Vendors Display Minor Updates, Workflow-Altering Solutions at AU

12 Dec, 2013 By: Cyrena Respini-Irwin,Nancy Spurling Johnson

Autodesk University 2013, part 2: The exhibit hall showcases technologies for CAD users that range from the familiar to the disruptive.

iConstruct 2014 for Autodesk Navisworks is now available from iConstruct, featuring new modules and options that extend Navisworks collaboration and review functionality. iConstruct enables the vast information stored in the latest generation of BIM models to be extracted, organized, and used in an efficient and logical way. iConstruct interacts with most building design software and can read a large number of CAD formats, according to the company. New key features include the Smart DWG Exporter, Smart DWFx Exporter, Smart IFC Exporter, and the BIM-FLOW workflow designer.

Rand Worldwide's IMAGINiT Technologies division released new features, including greater task automation and querying of room data and datasheets across selected previous projects, for IMAGINiT Clarity, IMAGINiT Clarity LT, and IMAGINiT Clarity Workshare. The first two components of the Clarity product line extend the Autodesk Revit Server platform with security, management, and monitoring tools; task automation; and project dashboard reporting. The third helps firms that are not using Autodesk Revit Server improve their file-based work-sharing approach, automate Revit software–related tasks, and build reports.  All three IMAGINiT Clarity products are available through a perpetual license, and a new annual rental plan is now available as well.

Software: MCAD

CADENAS unveiled a new integration with cloud-based modeling software Autodesk Fusion 360, giving designers access to more than 400 manufacturer catalogs and millions of 3D CAD models via the cloud-based download portal PARTcommunity Mobile. The parts library pre-populates a catalog of standard and supplier parts for use within the Fusion 360 user interface. PARTcommunity Mobile, now available in the Autodesk Apps Store, offers springs, motors, gears, cylinders, hydraulics, factory automation, and other categories of digital parts models.

Risersoft was displaying its new UnitCAD for Inventor, which automates the creation of assembly models by defining reusable unit components stored inside a database and controlled through parameters and formulas. The company also offers a similar product, UnitCAD for AutoCAD, that helps automate and manage engineering drawings and data.

The new Batch SpellChecker app for Inventor from Sungrace extends the Autodesk Inventor SDK spell-checker add-in to provide automated spell-checking for Inventor drawings in a batch-processing mode, bypassing the need to open and update Inventor files one at a time.

Cloud Platforms and Other Software

Altiva Software was at Autodesk University to talk about CADconform, a tool for promoting and enforcing 100% conformance to CAD drafting standards. The add-on becomes a seamless part of the native AutoCAD environment, according to the company. Based on CADconform, a CAD manager can establish a defined, repeatable process that ensures drawings will conform completely to company CAD standards. CADconform places a digital, tamper-proof seal on drawings that conform 100% to standards.

Mainframe2, a Silicon Valley–based startup, showcased its cloud platform at the NVIDIA booth, running Autodesk desktop software via an Internet browser. Mainframe2 can host any Windows or Linux application on the cloud, making workstation solutions available on demand from any device, anywhere.

Jon Peddie Research recently reported on the Mainframe2 cloud platform, currently in private beta, and is offering a limited-time experimental public preview of Autodesk Inventor running via a Google Chrome browser, no plugins required. Mainframe2 reports that it will announce products and services by the end of the year, and that agreements with major software providers will be announced in the coming months.

Panzura is a global cloud storage gateway that's new to the CAD vertical, but well suited to tackle design software's "File Open" problem with centralized storage in a distributed office environment, said Richard Weber, Panzura's vice-president of product management and operations. Panzura's global lockdown happens automatically, at at the block level; only changes are transferred up and down.

In addition, there is the struggle with large files; as Weber put it, "I don't want my CAD operators to have to take lunch every time they open up a project." He gave the example of a file that previously required 22 minutes to open, but needs only 90 seconds with Panzura — or as little as 8 seconds with a cache hit. Apart from this difference in speed, "the user, in large part, won't even know they're using the product," Weber commented. Customers can opt to pay $5,000 for the system, plus monthly user license payments, or buy a perpetual license starting at about $17,500.

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