2-3 april 2025 | Prioritet Serneke Arena | Göteborg

Interview with keynote speaker Leo Li

Leo Li

Learn the insights about how Autodesk leverage technology to support sustainable design and manufacturing from interview with keynote speaker Leo Li, Sustainability Manager EMEA, Autodesk.
How does Autodesk leverage technology to support sustainable design and manufacturing?

At Autodesk, we are continuously building and enriching our portfolio of solutions that help our customers create more sustainable designs and products. Our solutions connect relevant data such as emissions and environmental impact to the design workflows, which help our users make smarter design decisions earlier and faster. Our design and make technology supports design decisions made in early, as well as advanced product development stages. Our AEC technology portfolio supports creating and operating low emission manufacturing facilities, by managing the embodied and operational carbon in buildings.

What are the key challenges facing the industry in terms of sustainable design and manufacturing, and how can technology help address them?

One of the key challenges that we recognize is the lack of information early in design phases. 31% of Green house gas emissions can be attributed to the products we produce as a society, and 80% of the emissions are embedded already at early design stages. In this regard we address them through providing the needed information, making it accessible for more designers (not just subject matter experts in sustainable design), and influencing the design decisions.

Can you give us examples of successful sustainable design and manufacturing projects that you have been involved in, and what impact have they had on the environment and society?

One of the first cases that comes to mind is Airbus. They deployed our generative design technology to reduce the weight of the partition walls in their airplanes by 45%, the weight reduction alone saves 166 tonnes of CO2 per plane per year. 

In the area of advanced manufacturing our UK-based customer, mountain bike manufacturer PEMBREE, used advanced 5-axis manufacturing capabilities to simplify their manufacturing methods and managed to transform their operations to carbon neutral.

We also collaborate with emerging technologies. Australian company Coral Maker, through research fellowships and residency at Autodesk research centre, found a way to utilize additive manufacturing technology to design a coral restoration mould that can be manufactured on-site, making the coral restoration process faster and cheaper.

Lastly, through collaboration with one of our official partners, Makersite, we have developed a plugin to one of our main design tools, Fusion 360, that enables designers to use verified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) to analyse their designs while still in the design environment. This enables the users to work iteratively and base their designs on reliable data.

How important is collaboration in achieving sustainable design and manufacturing goals, and how do you collaborate with other stakeholders in the industry?

As a tech provider, we don’t have the ability to provide reliable emission data, this comes from externally validated sources. This fact makes collaboration with stakeholders across industries extremely important. While we provide the design software, our collaborators help us connect our design software to the emission data. The more reliable data can be aggregated and connected to design, the better the design decisions.

How can companies balance the need for profitability with their sustainability goals, and how can technology help them achieve this balance?

The key is really to understand this is about achieving a balance. Many companies understand their costs and profitability, fewer have the same understanding of their emissions. It’s important to recognize that the emissions side is where we need to do more work, in order to make better informed decisions on how to balance sustainability goals with profitability. That’s where we believe technology can make a difference. It can help businesses understand their emissions, change their operations, create more sustainable products, and ultimately generate profit.”

Read more about Fusion 360: https://www.autodesk.co.uk/products/fusion-360/overview 

Learn more about accelerating sustainability: https://www.autodesk.eu/industry/accelerate-sustainability/design-manufacturing 

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