Factory design

Make your next move toward modernized factory design

Combine 2D and 3D CAD into powerful workflows to optimize your factory layout and gain ground in the areas that matter to you most–efficiency, throughput, and quality.

Production manager and manufacturing engineer walking factory floor, looking at factory model outline

Close the loop between digital and physical

Area by area. Discipline by discipline. Data silo by data silo. For decades, that’s the way factories have been designed—the way they’re often still designed today. But from brownfield site to greenfield, the pressure is on: to mass customize, to do more with less, to digitize. And there’s an emerging importance of a modern factory planning approach. Of converging building and production information. And making information readily available.

Read how industry leaders are moving toward modernization to bring out the best from their factories–one step at a time–with Autodesk.

Free your team from factory planning chaos

Keep plans on track

Manage process complexity across stakeholders during a new build or retrofit so you can bring out the best from your factory with an optimized factory design.

Attain quality and efficiency

Simulate production plans and analyze material flow early on to optimize machine availability and line performance and increase manufacturing throughput.

Fast-track insights

Accelerate informed decision-making and improve time to market by making sure cross-disciplinary stakeholders can access and review designs efficiently.

Maximize your resources

Boost efficiency and free-up time for valuable tasks with access to a customizable equipment library and specialized tools purpose-built for factory design.

How industry leaders improve factory planning with Autodesk

Evolve your traditional workflows for an optimized factory

Equipment installation

Simplify handoffs and get to market faster by working around a shared digital model that maintains data integrity and transparency—from factory planners, to architects, to production planners, to contractors, to operators.

Product data management (PDM)

Streamline collaboration and speed up review cycles by communicating factory design ideas with anyone, on any device. Aggregate your models and associated data in a central location, securely accessible by all stakeholders.

Digital twin for factory

Optimize your factory design with a digital twin of your facility. Visualize, simulate, and uncover critical insights that help you forecast operation and utilization and inform future planning of production lines.

Factory simulation

Take your testing process virtual. Simulate possible scenarios in 2D during process development and apply the findings to identify bottlenecks and optimize your factory design.

Factory layouts and planning

Uncover fresh insights within familiar workflows. Conceptualize high-efficiency production line layouts using familiar 2D workflows—automatically converted to detailed 3D models that can inform critical design decisions.

Reality capture

Bring real-world context to your factory design. Plan with richer insights and reduce downstream issues by capturing the as-is state of existing facilities, converting into point clouds, and contextualizing your factory design in 3D.

Software for factory design

Conceptualise, plan and validate manufacturing facilities

2D and 3D CAD tools, with enhanced insights, AI-automations, and collaboration features. Subscription includes AutoCAD on desktop, web, mobile, and seven specialized toolsets.

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

Mechanical design and 3D CAD software

Reality capture and 3D scanning software and services.

Stay ahead of factory planning best practices

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Factory planning webinars

View our extensive library of webinars to learn from industry experts about factory planning tips, tricks, and best practices. 

Cover of book with title "the buyer's guide to CAD for facilities layout"


Selecting the right tools for agility

Agile, flexible factories arrive at optimized processes earlier. Get insights into evaluation criteria for selecting the best CAD software for factory design.

Piece of paper with article title "Factory perspectives: insider views on digital transformation"


Insider views on factory transformation

Read how one engineering pro helped companies digitalize their processes to save time and reduce costs on factory projects.

Confidently take a step toward modernization with Autodesk

Talk to Autodesk Sales about how you can lay groundwork today for long-term and high-impact improvements in your factory.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) on factory design

How do you design a factory layout?

The first step of factory layout design is planning for the equipment needed to produce an item in a particular amount of time. During planning, you will identify optimal throughput and potential bottlenecks. The next step is to gain an accurate representation of your facility using CAD or point cloud data. Last, you would place equipment into your factory layout. This step can be accelerated by using libraries of configurable assets available in Factory Design Utilities.

Who designs factories?

Factory design is done by people in production engineering roles, such as industrial engineers. Architects and contractors should contribute building data, which is useful for giving context to the factory design and avoiding issues during equipment installation. Many downstream stakeholders like facilities managers can benefit from factory designs when they are available as accessible 3D models and integrated with building data.

Who designs factory machines?

Mechanical engineers in industrial equipment manufacturing companies design the machines that go into a factory.

What is factory planning?

Factory planning is the process of deciding what equipment is needed to produce items in a particular amount of time. Factory planning begins at the earliest stages of product planning, along with research, product definition, market strategy, and business case development. However, most of the work of factory planning takes place during process development and should occur concurrently with product and factory design.

Why is factory planning important?

Factory planning is important because companies that plan factory layouts early are better able to satisfy budget constraints by minimizing overtime and cost overruns. By planning early and capturing intellectual property, the impact of factory design can be extended beyond the imminent need and used for future projects.

What are the stages of factory planning?

The stages of factory planning are production planning, factory design, and validation. The results of these stages feed inputs into future projects and lay the groundwork for the entire lifecycle of the factory.

How do you make a factory plan?

Factory planning often begins with a 1D representation of the production line flow, which can be achieved in AutoCAD with Promodel. Calculations include machine utilization, equipment maintenance, and estimated downtime. This simplified view enables the designer to make quick changes and generate what-if scenarios to arrive at an optimal design for an efficient factory layout with healthy output. Later, during factory design, 2D and 3D CAD tools like AutoCAD, Inventor, and Factory Design Utilities are the preferred tools.

What can you understand by factory layout(s)?

Factory layouts help production engineering teams gain insights critical to informing decisions across the factory’s lifecycle. These insights include:

  • The time and distance a product must move from machine to machine
  • Space requirements
  • How many machine operators are needed
  • Throughput of the product
  • Machine utilization
  • Power consumption
  • Installation plans
  • Potential clashes during installation or production

Why is factory design important?

Factory design is important because of the high complexity and cost associated with implementing a factory layout. Unexpected and unplanned changes can have a significant business impact. Early and accurate planning and digital factory design help mitigate these business risks and avoid future problems.

What is the function for factory layout?

The factory layout is the groundwork of a digital factory. It impacts the entire lifecycle of the factory, including planning, building, and operating. After the factory layout is installed and operating, data from physical equipment can be captured and fed into a digital equipment library for better accuracy on future projects. This data can also be used to inform modifications of the existing project.

What are the four types of factory layout?

The four types of factory layout are: process, product, fixed-position, and cellular.

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