The Release 2 version of Autodesk Inventor(TM)shipped in mid-March, adding web-enabled virtual meeting capability to the 3D solid modeling program's trademark "adaptive technology."
The latest changes allow designers to take advantage of four trends in 3D modeling: a more intuitive user interface allows engineers of various experience levels to be trained on it; Design Doctor and Design Professor functions ease training and interoperability; web-enabled functions permit collaborative design; and a parts catalog speeds design through re-use of standard fasteners.
While these are hardly unique features in the CAD market, Inventor R2 is the only program to pull web-enabling, new applications, and "adaptive technology" together in one package, says Autodesk's Robert L. Kross, vice president, mechanical. In response, programs like SolidWorks tout different strengths, like single-keystroke operation and faster processing speed. But Autodesk insists its "adaptive technology" allows the most intuitive design, so engineers can worry about function before form, Kross says.
With Inventor, designers can sketch simple 2D layouts to test ideas and functionality before constructing a full 3D model. And Inventor R2 has built-in Net Publishing, so an engineer can publish his drawing to a web site where he can share it with other AutoDesk users. With the integrated Microsoft(R)Net Meeting, he can host an online "conference call" from his laptop, collaborating on new designs with other engineers. Attendees at this meeting can view, chat and whiteboard ideas, all without having Inventor software on their own computers. For information on Inventor R2, contact Autodesk, 111 McInnis Pkwy., San Rafael, CA 94903; Tel. (800-964-6432); www.autodesk.com