Design Engineering

Mechanical Design in the Age of COVID-19

By DE Staff   

Automation Machine Building

CAD software and automation suppliers offer resources for designers working remotely.

As many are working out of the home office during the COVID-19 pandemic, CAD software companies and automation software firms are doing their part to assist customers. Offerings include flexibility on CAD software licensing to free access to design and automation software for a limited time.

Solidworks, for example, released instructions so existing customers can transfer their work installation license to a home computer. Those with standalone licenses, and still have access to their work computer, can either deactivate the work computer and then reactivate the home install, or implement online licensing, which associates a license with a user login rather than a machine. Those with a SolidNetwork License can check out a license through a VPN connection or “borrow” a license, which only works for 30 days. Check out the step-by-step instructions on Javelin Technologies’ blog site.

In addition to guidelines for using its design software remotely, Autodesk announced it will offer free and extended access to its cloud collaboration software from March 24 until May 31. The company’s Extended Access program includes BIM 360 Docs, BIM 360 Design, Fusion 360, Fusion Team, AutoCAD Web and Mobile, and Shotgun.

Siemens SolidEdge has offered cloud-enabled licensing since last year. It allows users to move a SolidEdge licenses from one device to another. Available in versions SolidEdge ST9 or later, Cloud licensing also lets users retrieve their customized CAD environment – including menu options, colors, units and drawing standards – to a local install. Instructions on how to switch to cloud licensing and other options are available on their website.


On the automation side, Siemens announced that its offering a free 30-day subscriptions to the company’s online learning portal, which includes video-based learning, labs and other training content. In addition, Siemens has released a free version of the Mendix application development platform for anybody, and a free 12-month license of the student edition of the PADS Professional PCB design software.

Similarly, PTC is opening no user limit access to its eLearning resources, including its Creo eLearning courses and those offered on PTC University Enterprise. In addtion, the CAD company, in conjunction with Rockwell Automation, is offering free access to Vuforia Chalk, a collaborative remote assistance tool, through June 30, 2020. The augmented reality software program helps employees who need to share real-time instructions and guidance without being physically on-site.


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