AutoCAD 2019, Creo 5.0, Ending Design Gridlock and More

Updated Dec 31, 2019
AutoCAD 2019 logo on wavy background

Welcome to the March 2018 edition of World of CAD, Scan2CAD’s monthly roundup of all the news you need to know from CAD, CNC, and their related fields.

There are plenty of big stories to cover this month. To begin with, we’ll look at the release of AutoCAD 2019, which transforms a suite of programs into just one. Secondly, we’ll check out what’s new in PTC’s latest edition of Creo.

After that, we’ll move on to another innovative feature from the team over at Onshape which aims to end “design gridlock”. Finally, FloMASTER‘s new CAD connectivity comes into focus. Let’s begin!

Autodesk unveils AutoCAD 2019

In every year since 2003, Autodesk has chosen to release its latest version of AutoCAD in March. Though the exact release date always remains under wraps, the CAD community now eagerly awaits the latest version of AutoCAD right as spring rolls around, making it one of the most anticipated events of the CAD calendar. Autodesk did not disappoint this month, with AutoCAD 2019 hitting the market on March 22nd.

The key change that’s being made here is less one of increased functionality, and more one of packaging. Before, AutoCAD was a suite of products, with separate licenses for programs such as AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD Mechanical, and so on. Now, that’s changed—the new tagline is “Only One AutoCAD”. What used to be separate products are now “specialized toolsets”: all under one roof. These include:

  • Architecture
  • Mechanical
  • Electrical
  • MEP
  • Plant 3D
  • Map 3D
  • Raster Design

You may notice that one AutoCAD product is missing from the list: Civil 3D. This program won’t feature as a specialized toolset; instead, it will become a standalone program, retitled Autodesk Civil 3D.

Another key change is the launch of the AutoCAD web app. This sees AutoCAD join many of its competitors in making a foray into CAD in the cloud. There’s also an AutoCAD mobile app to join other iOS and Android CAD offerings.

Updates to the actual functionality of AutoCAD are less prominent here, but one key change is the introduction of DWG Compare. This allows you to identify the differences between two revisions of a drawing, including the ability to view clashes, changes, and to systematically check details in a file.

Other updates include “Share Design Views”, which lets you share designs without sharing the files themselves, plus new icons and better 2D graphics performance. Check out the full details at Autodesk.

PTC introduces Creo 5.0

If one major release wasn’t enough this March, we’ve got another one to report. This month saw the unveiling of Creo 5.0: the latest version of PTC’s CAD suite. The suite, which “enables users to go from concept to manufacturing in one design environment”, has received some key updates to help it remain competitive in a world where product design is in constant flux.

There are five important new features which set Creo 5.0 apart, including:

  • Topology Optimization Extension. Taking a defined set of objectives and parameters, the Topology Optimization Extension automatically generates a number of optimized designs. This tool aims to allow users to create more efficient parts, helping to speed up the design process and introduce more innovation.
  • Additive Manufacturing Plus Extension for Materialise. If you’re a regular reader, you may seen our 3D printing article. If so, you might remember that we mentioned Materialise: the Belgian 3D printing firm that offers users a variety of printing materials and colors. Users will now be able to print production-grade metal parts straight from Creo 5.0 through Materialise, as well as connecting to Materialise’s online library.
  • Mold Machining. This tool offers dedicated machining capabilities for molds, dies, electrodes and prototype machining.
  • Flow Analysis. This CFD solution makes it possible to use Creo 5.0 to simulate fluid flow issues. Additionally, it promises great ease-of-use, accuracy, and speed.
  • Collaboration Extension for Autodesk Inventor. If you know your Autodesk software, you’ll be familiar with Inventor. Now, you can bring Creo and Inventor together thanks to this extension, which enables data reuse and resource sharing.

With everything from productivity enhancements through to tools for both additive and subtractive machining, it’s clear that this is a substantive update from PTC. Learn more about Creo 5.0 at PTC.

“Treating design gridlock”: Design Data Management 2.0 from Onshape

Design gridlock

Ending design gridlock: from files to databases. Image source: Onshape.

Over the last few years, few CAD companies have been quite as innovative as Onshape. Not only were they the first to produce a full-cloud CAD solution, but they also hit the headlines as recently as January, when they unveiled Parametric Modeling 2.0. Now, the team at Onshape are ready to tackle their next problem: design gridlock.

Onshape compare “design gridlock” to a chronic disease, and lament its ability to “[divert] precious engineering energy into useless overhead”. In short, design gridlock refers to the inability of designers and engineers to progress because they are unable to (or are unsure if they can) access the same files. Chasing up correct files takes up precious time—and, after all, time is money.

The solution Onshape offers up is Design Data Management 2.0. Onshape identify files as the “root cause of design gridlock”; the logic goes that, if you get rid of files, you get rid of gridlock.

The alternative, therefore, is to store data in a database. Using the database, you can view all actions by all users, and every previous state of a design remains accessible forever. This means no overwriting—and no losing precious work. Another key benefit is that, because the database exists in the cloud, your data is all in one secure location, rather than being scattered across numerous discrete workstations.

Designers can also use the new functionality to collaborate instantly. Meanwhile, if you wanted different designers to take one design in multiple directions, you can—all working in parallel, whilst the original design remains intact. There are yet more reasons to get excited about Design Data Management 2.0—check them out at Onshape.

FloMASTER increases integration with CAD software

If you’ve really been paying attention to World of CAD, you may remember Siemens’ acquisition of Mentor Graphics in December 2016. Since then, we’ve covered plenty of other Siemens products, with Solid Edge featuring in our top 5 SolidWorks alternatives. Nonetheless, we hadn’t returned to Mentor—until now.

This month, Mentor announced some exciting updates to their computational fluid dynamics software, FloMASTER. Hailed as “the result of extensive years of research and development”, the new release brings CFD closer to CAD by enhancing FloMASTER’s integration with other software.

The key update here is CAD-to-FloMASTER—or CAD2FM, for short. Using this feature, engineers can quickly create representations of 3D systems. In order to do this, it takes 3D descriptions of piping networks, and automatically abstracts them into FloMASTER components. As a result, engineers have to put in less manual work.

While this feature would be newsworthy alone, there are plenty of other FloMASTER features worth talking about. Firstly, there’s new functionality for air conditioning systems, with an enhanced Enthalpy Solver and new components added to the Vapour Cycle library. Due to this, engineers can study and optimize complex systems for aerospace, automotive and building systems.

There are also new enhancements to script-based components; you can now use input and output signals and write custom results. Meanwhile, engineers can expect a better user experience: schematic annotation, a new results dashboard, more powerful parametric analysis tools, and more. If you’d like to find out more, then head over to Mentor.

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