Design & Engineering

Find elegant solutions to your most interesting problems

As supply chains shift, customer demands evolve, and competitive pressures introduce exciting new challenges—you see nothing but opportunity. 

You believe that good design and good engineering can solve any problem. So do we.

The race to bring successful products to market is ripe with challenges—and opportunities. Because where others see roadblocks, you see complex, delightful, impossible problems. Little mysteries to solve. Puzzles to unlock. New paths to efficiency.  

Explore new possibilities in your development process with Autodesk design and manufacturing software. 

Where designers and engineers see opportunity

How vision becomes reality

Improve your margin and expand market share

Sell more, spend less. It sounds simple, but modern product development organisations understand that driving real growth is much more complex. You must find new ways to delight your customers by delivering your best ideas with speed, impact and manufacturability in mind.

Find the balance between agility and performance

To stay competitive, designers and engineers often look for ways to become more agile – to do more with less. Modern automation, data management and collaboration approaches can help you improve product performance with less time and fewer materials, for a formidable competitive advantage.

Foster innovation, amplify productivity

Smart product development organisations understand that true innovation is fueled by customer needs and the ability to leverage insights to inform a better user experience. A digital platform that unlocks access to your data has become critical to staying ahead of the competition.

Solutions for product design and engineering

Product lifecycle management (PLM)

Keep everyone on the same page with a single source of data. Multi-CAD integrations help teams improve collaboration, accelerate development agility and time to market, and provide transparency into your supply chain.


Machine design

Remove collaboration barriers between design and manufacturing. Connected tools for machine design help teams increase agility, reduce unnecessary environmental impact and expand product offerings in exciting new ways.


Product design

Deliver breakthrough innovation with agile product development. Integrated solutions help design and engineering teams imagine, prototype, improve and market-test new products more quickly than ever before.


Stay ahead of product design and engineering trends


Fueling innovation with AI

Learn how advanced technologies and a collaborative approach transform how work gets done in this report from Harvard Business Review.



State of Design & Make 2024

Explore why design and manufacturing leaders are optimistic about the global landscape and where they're prioritizing investments for digital transformation.

Data & insights

Cloud connectivity in manufacturing

New forms of automation and the power of the cloud to connect people and machines everywhere, all the time, is delivering a tectonic shift in manufacturing. Watch the roundtable to find out how.


Resources for designers & engineers

Explore success stories, industry trends, case studies, and product training for AutoCAD, Inventor, Fusion, and Vault from the product design and engineering community at Autodesk University Online.

Software for design and engineering

Get Inventor + AutoCAD + Fusion 360 + more – Professional-grade tools for product development and manufacturing planning.

Professional-grade product design and engineering tools for 3D mechanical design, simulation, visualisation and documentation.

Cloud-based 3D CAD / CAM / CAE / PCB software for product design.

Cloud PLM and PDM that connects your data, people and processes.

Product data management software — available as Vault Basic, Vault Professional, Vault Office

Partnerships for a robust design and engineering ecosystem

Autodesk partners with industry leaders to develop deeper software integrations, helping our customers differentiate with data, expand on capabilities and automate time-consuming processes.

Sustainability software


Makersite for Fusion 360 aids design engineers in balancing risk from cost, carbon and material selection to make more sustainable design choices earlier. Makersite aids in evaluating designs analysing multiple criteria in real-time including compliance, risk, health, safety and sustainability. Understand and reduce the design’s sustainable impact with real-time feedback to increase product quality while reducing time to market.


Manufacturing software


The Xometry Instant Quote App gives design engineers price and lead time estimates including multiple-manufacturing method, directly inside Fusion 360. Design-for-manufacturability feedback reveals the impact of design changes on cost in real time, helping to reduce part cost and time to market. Completed designs can be ordered and manufactured on-demand directly from the Xometry Supplier Network.


Design software


Autodesk and Ansys bring integrated electromagnetic analysis to design and engineering teams with the Autodesk Fusion 360 Signal Integrity Extension. PCB designers can test fewer prototypes for signal degradation, with increased confidence that the product will work as required. Our strategic alliance delivers integrated PCB and enclosure design to improve product quality while reducing design cycle time.


Begin the transformation of your design and engineering process

Autodesk design and manufacturing solutions adapt to your needs with a wide range of capabilities that provide cross-discipline, cross-industry, interoperable workflows that support your processes. When you're ready, talk to Autodesk sales about how you can solve your most interesting problems.

Design and engineering FAQs

What is design engineering?

Design engineering is a collaborative and creative problem-solving process that transforms concept designs into tangible products. This requires specialised knowledge and experience to ensure that the final product meets customer expectations, serves its intended purpose and can be manufactured profitably.

Examples of design engineering include building and civil infrastructure construction, industrial equipment design and consumer product design (US site) and material manufacturing and processing. Jobs in design engineering could include industrial designer, mechanical, electrical or electronic engineer, simulation specialist, CAD designer and CAD drafter.

What does a design engineer do?

A design engineer uses mathematical principles, engineering physics, industry knowledge and specialist software to address problems and develop an idea from its conceptual stage to a detailed design. The detailed design must meet requirements and be delivered profitably and is communicated to stakeholders such as manufacturing and procurement via a computer-aided design (CAD) model, technical drawings, a "bill of materials" (BOM) and a specification. The engineering design development process is collaborative and can include multiple disciplines, including industrial design, mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering and also includes feedback from customers, suppliers, manufacturing and project management.

What is the design and engineering process?

Design engineering is crucial for successful product development businesses. The objective of design development is to imagine and agree on a product solution that benefits both customers and the business. Design development is constrained by budget, engineering capacity and time to market. The design engineering process is iterative and cyclical, with ideas undergoing multiple rounds of prototyping, testing, evaluation and review until the final design is considered optimal and reliable enough for production. The design engineering process starts by defining the problem, then brainstorming potential solutions before creating prototypes, testing them, gathering feedback and evaluating whether the problem statement can be further refined and whether to reject or accept the proposed solutions, or whether the solutions can be improved with another development cycle.

What is design and engineering software?

Design and engineering software applications support product development by automating tasks and managing data. Examples of software for engineering design include product data management (PDM) (US site), product lifecycle management, computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) (US site).

The purpose of CAD software is to create a virtual 3D model of a product or machine design, along with its associated data such as technical drawings and bill of materials (BOM). Design engineers use a CAD model as the basis for computer-aided engineering (CAE), which is used to assess if the proposed solution will meet its intended purpose. CAE simulation software for engineering design includes finite element analysis (FEA) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). CAD software is used to design almost everything you see around you, from roads and bridges, to buildings, to cars and aeroplanes, to your clothes, to the products you use every day, including the processing of your food and water and the generation of power.

How does design and engineering software benefit businesses and professionals?

Businesses that manufacture industrial and consumer goods feel the pressure of providing innovative solutions to meet customer demands and releasing them to market before their competition can. The key to successful product development lies in design engineering, which ensures that the products not only meet customer needs but also generate profit for the business. The decisions made during product development can affect the quality, components, materials, manufacturing processes and usability of the product over its lifecycle. Design engineering software like computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) benefit businesses and professionals by automating design processes and managing data insights, enabling designers and engineers to make timely and effective decisions that increase the success of the product, aid operational efficiency and improve time to market.

What are the key features and functionalities

Design and engineering software aids product development teams by automating processes and managing data insights to reduce overall design development time while maintaining the quality of the process. Key features and functionality of CAD software for design engineering include:

  • 3D modelling of parts and assemblies to conceptualise the physical dimensions and spatial relationships of the design.
  • Specialist feature sets with associated CAD libraries to automate mechanical and electrical design (US site) elements such as shafts and gears, bolted connexions, sheet metal, welds, structures, piping runs and electrical wire harnesses.
  • Functionality to create 2D technical drawings or 3D model-based annotations to communicate accurate information for manufacturing, including materials, finishes, manufacturing techniques, dimensions and tolerances.
  • Presentation and rendering tools to create photorealistic images and animations of the design to communicate assembly instructions or for sales and marketing materials.
  • Simulation features to calculate stress, vibration or fluid flow, or generative design tools to automate the design of components based on loading conditions.
  • Bill of material (BOM) management functionality to automatically create a list of components to be procured or manufactured and to aid in the bulk ordering of raw materials.
  • Software features to automate downstream manufacturing tasks such as nesting of components onto stock materials (US site) or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), including 3D printing (Additive manufacturing) and computer numerical control machining (CNC) (Subtractive manufacturing).
  • CAD data and process management functionality to aid concurrent engineering, track tasks, audit information from design reviews, and manage engineering change orders.

What CAD software does Autodesk provide for design engineering?

Autodesk empowers innovators with design and make technology for product design and engineering, equipping customers to work fluidly across boundaries of project, discipline and industry. Autodesk software for design and engineering includes the Product Design & Manufacturing Collection which contains:

  • Autodesk Inventor Professional-grade product design and engineering tools for 3D mechanical design, simulation, visualisation and documentation.
    • Inventor Nastran CAD-embedded software for non-linear stress, thermal, vibration and fatigue simulation.
    • Inventor Tolerance Analysis Tolerance stackup analysis software for evaluating the impact of dimensional variation.
    • Inventor Nesting True shape nesting software for Inventor to optimise yield from raw material.
    • Inventor CAM Integrated 2.5- to 5-axis CAD/CAM programming solution for Inventor.
  • Vault Product data management software to manage design files.
  • AutoCAD 2D and 3D CAD software with industry-specific toolsets.
  • Factory Design Utilities Factory design software to plan, design and install an efficient production layout.
  • Navisworks Manage Large-scale design review software with clash detection and scheduling.
  • ReCap Pro Reality capture and 3D scanning software and services.
  • 3Ds Max 3D rendering and animation software for design visualisation.
  • Fusion 360 Cloud-based CAD/CAM/CAE software for product design and manufacturing.
  • Fusion 360 Manage with Upchain Cloud PLM and PDM that easily connects your data, people and processes.
  • Design Review Design Review CAD viewer software lets you view, mark up, print and track changes to 2D and 3D files for free – without the original design software.

How can I learn what my peers are achieving with Autodesk design and engineering software?

At Autodesk University (AU), customers share how they solve problems in their design and engineering businesses with the help of Autodesk Design & Manufacturing software.


Click here for a curated list of design and engineering resources from AU. (US site)


AU is an annual conference and online learning platform that brings design and engineering professionals together. 


AU offers a range of learning opportunities, including high-level thought leadership presentations, case studies, and hands-on learning for design & engineering tools such as AutoCAD, Inventor, Fusion, & Vault.  


How does design and engineering software integrate with other systems like CAD or PLM?

Software applications in design and engineering aid in product development by automating tasks and data management. The data generated in design engineering plays a crucial role in subsequent activities during the product lifecycle, such as procurement, manufacturing, commissioning and support. It is important that the data created by design and engineering software applications is seamlessly integrated with other business systems.

Design and engineering software applications like computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) integrate with product data management (PDM) software to manage and control access to the files, ensuring that the right people have the right data at the right time. PDM software works alongside product lifecycle management (PLM) software to manage design and engineering processes such as new product introduction (NPI), bill of materials management (BOM), and quality control. CAD software also integrates with computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software, which uses 2D and 3D CAD data to create computer numerical control (CNC) tool paths or slicing patterns for 3D printing. The integration of CAD and CAM with manufacturing execution systems (MES) allows for efficient monitoring, tracking and control of the manufacturing processes. To propagate product design data where it is needed throughout the business, design and engineering software applications integrate with business systems such as materials requirements planning (MRP) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) software applications.

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