How to Create a Modern Engineering Workstation

James Rust

Imagine this: You’re an engineer leading a plant expansion project. You’re buzzing with ideas, eager to translate them into reality using AutoCAD. But with every click, your computer grinds to a halt for a frustrating three seconds. That creative spark starts to dim.

This isn’t a hypothetical scenario—it was my life for far too long. It may not sound like much, but those three seconds added up quickly. Working on the design was a slow and tedious task when it should have been something I enjoyed. What engineer doesn’t love figuring out how to make all the pieces fit and work for everyone? What engineer doesn’t love the job they spent years training for?

The answer: the engineer who doesn’t have the right tools to get their work done. Don’t let outdated technology hold your engineers back. Give them the tools to unleash their creativity and bring groundbreaking designs to life.

Powerful Workstations Fuel Engineering Success

When selecting an engineering workstation, several considerations are involved, but ultimately, the goal is to have a device that helps rather than hinders the creative process. Engineers need something that can process the most demanding design and rendering jobs—but this doesn’t necessarily have to be a machine that’s at the absolute cutting edge of technology. If you’re in procurement or IT, ask yourself the following: does the workstation you’re providing to a highly paid, well trained, and in-demand engineer meet their needs, maximize their productivity, and get the best ROI for your organization?

The modern workstation needs a vast amount of parallel processing power to support computer aided design (CAD), computer aided engineering (CAE), and simulation programs. Design software evolves so rapidly these days that it’s often best to get more than the minimum requirements for processing power to ensure the workstation remains reliable for years to come. Design suites have even begun adding generative AI capabilities into their software, and these features will only grow over time.

Another consideration is networking speed. Often designs are being worked on or reviewed live in tandem with engineers who may not be onsite, and depending on the file size of the model, this may end up being a bottleneck. Files also need to be properly backed up to ensure no design time is lost. Without the proper network infrastructure in place, even the best workstation hardware will slow to a crawl.

GPUs Can Make the Difference

Many engineering tools now require additional processing performance and capabilities that only GPUs can provide. CPUs are still essential, but the GPU can do the heavy lifting that is just too much for CPUs. The right GPU futureproofs engineering workstations by letting them accommodate growing and ongoing engineering trends, especially considering their usage in AI and machine learning.

A high performance GPU can allow an engineer to get more done in a much smaller timeframe when compared to engineers with inadequate tools. By accelerating powerful technologies like rendering, interactive CAE, and generative design, GPUs are revolutionizing how engineers bring products to market faster. These GPU-powered tools empower engineers to experiment with novel manufacturing techniques, unlocking a new era of innovative designs packed with exciting features.

Invest in Technology and Empower Your Employees

A survey in 2022 found that a whopping nine out of ten employees are frustrated by their workplace technology. People will always do their best work when they have the proper tools, and engineers are no exception. Keep in mind that these days we are still dealing with an engineering skillset shortage, and making technology boosting rather than limiting can have a remarkable effect on productivity. The issue is that navigating the ever-changing tech landscape can be daunting.

Knowing what you need is difficult when technology is moving so fast and you’re busy doing your part to get product out the door. Instead of looking yourself, engage Connection’s Manufacturing Practice. We stay up to date with the latest hardware and software and can recommend the right products to fit your performance and budgetary needs.

James Rust is an Industry Solutions Specialist at Connection, working to assist with sales and client engagements when communicating the Manufacturing Practice’s value propositions, capabilities, practical use cases, and business outcomes that align with our portfolio of technology solutions. Prior to Connection, James got his start working in a manufacturing shipping department. His career advanced in various industries, including food and beverage, oil and gas supply, machine shop, and pharmaceutical. James offers experience in maintenance management, ERP systems, going paperless, and improving factory floor and office processes.