It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since we celebrated Inventor’s 20th anniversary with a roadmap post here on the blog. Since then we delivered Inventor 2021 and a few updates packed with enhancements that many of you are already using. Dark theme, faster drawing creation, part & assembly performance improvements, enhanced Revit imports, and frame design capabilities have been a big hit and it’s time to take another look forward.
We have a few things up our sleeves and the Inventor team is excited to start sharing some of the details around what’s next. The global Inventor team is a very motivated team with one goal in mind—helping you define the new possible. We get up every morning thinking about ways to make the Inventor experience even better. Look at some of these friendly faces behind the product. Totaling it all up that’s about 2000 years of experience all focusing on what’s next!
This roadmap may make statements regarding future events and development efforts for our products and services. These statements reflect our current expectations based on what we know today. Our plans are not intended to be a promise or guarantee of future delivery of products, services, or features, and purchasing decisions should not be made based upon these statements. We do not assume any responsibility to update this roadmap to reflect events that occur or circumstances that exist after the publish date of this roadmap.
Over the last few years, you have seen us work a lot on the overall experience in Inventor from multi monitor support, dark theme, and streamlined commands to name a few. As we look to the future here are a few of the areas you will see us invest in to help make your day-to-day tasks faster and easier.
One of the most highly requested features over the years is to capture a model in multiple manufacturing stages, simplified versions of designs or design families without separate files for each configuration. We currently have iParts and iAssemblies and they are great for prescribing and generating designs that can be managed as separate files. What we haven’t had is the option to contain multiple representations of parts and assemblies all in one model, and it’s been one of the most highly ranked requests out there. Model States are intended to help. They will enable you to define a model with many recipes without the overhead of many additional files being created and managed separately. They’re intended to help you represent different manufacturing stages, simplified versions, or a family of design alternatives quickly and easily with one model.
We continue to invest in overall performance as it continues to be ranked high among customers in markets we serve like Industrial Machine, AEC and Factory. One area of focus is around graphic performance where we will be utilizing the GPU to offload graphic rendering. You will notice significant graphic performance gains when using wireframe or shaded with edge mode and can also free up CPU resources to be used elsewhere. You will also likely notice it’s a bit snappier to edit a part while in an assembly since we have optimized transparency when entering/exiting environments. We are seeing common edit in place tasks in 2021 that take around two minutes and with our future graphics optimizations these same tasks complete in just 80 seconds. You will also likely notice things like open/close of documents are noticeably faster.
We have done a lot of research to understand how each command is used and how we can make it more efficient. We started by making the flow through the command faster and more discoverable then added things like presets to store your most common setting for that command. Fillet is the next command we wanted to tackle. We have made it easier to select the type of fillet upfront (edge, full round, or face) then allow you to filter your selection to make it easier to select what you want. The outcome is a faster/easier to use command with more predictable results.
And we aren’t stopping there, we have a host of other things we are working on to provide a better overall experience with Inventor.
Recently there’s been a clear rise in automation interest across the Inventor Community. We see it in conversations with users, forum activity, and survey results. Fortunately, Inventor already offers a huge amount of automation potential. We first added an API years ago allowing companies to write their own applications on top of Inventor. We then integrated iLogic allowing non developers the ability to automate a great deal in their assemblies without need to know a programming language. We also introduced Forge which provides a cloud-based development platform that lets you develop tools for your organization and your customers.
Not all our automation is done through the API, iLogic, or Forge, we are constantly looking at ways to help automate common tasks. In Inventor 2021 we greatly enhanced Sheet Formats making it easier to create drawings through automated templates. We have continued enhancing this workflow to integrate things like 3D Annotation and locking to a camera view to automate your drawings even further.
We also look to make it easier to connect products like Inventor and Revit to automate design and collaboration workflows. Inventor 2021 made it possible to associatively link Revit models in Inventor as a reference, to help you design custom layouts or equipment in the context of a building. When the Revit model changes, the Inventor model can automatically update to adjust and stay in sync. We are now working on streamlining data flow so you can get your designs back into Revit and the rest of the building project in a similar way. Simplification tools are being further optimized, we are working on adding new options for Revit publishing, and exploring ways to allow Inventor changes to be automatically reflected in Revit. Imagine being able to layout a factory line in a building and simplifying it and sending it to Revit be represented in the final building.
Another area we are looking to better connect teams together is by making it easier to send Inventor models to Fusion 360 for downstream manufacturing workflows. With the market increasingly looking to optimize the handoff between design and manufacturing, Autodesk has invested in many different pieces of manufacturing capability over the years. Moldflow, HSM, Magestic, Netfabb, Magestic, and Delcam products are a few key examples. Historically all of this CAM capability was available only in separate applications. We are starting to bring much of this together into Fusion 360 and we intend to make it easy to use alongside Inventor’s powerful design capabilities. In just a few clicks you can copy the Inventor part to Fusion 360 ready to collaborate with your manufacturing engineer or job shop.
The Inventor team talks to thousands of customers every year as we gather feedback and look for guidance on future enhancements to Inventor. We provide surveys and connect with many of you in our discussion forums and social channels and yet there are many more of you that we never get to hear from. We are looking to introduce a feedback workflow right inside of Inventor to make it extremely fast and easy to provide feedback when you close your active Inventor session. On our side, this feedback goes straight into the product team directly, ensuring your voice is heard by those working on upcoming releases. It’s all intended to guide future planning so you get the most relevant, impactful updates possible.
Our Inventor roadmap is guided by feedback from the Inventor community. We love hearing from Inventor users. We talk with customers every day via the Inventor Ideas board and the Inventor Forum. As part of the Inventor Feedback Community you can get much more information on the projects we are working on for Inventor and get to test out alpha and beta builds through your browser. We encourage you to be involved in any or all these communities and make your voice heard!
We thank all of you for being an Inventor user and look forward to hearing from you!