Top 10 industrial design software applications by install base

There is apparently some variation in what we have described as “industrial design software”. Some might call the category “computer-aided design and engineering” software applications. 

But almost everyone who knows even a little bit about the software tends to know that they are used in the design of physical objects, as in three-dimensional objects for the real world.

The reason why this distinction is worth making is that these days when you say “engineer”, more often than not, people might think you mean “software engineer”. 

And while traditional engineering – like everything else – is actually quite heavily computerised, and becoming more so, the list below refers to software that is generally used to create physical, real-world objects – or hardware, rather than software.

The research website,, calls the category “computer-aided design and engineering”, and lists the 50 most popular.

The top 10, along with the number of companies using the product, are:

  1. Autodesk AutoCad… 110,718
  2. Dassault Systèmes… 40,675
  3. Dassault SolidWorks… 37,214
  4. LabView… 13,140
  5. Dassault Catia… 11,605
  6. Autodesk Inventor… 8,987
  7. PTC… 8,457
  8. Ansys… 8,207
  9. CNC Software… 4,925
  10. Mastercam… 4,655

The top one, AutoCad, is more strongly associated with the architectural profession, rather than engineering or manufacturing, but Autodesk has numerous applications which are more specifically aimed at individual sectors.

Other popular suites of industrial design applications – which are just outside the top 10 – are offered by Siemens and Bentley, but the big two or maybe three companies in the sector are Autodesk, Dassault Systèmes, and probably Ansys.

The reason we’ve picked out Ansys is because people say that it has advanced simulation capabilities, something which all of the leading companies are increasingly offering.

It seems it’s no longer enough to enable designers or users to simply add an image of a material, or…

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