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AutoCAD Mechanical – the optimum CAD-decision for designing of mechanisms and cars
In given article system AutoCAD Mechanical as the optimum CAD-decision for designing of mechanisms and machines is considered.                                        

Today in mechanical engineering there are notable positive changes. Constant perfection of CAD-systems promotes the further progress in this sphere. Essentially new cars can be created now in rather short terms. The powerful software allows to find the decisions completely corresponding to requirements of the customer. Thanks to application of new methods quality and reliability of products raise, and expenses (both on designing, and on manufacture) decrease.

Competitiveness of the enterprise depends on correctness of a choice of the CAD-decision further. In the present article some essentially important problems which should be solved at designing of mechanisms and cars are considered, and the review offered Autodesk decisions is given.

Let's consider, what designing is better for choosing: 2D, 3D or both together.

The majority of the designers occupied in designing of mechanisms and cars, traditional methods of 2D-plotting till now use. Volume designing has certain advantages, but in certain cases the 2D-approach remains faster and economic decision. A typical case when 2D-approach use still rather effectively, is a creation of the flat schemes, similar themes that are applied in the electrical engineer, hydraulics, system designing. Besides, 2D-designing can appear more optimum variant at the decision of such problems, as equipment placing in shop.

The 2D-approach is especially convenient at use before the saved up data. Many enterprises for years applied CAD and store now set of drawings. Often it makes sense to process this heritage in a 2D-mode, having left 3D for new design workings out.

In the market there is a system which is giving the chance to the designer of a choice between 2D – and 3D-designing: Autodesk Inventor Series contains system of 3D-designing Autodesk Inventor and based on AutoCAD package AutoCAD Mechanical developed specially for 2D-designing. Unlike some other CAD-systems, advantage Autodesk Inventor Series is that he allows to work both in 2D, and in 3D. Thus to pass with 2D on 3D it is possible at any moment.

Let's consider designing in 3D the big assembly knots.

Excellent productivity – even at designing of difficult assembly knots. the Average car consists of hundreds or several thousand details. CaD-system should be able to process such difficult assemblages, keeping the highest productivity. Otherwise the car should be projected in parts, losing advantages of 3D-designing.

Autodesk Inventor uses absolutely new technology – the segment database, allowing to store in system memory only really applied details. Thanks to it the system provides speed even at work with very difficult products.

The exact control of conflicts of imposing and detection of the admitted errors. At designing of large knots reliable tools of visualisation for effective display of the project are necessary to the user. Besides, at an early stage the control of the conflicts caused by imposing, often caused by that the assemblage space is limited with a view of compactness of a product is necessary. In Autodesk Inventor the designer can automatically check up components and knots about imposings. Process can go in parallel with performance of other operations. Autodesk Inventor allocates clashing components and displays imposings everywhere where they can be.

The integrated software for kinematic modelling. In many cars difficult kinematic processes take place, therefore CAD-systems should carry out the kinematic analysis. In Autodesk Inventor the designer can move separate details according to their degrees of freedom and at once to see, how it influences the interfaced details. In practice such modelling is possible both in 2D – and in 3D-geometry. Therefore for the analysis of difficult movements 2D-sketches can be used even.

Communications between details. Separate details of the car should work in common. So, if at a flange six apertures, the interfaced details should have as much. In Autodesk Inventor these parities are remembered on a case of the subsequent changes. For example, if two half of case are declared by connected and in one of them the changes are made, the second automatically changes according to the first.

Autodesk Inventor carries out parametrical modelling, but thanks to the “adaptive technology” it is capable to do much more. In it it is possible to define easily communications between details at level geometries, without resorting to the task of the equations. The designer simply sets, how details should be co-ordinated, and further they automatically change the sizes and are put in correct position.

It is obvious that such technology simplifies modification of knots. Separate parts can be changed irrespective of an order in which they were developed. It is necessary to notice that as a whole the adaptive technology and flexibility surpasses traditional parametrical methods in simplicity.

Designing of knots from top to down or from below upwards. Work in Autodesk Inventor occurs irrespective of the applied approach, whether it be designing of the new car from top to down when detailing it is postponed for a late stage, or its creation from below upwards on the basis of existing details. Thanks to associativity all will by all means converge: the assemblage, separate details, and also drawings together with specifications on the expense of materials.

Parallel designing. Autodesk Inventor supports parallel designing, that is allows several designers to work simultaneously over different parts of assemblage that essentially reduces designing terms. In Autodesk Inventor users can open simultaneously the parts of assemblage and to see a current condition of all assemblage. The safety mechanism grants the right to record during each concrete moment only to one of participants thanks to what colleagues cannot casually erase work each other.

Management of various configurations. Cars often are issued in different configurations. Only separate sizes or details often thus vary. In Autodesk Inventor it is possible to generate geometrical variants directly from the working table connected with document Microsoft Excel.

3D-display. The basic advantage of 3D-designing – possibility to see the project in volume. The elementary precondition – a fast graphic 3D-cursor. In Autodesk Inventor very high speed of a drawing is reached. Special cursor OpenGL provides fine productivity thanks to optimisation of quantity of the information displayed:
- Instant process of simplification increases or reduces quantity of ranges on the basis of scale. Too small details simply are not displayed;
- During interactive movements (scale change, rotation) details are displayed in a reduced form.

The project can be shown in a cut for reception of a detailed kind “interiors” assemblages.

Intuitive operations. Only one technology it is impossible to manage. What to sense from hi-tech system if difficulty of work with it interferes with its effective practical application? To make technology productive, it is necessary to provide its availability to the greatest possible number of users. The important factor of successful use of CAD-system are simplicity and intuitive clearness at work. Here Autodesk Inventor leaves on new level – look and be convinced.

Conformity of drawings to standards. Designing taking into account standards – a necessary condition for manufacture of a product and possibility of contacts to suppliers. The sizes, furnish of surfaces and admissions contain the information necessary for manufacturing and interaction with suppliers. The drawings received from 3D-models, should be exact and reliable.

In Autodesk Inventor generation of industrial drawings and general views occurs automatically. For writing the sizes there are the numerous automatic functions facilitating work and saving time: reception of the parametrical sizes from models, automatic reduction to a base line, tables of apertures etc. Writing of the sizes is completely associative: the changes brought in model, automatically are reflected in drawings, and changes in drawings lead to model change.

Dropping out kinds or video also are rather useful, as with their help it is possible to show car work even not to people not having a technical education. This property gives unique possibilities for manufacturing of instructions on assemblage or operation.

Autodesk Streamline – means for electronic dialogue with partners and suppliers. It provides to all participants of working out, including working in other organisations, access to the current design data, including 3D-models and 2D-drawings, through the Internet. Access to the current information does not depend on time and a place that prevents misunderstanding, helps to save time and means.

Use of former operating time. Many designers of cars and mechanisms continue to work in 2D-systems CAD. In these workings out considerable means are materialised: first of all drawings, but also, knowledge of designers and integration of CAD-systems into manufacture. That is why the majority of the companies abstains from radical transition with 2D on 3D. They are afraid that cannot effectively use the former design documentation that the big expenses not retraining be required that it is necessary to reconsider all processes earlier connected with 2D-drawings. Though in the long-term plan of advantage 3D are obvious, there are fears that transition on 3D will demand too big efforts.

If the problem in it, Autodesk Inventor Series gives you doubtless advantages.

First, your former 2D-operating time will be optimum used in 3D-environment is important. In Autodesk Inventor drawings from AutoCAD are imported much better, than in other systems. The reason is obvious: both systems are developed by firm Autodesk which has entered format DWG. As a result of Autodesk Inventor contains ideal possibilities of reading of drawings in DWG. For example, it is possible to add to existing “static” 2D-geometry parametres or simply to change it; or to translate existing 2D-geometry in 3D and to make its basic point for new projects.

Secondly, 2D-drawings can be received from the projects executed in Autodesk Inventor. It can be made both in format Inventor, and by means of export to format AutoCAD.

It is possible to receive also drawings in format AutoCAD Mechanical, thus all agreements on layers and so forth will be observed.

Thus, integration of your existing 2D-world into new 3D-environment will pass simply. From you full switching for work in 3D is not required. On the contrary, you can continue work in habitual 2D-environment, using advantages 3D at will.

“Intellectual” designing tools. Autodesk Inventor gives a number of the possibilities allowing even more to simplify process of designing: iFeatures, iParts and iMates.

Using iFeatures (intelligent Features), each user can enter in the project elements, without programming a uniform line. An essence that the details specific to the company, it is possible to keep in a kind some kind of “libraries of knowledge”. The reuse of such elements saves time and raises degree of standardization of projects.

Assemblage of separate details is facilitated thanking iMates (“to the clever description of joints”). Geometrical parities are stored in the data of a concrete detail. At inclusion in detail assemblage find the correct position.

With the help iParts the user can create library of often applied details. Parametres can be modified that does iParts by the ideal tool for creation of families of details.

Besides, Autodesk Inventor includes the big library of standard details, including fixing (screws, bolts), and also washers and bearings.

The built in appendices. Details from sheet metal play a considerable role in many cars. Therefore in Autodesk Inventor means for work with them are built in. The software, in turn, has the built in modules for designing of details from metal sheet. All similar details can be created in Autodesk Inventor.

Autodesk Inventor from the very beginning was under construction as open system. By its working out it was considered that any company cannot create universal system “for all and for everyone”. Auodesk always relied on close cooperation with external partners which have expanded Autodesk Inventor, having added the functions.

The main result of such strategy – Autodesk Inventor Certified Applications Program. Partners AICAP work in different areas: calculations, difficult designing from sheet materials, data processing, production management. Appendices AICAP are associative with Autodesk Inventor, at modification of 3D-model details entering into it are recalculated.

In addition to interfaces SAT, IGES and STEP, supported Autodesk Inventor, the partner companies offer additional interfaces to other CAD-systems: CATIA, Unigraphics etc.

Autodesk Inventor offers also interfaces to various systems EDM/PDM and ERP, for example SAP.

Other important criteria at a CAD-system choice. At a CAD-system choice it makes sense to consider not only functionality of the program, but also strategic aspects. Most important that stands up for the software: power, experience and the future of the firm which have developed it!

At Autodesk more than 5 million users all over the world. Such huge user base guarantees continuous process of perfection of software Autodesk.

It proves to be true at least that company Autodesk invests a considerable part of the incomes in researches and manufacture development.

Autodesk Inventor Series – a correct choice for the designer of cars and mechanisms

In view of fast technological progress of comparison only on separate indicators and properties not enough. There are some more aspects on which Autodesk Inventor Series has certain advantages before other systems. We will short mention them:
- powerful tools of creation of drawings;
- optimum work with large assemblages;
- flexible production: Autodesk Inventor Series supports both 2D, and 3D;
- ease in studying, introduction and system use;
- adaptive modelling gives more possibilities, than parametrical;
- built in means AutoCAD Mechanical and AutoCAD;
- optimum dialogue in the company of the user, and also with partners and suppliers.

1. The optimum CAD-decision for designing of cars and mechanisms//CAD and a drawing, #3, 2003 []
2. The optimum CAD-decision for mechanical engineering//CAD/CAM/CAE Observer, #2 (20), 2005 []
Date: 07/22/2009

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