Autodesk AnyCAD - Making light work of CAD interoperability

Working in industry can be a nightmare; suppliers use one CAD (Computer Aided Design) system and customers use another. This can lead to a spider web of 2D and 3D data that has to have multiple versions of the same data.

 This isn't a problem, I mean, storage is cheap these days and storing all of these format variants doesn't take up too much space on your server. A Catia file here, a step file there, O'look Native data, thank heavens I don't have to translate this.

 There are a few problems with this type of system, some of them are below. This is not an exhaustive list, I could go on all day, these are the things that used to annoy me most about working in a multi-CAD environment.

  • When you try to control that data and realise you have 5 different CAD versions of the same revision release out, none of them linked, multiple silos of information. Controlling this, if you’re lucky, involves having a PLM system like Autodesk's Fusion Lifecycle. If you’re unlucky there is a master spreadsheet, which links to project spreadsheet, that list the files sent, in which format, when, to who. It can snowball into a spreadsheet linked to a spreadsheet, which links to a project that links to a spreadsheet, which then has a cyclic reference back to the original spreadsheet, and a lot of headaches for anyone supposed to manage this.
  • None of this data is linked; it takes a lot of effort to ensure updates are relayed effectively. "I've changed my widget, I now need to export in 5 different formats and make sure all of my suppliers and customers have the latest release....2 days later..... I've just updated it again," and the cycle continues.
  • Time.  Engineers don't get paid to sit and wait whilst the computer churns away converting Inventor part into a Catia, Solidworks, Step, PDF, and AutoCAD format, or to search through and manage spreadsheets, lists and list of files converted and who they were sent to and when. All of that school, college, apprenticeship, university, and work experience should be spent inventing, building, fixing, testing and producing new and better products.

So what can we do to ease that pain? Well 'we' don’t have to do anything, Autodesk have started to make big improvements in their AnyCAD technology. You can now reference native files from other CAD systems within your Inventor parts and assemblies, so when the original file updates your inventor model automatically recognises the change and updates too. This 2 minute video explains some of the benefits.

 

I've also created a list of interoperability files which you can see below.

Inventor File Translation 2015-2017

Incoming/Outgoing INVENTOR 2015 INVENTOR 2016 INVENTOR 2017
STEP
.STP, .STE, .STEP
AP214 & AP203E2 AP214, AP242 & AP203E2 AP214, AP242 & AP203E2
IGES
.IGS, .IGE, .IGES
ALL, EXPORT 5.3 ALL, EXPORT 5.3 ALL, EXPORT 5.3
POINT CLOUDS ReCap ReCap ReCap
SAT
.SAT
IMPORT - v4-7;
EXPORT - V7
IMPORT - v4-7;
EXPORT - V7
IMPORT - v4-7;
EXPORT - V7
ALIAS (IMPORT) V10 & LATER, ASSOCIATIVE LINK V10 & LATER, ASSOCIATIVE LINK V10 & LATER, ASSOCIATIVE LINK
RHINO (IMPORT) V 1.0-5.0 V 1.0-5.0 V 1.0-5.0
CATIA
CATProduct, CATPart
IMPORT - V4 (ALL), V5-R6 -V5-V62013;
EXPORT - V5-R10-V62013
IMPORT - V4 (ALL), V5-R6-V5-V62014;
EXPORT - V5-R10-V62014
IMPORT - V4 (ALL), V5-R6-V5-V62015;
EXPORT - V5-R10-V62015
DXF
.DXF
R12-2013 R12-2013 R12-2013
AUTOCAD DWG
.DWG
IMPORT - ALL;
EXPORT - 2000-2013
IMPORT - ALL;
EXPORT - 2000-2013
IMPORT - ALL;
EXPORT - 2000-2013
SOLID WORKS (IMPORT)
.PRT, .SLDPRT, .ASM, .SLDASM
2001-2014 2001-2015 2001-2016
UGS NX (IMPORT)
.PRT
UGX V13-NX8 UGX V13-NX9 UGX V13-NX10
PARASOLID
.X_B, .X_T
9.0-26.0 9.0-27.0 9.0-28.0
PRO-E/CREO
.PRT, .ASM
IMPORT - UP TO WILDFIRE VERSION 5
CREO 1&2
IMPORT - UP TO WILDFIRE VERSION 5
CREO 1-3
IMPORT - UP TO WILDFIRE VERSION 5
CREO 1-3
PRO-E GRANITE
.G
UP TO VERSION 8 UP TO VERSION 9 UP TO VERSION 9
PRO-E NEUTRAL
.NEU
ALL ALL ALL
IDF BOARD
.BRD, .EMN, .BDF, .IDB
INVENTOR PRO & ROUTED SYSTEMS INVENTOR PRO & ROUTED SYSTEMS INVENTOR PRO & ROUTED SYSTEMS
JT
.JT
7.0-10.0 7.0-10.0 7.0-10.0
REVIT AND IFC
.RVT, .RFA, .IFC
IMPORT - .RVT;
EXPORT - .RFA
IMPORT - .RVT;
EXPORT - .RFA, IFC - IVR3
IMPORT - .RVT;
EXPORT - .RFA, IFC - 2x3 FORMAT
3D PRINTING
.STL, .STLA, .STLB
IMPORT - ALL;
EXPORT - BINARY OR ASCII
IMPORT - ALL;
EXPORT - BINARY OR ASCII
IMPORT - ALL;
EXPORT - BINARY OR ASCII


The future looks bright, new collaborations an happening all the time, just last week Autodesk announced that they would be working with Trimble to improve interoperability between the two platforms. Read more about that here

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