonomous driving will be much slower than people think due to legislation. Similarly, with electrical powertrains, the infrastructure to support them is not developed. All the car companies are coming out with high levels of hybrid and all-electric solutions, but I think these are probably ahead of the current market uptake. So, I think there is time and no significant rush it’s just important that they get the right products to market at the right time.

How do you think Majenta Solutions stands out from other Autodesk resellers?

Within my specialisms of Automotive and Transportation, Majenta Solutions have a high level of focus in the area and decades of experience. They support some of our most significant customers in the UK, assisting customers with Autodesk products while adding value through additional services and their advanced solutions. They are a complete provider of software and support to our industry, serving large OEMs and smaller companies alike.

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