The introduction of a ‘suites’ based sale meant that users could only have the option of taking on a bundle of tools. Alongside the various flavours of Inventor, the Product Design Suite now also includes Alias Design (for industrial design and surface modelling), 3ds max, Showcase, Mudbox and Vault.
The higher end suites also include NavisWorks Manage for factory layout and design. While the suites approach undoubtedly offers huge value for money, the facts are that for those engaged in design, the core area of interest is always going to be Inventor.
So, in the next few pages we’re going to focus on the system, what’s changed and what’s been added in the 2014 release. We’ll also touch on some of the other applications and services that are available as part of the package.
Looking at what’s new in documentation, the updates to the core Inventor system seem to a little lacking in this release. We’ll explore the possible reasons for that later on, but for now, let’s look at the updates.
There’s not a huge amount that’s been changed in the part modelling tools — more evolution, than revolution. Although there has been some robustness built into the existing operations.
In terms of sketching, there are new tools to build slots more quickly and more options when sketching rectangles, whether linear or based on an arc.
There’s also been work done on making specific modelling commands more reliable — in particular when sweeping large profiles around small radius corners.
Operations that previously would have failed can now be built where self intersections have caused issues. The same problems also often arise when building coils.
Assemblies are always a challenge but when you get into the hundreds, if not thousands of parts, then things can be difficult, even with today’s workstations.
To assist with the sheer handling and efficiently manipulation of these types of datasets, there are a number of updates that are going to prove useful.
The first is Express mode. This builds on the ‘graphics’ only loading mode that most modern 3D design systems have already.
Express load lets you work with large datasets
The idea is that when an assembly is above a certain size (it’s typically user defined based on number of parts), the system can load it in a pure graphics only mode. While this isn’t anything new, the tools added to back it up most certainly are.
With the model loaded in Express mode, the user can still add, remove or substitute parts/sub-assemblies and work with the product structure (assembly tree). All without having to load the full model.