Philpott's aPriori reaches new milestone


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MechSE faculty member Mike Philpott and his students began work on his advanced CAD-integrated cost analysis algorithms back in 1992. In 2003, he turned a decade’s worth of work into the company aPriori with venture capital support from Bain Capital and Sigma Partners.

The company recently reached a new milestone, as award-winning multinational software company Autodesk announced aPriori as a new add-on for its Fusion 360 3D-modeling software.

“It’s gratifying to see our cost analysis tools exposed to Autodesk’s huge customer base; now over 8 million users worldwide,” Philpott said. “It’s been a long haul but the investors put in place an experienced management team; they have done a fantastic job guiding the company through some tough economic times.”

With Fusion 360, Autodesk has developed an advanced 3D CAD system with impressive generative design functionality capable of optimizing geometrical shape given design requirements such as applied forces, thermal, and/or fluid flow conditions input by the design engineer. By adding aPriori’s firepower, the combined integration allows users to also optimize geometry along with potential manufacturing methods to achieve the most cost-effective solution. 

This is a significant milestone in CAD development, giving design engineers for the first time a design automation tool capable of automatically generating complete design solutions ready for cost-optimized mass production.

“This partnership with Autodesk is very strategic for us,” said Stephanie Feraday, the president and CEO of aPriori Technologies. “We’re expanding our footprint into the concept design phase of product development, integrating the power of Fusion 360’s generative design with aPriori’s manufacturing simulation capabilities.

“We’re also seeing future opportunities to extend the insights provided with each generative design study. We could potentially include not only cost, but also manufacturability guidance, which will make the selection of design direction even more efficient.”

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This story was published June 25, 2019.