Autodesk Inventor 11 makes it easier to generate variations of complex designs. It works from a so-called master model to which designers add or remove items on a part list for a particular customer. The software generates the model, drawing, BOM, and an assembly part number.

Autodesk Inventor 11 makes it easier to generate variations of complex designs. It works from a so-called master model to which designers add or remove items on a part list for a particular customer. The software generates the model, drawing, BOM, and an assembly part number.


The latest version of Inventor from AutoDesk Inc. boasts improvements ranging from the importation of artistic sketches to data management. Industrial designers can sketch consumer products in Alias Studio Tools. (Autodesk recently purchased Alias from SGI.) The studio tools target designers who have an eye for aesthetics. Inventor imports ordinary sketches and lets engineers add details for manufacturing without altering style lines.

Functional Modeling, an improved feature, provides templates to assemble gear and belt drives based on, for example, speed and torque requirements. Even bearings and shafts on the assembly can be sized based on power requirements. Should speed or power requirements change, updates ripple through the entire driveline.

Dynamic simulation calculates load vectors on joints within complex mechanisms. When a license of Ansys FEA software is available, it meshes user-identified parts, applies loading values, and runs a stress simulation with little user intervention.

The assembly sizes Inventor can handle is now limited only by computer capacity. To monitor model size, AI 11 presents a small window showing model size and available memory. Lastly, AutoCAD Electrical routes cables and harnesses as they are described on electrical drawings. The software combines BOMs for mechanical and electrical components. The software also includes a data vault to track and control models during design, and comes with tools to import information.

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