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Autodesk 2011 Overhauls Digital Prototyping Lineup

Autodesk 2011 Overhauls Digital Prototyping Lineup

Autodesk has overhauled its digital prototyping software portfolio with its 2011 release which brings a consistent look and feel, more integrated simulation functionality, along with improved visualization capabilities to manufacturing customers.

At the core of Autodesk's new Manufacturing 2011 lineup is Inventor 2011, which features new direct manipulation capabilities designed to improve the mechanical design process. The features, which allow engineers to directly manipulate component parts within the parametric MCAD environment, can help accelerate design times on common tasks such as assembly modeling by as much as 40 percent, according to Autodesk officials. In addition, the software features new design visualization capabilities, including Autodesk Alias Design for Inventor 2011, a new addition that integrates freeform shape modeling functionality within the Inventor environment. Using Alias' shading, lighting and material properties capabilities, engineers can create a photo-realistic representation of their designs.

Any time a design tool can offer more realistic visualization capabilities, there are dividends in terms of better collaboration, customer engagement and "general delight" in using tools that better embody the physical world, according to Roy Wildeman, a senior analyst with Forrester Research Inc. "With Inventor 2011, Autodesk is starting to capitalize on the synergies between its recent trail of acquisitions, offering connections to Alias Designer and other design automation tools," he says.

For example, Inventor 2011 now incorporates the Inventor iLogic technology for simplifying rules-based design. The new iCopy feature, for instance, lets engineers customize commonly used assemblies by automating the process of copying and positioning similar components.

Beyond new visualization and automation capabilities, Inventor 2011 has improved simulation functionality, including new frame analysis features that let users test responses of frame models to gravity and other loads, while recording animations of displacement and stress results. The complementary Autodesk Algor Simulation 2011, part of the extended digital prototyping suite, is now integrated with the Moldflow 2011 software, allowing engineers to leverage Moldflow simulation results and the Moldflow material database when performing structural simulation on plastic parts.

There are also enhancements to Inventor Tooling 2011, supporting dynamic simulation of mold assemblies and the ability to automatically generate the mold core and cavity for a broader range of plastic parts, whether within the native Inventor environment or using imported files.

As part of the 2011 upgrade, Autodesk also announced the commercial debut of Inventor Publisher, new easy-to-use software that is compatible with multiple 3-D CAD tools and can be used to create assembly instructions or repair and maintenance manuals. The new tools let users leverage the same digital model to create interactive, 3-D product documentation in the form of exploded views or full-motion animations.

Autodesk 2011 Overhauls Digital Prototyping Lineup
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