Datron, Autodesk partnership in Generative Design Field Lab at DMDII

Datron, Autodesk partnership in Generative Design Field Lab at DMDII

The Datron neo CNC milling solution showcases the ease-of-use and power of design, manufacturing within an integrated environment.


Chicago, Illinois – Datron Dynamics Inc.’s high-speed machining technology has combined with Autodesk’s software innovation as part of the Autodesk Generative Design Field Lab located at the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) in Chicago. DMDII is part of Manufacturing USA, a network of 14 institutes all focused on advancing individual technologies and revitalizing U.S. manufacturing. Their goal is to bring together the processes that manufacturers employ, in a single digital manufacturing and design facility – equipped with the world’s most advanced technology. Ultimately, DMDII is a place where companies of all sizes meet up with innovators to develop disruptive technologies and plot the future of manufacturing. DMDII’s mission is to provide U.S. factories with the tools, software and expertise they need to build things more efficiently, less expensively, and faster, so manufacturers can win more business and bring jobs back to the United States.

One of the prominent spaces within the 100,000ft2 facility is occupied by Autodesk. In developing this space, they decided to include additive, subtractive, and hybrid manufacturing equipment to leverage the full power of its software. For the subtractive manufacturing piece of the puzzle, they chose the Datron neo, a compact high-speed CNC milling machine with an image-driven touch-screen interface that eliminates traditional numerical input required to program most conventional CNC equipment.

Autodesk’s Senior Manager, Business Strategy & Marketing, Sean Manzanares says, “When building out the Autodesk Generative Design Field Lab, we had a vision of world class vendors supporting the complete workflow from design through manufacturing. Autodesk has relied on the successful partnership with Datron. Having the Datron neo as the featured CNC milling solution was an easy decision because it showcases the ease-of-use and power of design and manufacturing within an integrated environment.”

This is not the first partnership between these two companies as Datron neo is also in Autodesk’s Pier 9 Technology Center in San Francisco. John Sullivan, Datron director of sales and marketing, says, “A lot of Datron users choose Fusion 360 because the post processor is rock solid. Our technology is all about speed and efficiency. The fact that Datron and Fusion 360 integrate seamlessly results in an unbeatable user experience.”

Autodesk Technical Innovations Manager, Rossen Maltchev, has been selected to operate the Datron neo at DMDII saying, “I work with other CNC mills and VMC’s and there is nothing like a Datron. These machines are fast, easy-to-use, and produce the best surface finish I’ve ever seen. The contribution that such a small machine can make to a facility like this is incredible.”

The Datron neo, made in Germany by Datron AG, is a compact machine with a footprint of 27.5" x 51". Inside the machine is an integrated camera/probe combination designed to eliminate the time-consuming task of setting up jobs. The camera shows the machining table below and the operator can select the workpiece simply by tracing the area on the touch-screen where the workpiece is displayed. Once the part is located, and the machining parameters are set, any irregularity is automatically compensated for in the software. This virtually eliminates part rejection due to improper setup. An on-board CAM Assistant guides the operator through the program and tool management on an interface that looks and feels like using a smartphone. All of these tools combine to help even a novice operator create a machined part in just four steps. This type of innovation is exactly what makes Datron neo a logical fit for DMDII’s Generative Design Field Lab.

Datron will be using this installation at DMDII as their Midwest Technology Center where they will host events and demonstrate their technology for prospective customers and machining enthusiasts.

VP, Business Development Robert Murphy, says “DMDII in Chicago is the hub for digital design & manufacturing and the perfect to place to showcase our NEO machining system. Companies of all sizes can see the latest advancements in manufacturing technology and how they all work together. They can quickly fabricate a model or learn about the latest approach to improving manufacturing efficiency. Our partnership with Autodesk and DMDII helps educate American manufacturers on the latest technologies for improving efficiency and making parts better, faster and smarter.”