Autodesk took the wraps off its annual upgrade to the Inventor product line, highlighting interoperability, ease-of-use and integrated simulation capabilities in the 2010 release of its digital prototyping suite.
"When it comes to this version of Inventor, it's really about accelerating digital prototyping for the customer - making it easier to build a prototype or giving them new things to do with the digital prototype when it comes to evaluating and testing models," says Amy Bunszel, Autodesk's director of mechanical products.
One of the highlights of the Inventor 2010 suite is a focus on plastic parts design and tooling. With the addition of the Autodesk Moldflow technology, Inventor users can now design complex plastic parts along with the corresponding mold design in a single tool. "Being able to design plastic injection molding in the same digital model saves a huge amount of time and prevents having to reenter data, which can cause errors and sacrifice a high degree of productivity," Bunszel says.
Integrated simulation is another main focus of the 2010 upgrade. Based on technology garnered from its acquisition of PlassoTech, Autodesk has improved its support for motion simulation and static and modal finite element analysis at the part level, and now at the assembly level as well. In previous versions, this kind of sophisticated analysis was only available on a part level, Bunszel says. In addition, a new Sketch Blocks feature provides a logical representation of both rigid and moving bodies that can be combined into 2-D kinematic models for detailed motion studies.
The third major focus of the Inventor 2010 suite is around interoperability and useability. The software has a new Shrinkwrap feature that gives users better control over the simplification of large assemblies for protecting intellectual property when collaborating with third parties. Bunszel likened this new feature to a black box, which defines a component with enough detail to see how it connects to other elements in the design, but without providing access to the intellectual property when collaborating with a large supply chain.
There is also an enhanced AEC Exchange capability for simplifying the exchange of data for use in building design. Inventor 2010 also comes with a new read/write translator for Dassault's CATIA, a first for the Autodesk product. Inventor already has such translators for Parasolid, PTC Pro/ENGINEER and other offerings.
Other highlights of the announcement include:
- Autodesk will now make its AutoCAD Inventor LT Suite, which it had been offering as a free, downloadable technology preview on the Autodesk Labs site, available as a commercial product, priced around $1,400.
- A new streamlined design environment and bill of materials enhancements in the AutoCAD Mechanical package, while AutoCAD Electrical features a new "one-line" circuit symbol library to help increase productivity for control engineers.
- The first Mac OS X support for Autodesk Alias, the industrial design component of the 2010 suite.
- Extensive, new document management capabilities for Autodesk Vault, the PDM component of the suite.
Details of the new release and purchase options will be available starting March 24.