Enabling Shop Floor Digitalization With Cloud Product Development Tools

Emily Suzuki Emily Suzuki October 11, 2022

3 min read

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian) Deutsch (German)

Learn how cloud product development tools like Autodesk Fusion 360 are leading the way in making shop floor digitalization possible.


With physical manufacturing, many tasks, tools, and operators still function in isolation and manually enter their relevant data into siloed storage systems. As such, the term “shop floor digitization” has become synonymous with the modern manufacturing ecosystem and the march toward Industry 4.0.

Shop floor digitalization refers to connecting data across team members, machines, and other processes to improve efficiency and provide real-time data to drive decision-making. Seems logical, right?

The benefits are clear for all parties involved. Outcomes of automating data collection and entry and aggregating all information into a central cloud system include:

Autodesk Fusion 360 is an excellent example of a cloud product development tool that enables shop floor digitization through connected data. Let’s explore three ways Fusion 360 makes data more accessible across teams.

1. Seamlessly collaborate across teams

Collaboration is an obvious place to start when discussing cloud product development tools. At the most basic level, cross-team collaboration is greatly enhanced when everyone uses the same software and data is centralized. With Fusion 360, two or more team members can simultaneously look at a design and work on it together in person or virtually in real-time. Teams can compare different ideas and design versions without manual information transfer.

This same level of cooperation can be extended outside the core development team. Teams can invite contractors to view design data, provide feedback, or even contribute. Contractors may include third-party engineers, manufacturing partners, or supply chain vendors. 

Similarly, teams can bring the end-user or customer on board to view project progress without having any background in CAD/CAM tools. By leveraging the combination of cloud software and cloud data storage, all stakeholders can participate in the design and manufacturing processes.

2. Unlock stronger data integrity

In software development, best coding practices for traceability, maintainability, and preservation are the norm throughout the industry. Unfortunately, this is not the case for other disciplines, such as electronics engineering and mechanical design.

Autodesk Fusion 360 provides the first mechanical design and electronics CAD tools that offer versioning and automatic cloud data storage. By ensuring that designs are continuously preserved remotely and providing a seamless transition between electrical and mechanical CAD, these tools free the designer from focusing on solving problems rather than wrestling with data file management. This, in turn, allows for greater visibility into the overall status and health of a project.

3. Reach your efficiency goals

Collaboration and data integrity come together to yield improvements in development efficiency. Fusion 360 eliminates many of the woes and pitfalls of the siloed shop floor of the past. Emailing files to share with colleagues, packaging designs and manually tracking version names for contractors, and manually backing up precious data on local hard drives all take time — so much time.

With Fusion 360, virtual collaboration happens in real-time, and teams can precisely quantify progress. This leaves less room for mistakes and frees up time so you can move through the design and development processes faster than ever without sacrificing quality.

Harness the power of shop floor digitalization

Shop floor digitalization connects the people, physical tools (3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines), and software needed to bring high-quality products to life. The benefits of this model include improved collaboration, augmented data integrity and maintainability, and overall gains in efficiency and throughput. Cloud product development tools like Fusion 360 are leading the way in making this goal a reality.

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