Today, Autodesk released its hold on information regarding the next release of Autodesk Inventor and Inventor LT. The 2012 release comes with a few surprises in product selection as well as some very savvy enhancements to the interface of Inventor. First and foremost I want to congratulate Dynamic Structures on their box shot images that will be proliferating the MFG product line this year. They were the Inventor of the year for 2010 and as such have been awarded the coveted box cover. They have been a long trusted client of ours and I am ecstatic they can have this recognition.
You can tell from the above image of the Inventor offerings that 3 are missing from the lineup. The 2012 product line will not be offering the Routed Systems, Simulation, or Tooling as separate packages. Instead existing customers will be upgraded to Professional in lieu of the change. Let's all have a moment of silence for our fallen software...
Okay, that's enough of that, it's not like the functionality is gone, just rolled into the big daddy Professional. I for one am all about the simplification of the line and it is a logical move considering the new Suites Autodesk is introducing such as the Autodesk Product Design Suite Standard, Premium, and <insert drum roll, elephants on unicycles, and fireworks> ULTIMATE! Click the link above for details on those new offerings.
General Enhancements and Interface
The two largest updates to the interface involve productivity and graphic realism. The Marking Menu with mouse gestures from Inventor Fusion and Inventor Publisher R1 has made its way into the standard Inventor interface with the added benefit of full customization of the commands that appear in the radial menu. Mouse gestures are also possible with quick click flicks of the mouse in the desired direction.
The other enhancement is the additon of Ray Tracing to the Realistic and Monochromatic Visual Styles. This gives the software the power that only Showcase users had before to visualize their models. Watch below for more details.
Part Modeling Enhancements
There are a lot of little updates all over Part Modeling including Sweeps (edge as a path), Face Draft (added Parting Line draft), Boss (create additional features), Rib (complete overhaul), part level view represenations, enhanced Mini-Toolbars, and more! Enjoy the video...
What to say here, but...wow. At first glance, what you see here is ho-hum such as Rotating Drawing Views with Sketches, Origin Marks for Ordinate Dimension Sets, but the Change Veiw Orientation and High Speed Drawing Views is where you see the development really pay off. As you know, since Inventor much like the majority of other 3D modelers being single core somewhat limits what can be done with beefy CAD machines. I recently talked with an Autodesk programmer about this and he said what they can do is program little packets of code to use multiple cores (still doesn't sound easy). With High Speed Drawing Views that is exactly what is happening. You get to place one view and it will show with a Raster image and while it is loading you can place another view and another, and then start doing other things while it is processing. It tried this with a file that normally takes me 20 minutes to open and Inventor 2012 did it in under 4 minutes! Finally I am putting those other 3 lazy processor cores to work. Check it out here...
To start off, here is my updated translator cheat sheet... Download Inventor File Translations 2010-2012
The interoperability for import of CAD models has been updated as well as the inclusion of the 2011 Bonus Pack Rhino file translator. The standard AutoCAD import has also been given some streamlining in the use of importing the data into Inventor as a solid part or as 2D line work depending on what is in the DWG.
The BIM Exchange (formally the AEC Exchange) has been updated as well to include enhancements to the use of connectors and the omni class table (this is a foreign word phrase to most manufacturers but deals with Architecture classification). And oddly enough still has the worst command for model simplification in the environment (Shrinkwrap is not the answer here Autodesk). Some other enhancements here are in the use of connectors such as use in iPart/iAssemblies, connector promotion in assembly structure, and better linking to Revit type properties.
Two important things to mention here; the Wizard to Copy iLogic Designs, and the Custom User Interface Forms. The first one was a part of the 2011 Bonus Pack as well and allows users to copy iLogic designs with or without the iLogic rules attached and really starts to mimic the Copy Design inside Autodesk Vault. This can also be used on documents that do not include any iLogic rules for just a more traditional design copy. The second enhancement is for basic input boxes for iLogic rules (including drag and drop for the builder). This is a big move for the iLogic user, but realistically, most advanced iLogic users want the control only a full blown .dll will give them and that still requires some advanced coding.
In Dynamic Simulation the Automatic Joint creation has always been a pain in the keester when you turn off the Automatic recognition since it would always delete the automatically created ones now it will actually at least prompt you to keep them. The Stress Analysis has also has some improvements in the Frame Analysis for Probes, Continuous Load, and the Sign Convention has been changed so that Frame Analysis and FEA are the same.
Updates to the geometry healing and meshing operations has also been done to accommodate more complex designs that involve many surfaces and tight tolerances.
An ECO Materials assistant has been added as a new environment/dashboard to check the sustainability of a design. This comes from the partnership with GRANTA.
The list of enhancements here is vast to say the least, but focuses on all aspects of the Injection Mold process from using multiple processors in some aspects to faster more efficient Mold base tools. Many enhancements to the Core/Cavity work flow are also prevalent. There is so much that I will just cover this in depth another time or you can ask me in the comments area.
For any IT or CAD Admins that stuck around for the end of this post, here is some good news for you.
- Faster (2x) product start up time
- Splash screen start up is 3x faster compared to Win7 64bit
- Common settings across products in a suite
- Improved support for restricted Window user profiles
- Application options (.xml) can get set for multiple users
There you have it, an overview of Inventor 2012. Look for more videos and post to come in the next couple weeks as well as posts all week about the additional 2012 product launch features.
Here is a nice video from Rob Cohee interviewing Garin Gardiner about the new release...