The April 2015 release of Autodesk Inventor was packed with some really nice features. Some of these included AnyCAD to coincide with the previous addition of Inventor’s integrated CAM software, Inventor HSM.

In alignment with the changes to the company’s licensing policies, large annual releases are being moved away from in lieu of smaller release cycles, like quarterly updates.

That said, Autodesk has announced that the first of such large updates is coming at the end of October. This update will be available to Inventor subscribers, as will all updates in the future. Subscription customers already have access to great computing services on the cloud, such as cloud solving, and the company intends on continuing that into the future as well.

3 New Enhancements

Shape Generator

Shape Generator is Autodesk’s Topological Optimization tool. Autodesk has been working with Topological Optimization for about a year now. Topological Optimization is a process by which a finite element model is refined into a shape that has been optimized for mass or strength to perform a specific task. I am quite pleased to see it appear in Inventor.

Inventor 2016 R2 - SG Meshed Part

See Mike’s Inventor Shape Generator overview here (Autodesk Inventor 2016 R2 – Shape Generator)

Force effect

Force Effect, Autodesk’s easy to use 2D statics calculation tool, has been available on mobile devices for some time. It was the second thing I installed on my iPhone, just after my Japanese language references. After much customer requests to have Force Effect in Inventor, it’s finally here.

Inventor 2016 R2 - ForceEffect01

Force Effect will be tied to A360, Autodesk’s cloud collaboration service. Mobile and web users can upload their Force Effect static calculations to A360, and then tie those calculations within an Inventor 2D sketch. Those features can then be constrained to Inventor sketch profiles; any Force Effect changes saved to A360 will update the sketch (and ultimately the Inventor model) when the model is opened. This is awesome! Users are prompted to update or not as they choose.

Electromechanical design

Autodesk continues to push their mechatronics design by including additional functionality within Inventor, a move I think is quite necessary.

Inventor 2016 R2 - IDF Import Options

Inventor’s library database files (.ldf extension) have been updated with additional filtering and options. For example, electronics boards can be imported into inventor, but without components of specified size thresholds (you can filter out all the tiny capacitors, etc.). When asked, the company noted that the Inventor specific harness functionalities were not fully integrated into the library at this time, however they are considering options like this in the future.