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Top iPad Engineering Apps

December 22nd, 2011

These 11 iPad engineering applications are a mix of utilities and CAD and automation tools.

If you search Apple’s App Store, you’ll see a lot of low-hanging technical fruit. There is a plethora of engineering unit conversion programs. There are a few of particular interest to mechanical and industrial engineers. There are also many apps of value only to captive users of a particular vendor’s products, so the following includes some with widespread user bases.

  • TurboViewer X

This native viewer for the ubiquitous DWG CAD file format supports both 2D and 3D renditions. Usability features include pan and zoom. Files can be accessed via ftp or Dropbox.

  • Autodesk CAD WS

Lets users view DWG-formated CAD files on their iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. Drawings can also be annotated and revised in the field. Many users doodle on such apps solely to seek Relaxation through catharsis. Local versions of the drawings are accessible in absence of a WiFi connection. DXF files also handled. Experience the freedom of taking your designs with you — wherever you go.

  • Nastran

The old warhorse of finite element analysis (FEA) apps has come to the iPad, albeit only in introductory form thus far. Here are two side-by-side screens highlighting the apps’ ability to analyze flat plates and blocks. (It can also do cylinders and tubes.)

  • Engineering Unit Conversion

This app from ActiveMinds Software Ltd. goes well beyond the usual English-to-metric conversions and tackles compressibility, density, conductivity, and volume flow. Plus, it’s received positive reviews. The one downside is that it’s really an iPhone app, though it runs fine on the iPad.


  • Rockwell Automation Small System Sketcher

Keyed to Rockwell’s Kinetix product line, this app lets users configure a small automation system, including picking a controller, assigning a network, adding HMI and IO, and configuring drives. When complete, it’ll email you the system drawing and Bill of Material.

  • Siemens Sirius eAssistance DocuFinder

Access to product information on the Sirius family of control components, including relays, contacts, and breakers.

  • Teamcenter Mobility

Siemens gets a two-fer in this list. This one supports iPad access to its PLM app. Files can be imported into Teamcenter, and objects submitted to workflow.

  • GaugeFinder

This utility offers access to a database of standard thickness and diameter values for wire, steel, and tubing.

  • powerOne Financial Calculator

Remember Hewlett-Packard’s RPN calculators? They’re not dead, just reborn in iPad form via this engineering-calculator app from Infinity Softworks. It’s also got templates and a standard algebraic mode.

  • Compressible Fluid Flow Calculator

One of many number-crunching apps available on iTunes. It’s intended to handle isentropic flows, heat addition, and ducts flows. The constraint is that gas properties are assumed to be constant.

  • HVAC Professional

Complete formulas and charts for ventilation pros.

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