Autodesk Takes Top Spot in ABI Research’s Generative Design Competitive Assessment

Siemens, Dassault Systèmes, and PTC also named leaders
20 Feb 2019

Ranked as the top generative design vendor, Autodesk scored highest in the overall category of Implementation and topped six of the twelve ranking criteria, announced ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies. The Generative Design Vendor Ranking competitive assessment ranked 9 major vendors of the technology: ANSYS, Altair, Autodesk, Dassault Systèmes, GRM Consulting, ParaMatters, PTC, nTopology, and Siemens, based on ABI Research's proven unbiased innovation/implementation criteria framework.

To qualify as a generative design software vendor, a company had to have software on the market that creates component and/or product designs according to users’ objectives or constraints in an iterative process. Autodesk owns most of the mindshare in generative design, and it has promoted the technology at several major conferences such as IMTS, Formnext and its own Accelerate conference. Autodesk first started exploring generative design in its labs in 2015 with Project Dreamcatcher, a skunkworks-esque project. It went on to integrate the tools within its Fusion 360 product, a cloud-based Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), and Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) tool.

The Generative Design Vendor Ranking competitive assessment ranked 9 major vendors of the technology: ANSYS, Altair, Autodesk, Dassault Systèmes, GRM Consulting, ParaMatters, PTC, nTopology, and Siemens, based on ABI Research's proven unbiased innovation/implementation criteria framework. Each vendor was analyzed according to its innovation, out-of-the-box thinking, and plans to deploy and support different aspects of generative design such as design objectives & constraints, feedback loops, iteration/variation management, material science, process adaptability, and product design applications. In terms of implementation, ABI Research assessed the vendors on current costs & business models, educational initiatives & value-add services, regional coverage, toolchain integration, number of users/seat holders, and the variety of use cases. Vendors were then ranked as a Leader, Follower or Laggards.

“Autodesk emerged as the leader with innovative capabilities and an integration of generative design tools within its Fusion 360 product, and Siemens came up second, setting itself apart with the generative design tools for electrical systems development in its Capital software suite. Siemens has also built generative design tools into its HEEDS, Mentor Graphics, NX, NX Nastran, and Simcenter 3D products,” said Pierce Owen, Principal Analyst of the Industrial Solution at ABI Research. “Meanwhile, PTC topped out the innovation scores thanks to the capabilities of Frustum, a recent acquisition. It lags slightly in implementation because it will likely take over a year to fully integrate Frustum into Creo, PTC’s CAD software. Dassault Systèmes finished ahead of PTC because CATIA’s Function-Driven Generative Design already solves mechanical engineering optimization problems in a single environment, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.”

Outside of the Leaders, ParaMatters finished with the highest innovation score, if not the highest overall score of the Followers. In November 2018, ParaMatters officially launched CogniCAD, its generative design software based on one-of-a-kind meso-structural topology design for smarter material distribution. Currently, ParaMatters specifically targets only Additive Manufacturing (AM), but for AM applications, it produces the best-engineered designs at a resolution more than ten times higher than any other vendor.

Somewhat surprisingly, Atair ranked a distant fifth overall, despite a reputation for competing with the Leaders in generative design software. “Whereas the Leaders of this analysis can use generative design to create manufacturable components, Altair’s solidThink Inspire lives up to its name in the most disappointing way possible. It only inspires good designs rather than producing them itself. The best generative design tools help engineers get to higher-performing manufacturable components and assemblies of components faster. Siemens has already started to expand that to electrical systems, networks, and harnesses within products. As time goes on, generative design tools will incorporate more AI and gain more autonomy throughout the design process,” concluded Owen.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Generative Design Vendors Competitive Assessment report. This report is part of the company’s Industrial Solution which will help manufacturers digitize operations to create better quality products at lower costs. Competitive Assessment reports offer a comprehensive analysis of implementation strategies and innovation, coupled with market share analysis, to offer unparalleled insight into a company’s performance and standing in comparison to its competitors.

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ABI Research provides strategic guidance for visionaries needing market foresight on the most compelling transformative technologies, which reshape workforces, identify holes in a market, create new business models and drive new revenue streams. ABI’s own research visionaries take stances early on those technologies, publishing groundbreaking studies often years ahead of other technology advisory firms. ABI analysts deliver their conclusions and recommendations in easily and quickly absorbed formats to ensure proper context. Our analysts strategically guide visionaries to take action now and inspire their business to realize a bigger picture. For more information about ABI Research’s forecasting, consulting and teardown services, visionaries can contact us at +1.516.624.2500 in the Americas, +44.203.326.0140 in Europe, +65.6592.0290 in Asia-Pacific or visit


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