The annual Autodesk Inventor of the year contest is coming to an end. There are 12 fabulous companies that have had their work recommended each month to be selected as ‘Inventor of the Month’, and the best of these are being judged as the best of 2011.

You may recall that last year, Sean Dotson accepted the award for RND Automation and Engineering. I was quite satisfied that they got the award. This year, a whole new group of companies are up for the award. Take a moment if you haven’t voted, and give your support for the one that stands out to you. Even if you are not so interested in the mechanical designs, perhaps their innovation might deserve the award. you decide, and cast your vote today.

Voting ends February 29th – Vote link is at the bottom.

    • Green Structures – December 2011

    imageFor "use of Autodesk Inventor software and a range of other Autodesk Digital Prototyping technology in transforming the way energy systems are planned, designed, constructed, maintained and operated within the built environment… As a member of the Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program — an initiative that provides Autodesk Digital Prototyping software to emerging and established clean tech companies for a small fee — Green Structures has rapidly created award-winning energy efficiency systems, particularly in the areas known as passive heat recovery ventilation and thermal energy storage."


  • imageA-dec – November 2011

  • For "its use of Autodesk software to more effectively design and develop products and generate technical documentation, such as user manuals and service guides, for its popular dentistry products. A-dec’s award-winning dental equipment can be found in the White House, ships at sea, more than 100 countries and 90 percent of dental schools throughout the United States and Canada."

I wonder if my dentist uses their stuff. I’ll ask Monday. I have an appointment.


  • Kelly Racing – October 2011

  • image"For its innovative use of software from Autodesk, Inc. to precisely design and validate new car components that give the team a racing edge — all without hitting the track for physical testing… Engineers then test revised designs with Autodesk Simulation CFD to optimize aerodynamic performance and ensure the components are able to perform at speeds of up to 300 kilometers (188 miles) per hour. Autodesk Simulation Multiphysics software is also used to predict and validate the mechanical performance of the new components."


  • PMB Façade – September 2011

  • image"For some of the world’s most astonishing and eye-catching buildings, including Qatar’s Al-Bidda Tower, a 43-story building, also known as Tornado Tower.For this and other innovative work."… “PMB Facade is using Digital Prototyping technology to successfully compete at the highest global levels,” said Robert “Buzz” Kross, senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry Group at Autodesk. “Tools such as Inventor help them improve collaboration, reduce costs and speed up the fabrication process as they transform great concepts into reality.”


  • Illini Prosthetic Technologies – August 2011

  • image"For the company’s use of Autodesk Inventor 3D mechanical design software in developing a more affordable and more easily fitted prosthetic arm for below-elbow amputees, particularly those living in developing nations… There are an estimated 25 million amputees around the world, 80 percent of them in the developing world. IPT’s prosthetic arm represents an opportunity for them to regain the use of their limbs, return to work and better care for themselves and their families."


  • Pankl Aerospace Systems – July 2011

  • image"For the company’s use of Autodesk software to more effectively manufacture helicopter rotary systems, increasing the performance and reliability of critical components and improving pilot and passenger safety"… “With Autodesk Inventor LT, we’re documenting and visualizing every step of the manufacturing process with more confidence and efficiency than ever before,” said Jonathan Charbonnet, manufacturing engineer at Pankl. “Autodesk Inventor LT enables us to review designs for our customers and proactively identify all the things that may cause problems during manufacturing.”

I can’t help being biassed. Splined shafts, Inventor and Power Transmission usually trumps most contest decisions…. but..


  • Carousel Works – June 2011

  • imageFor "the company’s use of Autodesk 3D mechanical design and visualization software to create custom wooden carousels. Carousel Works brings the highest quality of craftsmanship and attention to detail to its old-world designs… The only company in the world that carves and paints wooden carousels by hand — most companies rely on mass manufactured fiberglass or steel components — Carousel Works is reviving a tradition nearly a century old, and is the first company to design and manufacture wooden carousels since the 1930s. Bringing modern technology into the mix, Carousel Works estimates that Autodesk software helps reduce the time required to complete a carousel by nearly 50 percent."


  • Hawkes Ocean Technologies – May 2011

  • image"For its innovative research vehicles… With their unique ability for underwater flight and unprecedented range, speed and maneuverability, Hawkes DeepFlight submersibles make it easier and more cost effective to explore parts of the ocean that were previously out of reach — offering the potential to significantly expand scientific knowledge of the ocean that covers nearly three-fourths of the Earth’s surface."

Subs are just freaky and cool all in the same thought.


  • Federal Equipment Company – April 2011

  • image"For using Autodesk software to design a new type of elevator system for the U.S. Navy. The advanced system relies on magnets rather than cables to power its elevators, enabling the Navy to more efficiently transport munitions on board new aircraft carriers…. Unlike most elevators, which rely on a cable-based pulley system, FEC elevators for the Navy’s new system use what is known as linear synchronous motor technology — the same magnet-based technology that powers many high-speed trains. The elevator can move 150 feet per minute and accelerate to full speed in two seconds, which is a significant performance improvement over the Navy’s legacy elevator systems."


  • Weatherhaven – March 2011

  • imageFor "using Autodesk Inventor software to more effectively create portable shelters designed for use in the most rugged and remote locations around the world… Weatherhaven shelters have supported activities ranging from earthquake relief efforts in Haiti to scientific expeditions in Antarctica and peacekeeping missions in the Sahara Desert. Inventor software helps to reduce the time required to create and deploy the shelters."


  • Nitto Sangyo – February 2011

  • imageFor "using Autodesk Inventor software, the company develops rideable toys that are safer and more durable than standard commercial playground equipment… Since it relies on a solid inner structure rather than a metal spring, the riding portion of the Link Mini never falls to the ground, even if fatigue occurs — making the toy safer for children to use than spring-based rides. Since only a few parts need to be replaced when fatigue occurs — rather than the entire product — the Link Mini is also superior not just for safety, but also in terms of cost and ease of maintenance."

I’m a big fan of failure containment and maintenance assurance.


  • Valiant Corporation – January 2011

  • imageFor "innovative use of Autodesk Digital Prototyping software in designing the largest and most challenging manufacturing equipment for customers in sectors ranging from automotive to aerospace… On a recent project for The Boeing Company, Valiant used Autodesk Inventor software and Autodesk Algor Simulation software to more efficiently design and engineer a portable cargo loader. The complex design called for eight telescopic hydraulic cylinders, each capable of lifting 90,000 pounds. With help from Inventor, Valiant was able to design and package telescopic cylinders in three sections instead of the usual four, increasing load capacity while reducing cost. Additionally, the advanced finite element analysis (FEA) functionality in Algor Simulation helped enable Valiant to minimize the weight of the design while meeting customer performance requirements."

Using Inventor and Simulation (Formerly Algor), I do like that A LOT.


Links and Vote

All the information above was taken, from the links shown below, and in some cased quoted verbatim.

For whatever reason, I have had trouble finding the right links online for the voting, as well as the information. Here’s the collection of links I used for this article, I hope it helps speed things up for you.

BusinessWire press release for Green Structures

BusinessWire press release on the 2011 lineup

Don’t lose this next one. It took forever to figure this out.

Best link I could find to get you to the 2011 list on Autodesk Manufacturing Community.

Contest Link – Pick here to cast your vote