New to the Autodesk Inventor 2016 release is the AnyCAD feature - this is an extension of the old Inventor import capabilities allowing you now to create a file reference to a native 3rd party 3D model like a Creo or Solidworks file without having to translate it and create new files.
This has a lot of advantages as you can take a supplier's native model, reference it into Inventor and move on - if the supplier has an update, they send it across and you update the reference - simple. But wait, where does Vault fit into this?
Good news is that the Vault 2016 Inventor add-in supports Inventor AnyCAD, once you have added your 3rd party model to an assembly for example you can check into Vault as usual and all the references are uploaded complete with structure. You can now open the Inventor assembly on other machines, insert the referenced 3rd party model in other locations, carry out all your normal Inventor file management and even change states or create a Bill of Materials from the mixed assembly.
So this means then that Vault supports all 3rd party files now? No, not so I am afraid, and this is an important point.
This is an Inventor add-in feature, meaning Vault manages 3rd party files in the context of the Inventor model - you can rename the Inventor model, move it, copy it, change properties, but NOT for the 3rd party files, you can't even add them without the Inventor file - you need to have all sorts of add in capabilities to do that.
So how do I update the AnyCAD references? This is pretty straight forward, you simply download the Inventor assembly from Vault (Get + Check Out Files), copy the suppliers new model over the top of the old one and open Inventor. Inventor will update the references and you check it back in.
What happens if you DO have add-ins for the third party files? Well the good news is you will have more functionality and we will cover this case in a later post. For the average user though this simple approach makes it easy to use reference data in Inventor and make it available in Vault.
AnyCAD is the first of several new Inventor add-in features we'll cover, ensuring that we provide the best in class integrations for Autodesk CAD.