Best Product and Machine Design Software

Product and machine design is a subcategory of computer-aided design (CAD) software specifically targeted towards designers and engineers across a number of disciplines, including manufacturing, product design, automotive, and aerospace. These tools allow users to generate precision 3D models of parts, components, and assemblies to aid in engineering, manufacturing, and design processes. While some of the products in this category may be used for a broader range of CAD purposes, their rankings within this grid focus exclusively on their use as a product and machine design tool.

For more information about general purpose CAD products, which include a broad range of 2D and 3D drafting and modeling tools, see our General Purpose CAD software category. For additional information about building design and building information modeling (BIM) products, see our Building Design and BIM category.

Product and Machine Design Software Grid® Overview

The best Product and Machine Design Software products are determined by customer satisfaction (based on user reviews) and market presence (based on products’ scale, focus, and influence) and placed into four categories on the Grid®:
  • Products in the Leader quadrant are rated highly by G2 Crowd users and have substantial Market Presence scores. Leaders include: Solid Edge, CATIA, SOLIDWORKS, Inventor, AutoCAD Mechanical, Fusion 360, and Onshape
  • High Performers are highly rated by their users, but have not yet achieved the Market Presence of the Leaders. High Performers include: Rhinoceros, solidThinking Inspire, and KeyCreator
  • Contenders have significant Market Presence and resources, but have received below average user Satisfaction ratings or have not yet received a sufficient number of reviews to validate the solution. Contenders include: Design to Siemens NX, Alias Design, Creo Parametric, and Ansys
  • Niche solutions do not have the Market Presence of the Leaders. They may have been rated positively on customer Satisfaction, but have not yet received enough reviews to validate them. Niche products include: Inventor LT and SIMULIA
G2 Crowd Grid® for Product and Machine Design
Leaders
High Performers
Contenders
Niche
Market Presence
Satisfaction
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    Product and Machine Design reviews by real, verified users. Find unbiased ratings on user satisfaction, features, and price based on the most reviews available anywhere.

    SOLIDWORKS offers complete 3D software tools that let you create, simulate, publish, and manage your data. SOLIDWORKS products are easy to learn and use, and help you design products better.


    Onshape is a modern CAD system that eliminates design gridlock: the constant waiting, distractions, and hassles that prevent engineers from doing their best work. Onshape unites advanced modeling tools and design data management in a secure cloud workspace that is accessible on any device and never loses data. With no files to lose or corrupt, no license keys to manage, and no installed desktop software, Onshape helps engineering teams get out of the IT business so they can get back in the innovation business. Professional engineers at thousands of companies rely on Onshape to modernize and streamline their engineering process. Onshape users in 170+ countries have logged over 3 million hours modeling advanced robotics, biomedical devices, industrial machinery, and myriad other products. With 1 of 8 sessions occurring on mobile devices, Onshape is the world’s first anywhere, anytime CAD system. Founded in 2012, Onshape has raised $169 million from Andreessen Horowitz, NEA, North Bridge, and other leading investors. The Onshape leadership team includes the original creators of SOLIDWORKS® and other proven leaders in cloud infrastructure, data security, and mobile.


    Autodesk® Inventor® software provides engineers and designers professional grade design and engineering solution for 3D mechanical design, simulation, visualization, and documentation. With Inventor software, engineers can integrate 2D and 3D data into a single design environment, creating a virtual representation of the final product that enables them to validate the form, fit, and function of the product before it is ever built. Autodesk Inventor includes powerful parametric, direct edit and freeform modeling tools as well as multi-CAD translation capabilities and industry standard DWG™ drawings. Helping you to reduce development costs, get to market faster, and make great products.


    Fusion 360™ is a 3D CAD/CAM tool for product development.


    Complete hybrid 2D/3D CAD system that uses synchronous technology for accelerated design, faster change, and improved imported reuse.


    AutoCAD® Mechanical design software is AutoCAD software built for manufacturing. Part of the Digital Prototyping solution, it includes all the functionality of AutoCAD, plus libraries of standards-based parts and tools to help automate common mechanical CAD tasks and accelerate the mechanical design process.




    KeyCreator is 3D CAD software that supports design with solids, 2D, wireframe, and surfacing, and building of assemblies all in the same 3D workspace. Developed closely with manufacturers and engineers, KeyCreator combines the flexibility of direct modeling with a broad range of translators, making it ideal for projects where quick, unplanned design variations and productive re-use of design data from anywhere are critical. KeyCreator is powered by core technologies that can recognize, or even infer, the geometry’s attributes to facilitate interoperability in what might otherwise be unusable data. This strategy allows geometry, no matter where it originated, to be used throughout the manufacturing supply chain to speed time to market, reduce costs and improve quality.



    Alias® industrial design software powers your creative process with a range of sketching, modeling, surfacing, and visualization tools.


    Creo 4.0: Design Smarter The future of product design from the leading innovator in 3D CAD. Now you can design smart, connected products and capitalize on new technologies such as additive manufacturing and augmented reality. Think differently. Be more productive. Design smarter. What's New in Creo 4.0? The world of product design is changing with the introduction of exciting, new technologies. To help you grab opportunities, Creo 4.0 includes breakthrough capabilities in Additive Manufacturing, IoT, Model-Based Definition (MBD) and Augmented Reality (AR). Now you can design faster and smarter because your digital designs are connected to physical products. It's a winning combination: Creo 4.0's new tools along with extensive core enhancements to support day-to-day productivity. Create, design, and innovate with Creo 4.0.


    Design to Siemens NX is an integrated product design solution that streamlines and accelerates the product development process for engineers who need to deliver innovative products in a collaborative environment.


    solidThinking Inspire enables design engineers, product designers, and architects to create and investigate structurally efficient concepts quickly and easily. Traditional structural simulations allow engineers to check if a design will support the required loads. Inspire enhances this process by generating a new material layout within a package space using the loads as an input. The software is easy to learn and works with existing CAD tools to help design structural parts right the first time, reducing costs, development time, material consumption, and product weight.


    FEA. SRAC Cosmos acquired years ago by SolidWorks.


    Inventor LT™ software introduces 3D mechanical CAD into your 2D workflows.


    FreeCAD is a parametric 3D modeler made primarily to design real-life objects of any size.


    PTC Creo Direct is a stand-alone app that enables casual CAD users to create new geometry or modify any existing 3D CAD design, regardless of file format. Direct interaction with the geometry makes it easy for anyone to learn and use. That’s why it’s the ideal tool for people in concept design, analysis, and manufacturing ― or for anyone who’s new to 3D CAD or uses it infrequently. Working with Creo Direct is quick, flexible and intuitive. It is well suited for tasks such as generating proposals, defining the initial design for tooling fixtures or capturing design input from customers in the field. By furthuring collaboration with your extended team, the software encourages innovation and enables your company to respond better to changing customer needs.


    Creo Elements/Direct Drafting (formerly CoCreate Drafting) is a comprehensive 2D CAD system with powerful assembly management and 2D parametric capabilities that allow you to adapt existing drawings and create families of parts or drawings more easily.


    Creo Elements/Direct Modeling (formerly CoCreate Modeling) provides robust, comprehensive direct modeling capabilities.


    Design better, faster IronCAD is an intuitive 3D and 2D design solution that empowers engineers, increases productivity, and facilitates collaboration throughout the enterprise. IRONCAD 3D modeling software empowers designers to focus on design by giving them an intuitive platform that mirrors how we interact with the physical world. Easily reposition components with the patented TriBall™ visualization tool, resize objects by stretching them with handles, and drag and drop predefined shapes into the design scene for a better, faster design process. 3D models made in IRONCAD only require one file, no matter how complex. Assembly part data is integrated into a file’s unified design environment, rather than linking to external files. Feature, part, and assembly data can be stored in catalogs which can be pre-built to include frequently used parts and assemblies, freeing designers to be more productive and allowing them to extend the use of 3D data throughout the enterprise.


    OpenSCAD is a software for creating solid 3D CAD objects.


    3D design, engineering, and entertainment software and services.


    IRONCAD DRAFT (a component of the Design Collaboration Suite) is an extremely powerful 2D mechanical drafting tool with an easy to learn, industry standard user interface and a unique 3D integration capability, enabling users work in 2D but also to view, leverage, analyze, render and reference 3D model data created by suppliers customers and colleagues.


    SOLIDWORKS Simulation is an easy-to-use portfolio of structural analysis tools that use the Finite Element Analysis (FEA) method to predict a product's real-world physical behavior by virtually testing CAD models. The portfolio provides linear, non-linear static and dynamic analysis capabilities.


    ANSYS BladeModeler software is a specialized, easy-to-use tool for the rapid 3D design of rotating machinery components. ANSYS BladeModeler is used to design axial, mixed-flow and radial blade components in applications such as pumps, compressors, fans, blowers, turbines, expanders, turbochargers, inducers and more


    The Model Fuel Library is based on both the outcome of the industry-driven Model Fuels Consortium (2006-2012) project and the ongoing Model Fuel Library Subscription Service that maintains the library to keep it up to date with the state of current combustion science


    ANSYS Vista TF is integrated into the ANSYS Workbench platform for powerful and quick turbomachinery design and analysis. As a 2-D throughflow solver, it fills the space between 1-D correlations and 3-D CFD, providing rapid initial analysis of rotating machinery before proceeding to more rigorous and detailed 3-D fluid flow simulations. Performing initial design iterations using the ANSYS Vista TF 2-D throughflow solver can reduce the total time devoted to product design and development, maximizing the efficiency of engineering simulation.


    The DELMIA Milling Machinist platform provides a realistic virtual workplace to create, optimize, and validate milling programs. It also provides a full feature set for workpiece setup, cutter tool assembly, and toolpath simulation that includes material removal and NC code generation


    The DELMIA Prismatic Machinist platform provides a realistic virtual workplace to create, enhance, and validate milling programs. It also provides a full feature set for workpiece setup, cutter tool assembly, and toolpath simulation that includes material removal and NC code generation


    Complex multi-tasking mill-turn machines with synchronization and part transfer capabilities can be programmed in a realistic virtual workspace to develop, validate, and optimize NC programs


    Intergraph Smart Production Powered by NESTIX features a unique bottom-up approach to control the complete production process within yards and fabricators, based on Industry 4.0 concepts. With more than 400 customers, it’s a proven solution that contains all functionality for the work preparation, part nesting, and Numerical Control (NC) generation, with load balancing for material and resources in a single integrated solution


    Otherplan is a solution that guides you through the process of milling products from beginning to end with features like one button calibration and pre-loaded tool and material settings to help you get started.


    Simcenter lets you predict performance of your 3D geometry based designs. In our Simcenter 3D CAE products, you can import geometry from any CAD source and prepare analysis models in a unified environment for a wide range of CAE methods including finite element, boundary element, computational fluid dynamics, and multi-body dynamics


    SIMULIA Stress Engineer uses sophisticated simulation technology to automatically present options that are meaningful and intuitive for fast product integration in engineering. Adaptive refinement ensures high-quality results for each simulation.


    Design and maintain a safe, reliable power distribution system from load identification to plant startup. Fast-track project execution for engineering companies and lower operational risk for plant owners are keys to business success, and Hexagon PPM can help you achieve these goals. SmartPlant Electrical is a task-specific, rule-driven, and data-centric solution that helps you gain a competitive edge in the industry


    SmartPlant Isometrics is a versatile 2D design product that plays an important role in the production and transfer of piping data along the Digital Isometric Value Chain


    SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD solutions provide easy-to-learn, yet extremely powerful functionality that shortens product development time, reduces costs, and improves quality.


    SOLIDWORKS CAM is an add-on to all versions of SOLIDWORKS CAD that lets you prepare your designs for manufacturability earlier in the development cycle. Manufacturing tasks that had to wait until a design was complete can now be performed concurrently with the design process


    SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematics has an intuitive and easy-to-use interface that automates complex tasks, such as contact cross-referencing and terminal drawings. It accelerates product development by simultaneously minimizing the repetitive tasks associated with developing electrical schematics


    SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer augments existing SOLIDWORKS design tools for creating freeform organic shapes typical of industrial design. It delivers a truly collaborative design environment connecting your whole ecosystem management, design team, customers and suppliers to a single, cloud-based, business and product development platform that is accessible at anytime, anywhere, on any device


    SOLIDWORKS Plastics delivers easy-to-use simulation for analyzing plastic parts and injection molds. It simulates how melted plastic flows during the injection molding process to predict manufacturing-related defects so you can quickly evaluate part manufacturability while you design


    Innovate, collaborate, and create great designs any time, from any device with SOLIDWORKS xDesign. Capture and realize your ideas or let xDesign offer solutions for your design challenges


    Visual Vessel Design is currently used by multiple refiners, oil companies, EPCs, and independent consultants for both onshore and offshore applications


    ZWCAD Mechanical supports ISO, ANSI, DIN, JIS, and GB drafting environments, enabling designers to maintain a common form of communication.


    Kate from G2 Crowd

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