Manufacturing: The Power of Collaborating with Revit and Inventor

30 January 2024Collaboration, Inventor, Manufacturing, RevitAnyCAD, bim interoperability, design automation, Product Design & Manufacturing, workflow



In the recent Applied Software, GRAITEC Group webinar, “Design Fusion: Harnessing the Power of Autodesk Inventor and Revit,” with Manufacturing Technical Consultant Manager Anil Chauhan, Anil explained that seamless design and configuration are vital in today’s competitive manufacturing environment.

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escalator next to a set of stairs, collaborating with Revit and Inventor, manufacturing

In pursuit of that seamless process, using Autodesk Inventor with Revit is a powerful combination of tools for automating manufacturing design configurations. Inventor is focused on parametric design for manufacturing, and the strength of Revit is in architectural modeling. When you can combine the two, it’s the best of both worlds. The resulting streamlined process helps provide an error-free, efficient transition between architectural representation and product design.

When exporting an assembly model from Inventor to Revit, there are key steps and automation best practices for seamless data transfer to avoid common pitfalls and errors. These are explained by Anil during the webinar.

For your manufacturing design reference library, download the Ultimate Guide to Autodesk Inventor by Applied Software, GRAITEC Group.

A person using Inventor can collaborate with somebody using Revit. Inventor data can be used in Revit and vice versa. There is a workflow for Revit inside of Inventor based on AnyCAD technology developed by Autodesk years ago. With AnyCAD, users can easily share and collaborate with other CAD models and other CAD file types. Just as an architect would do with another person on a job, Inventor and Revit can communicate inside the manufacturing Revit model.

BIM construction model half in color and half in whiteline against blue backdrop, collaboration with Revit and Inventor, manufacturing

When it was first introduced, AnyCAD helped link certain files into Inventor assemblies without converting them, using the native file format. If something changes in the native format, you can update the Inventor model with the changes. AnyCAD functionality is now included in Revit. When a Revit file is imported into Inventor, AnyCAD technology enables the user to link the Revit file directly inside Inventor. The mechanical or manufacturing model can be built around the building model as a reference and then taken back into Revit to make updates and vice versa.

This is possible with the tools in Inventor. For example, the Simplify command enables you to simplify models to be used in Revit. Users can control what they want to import from Inventor into Revit by:

    • removing certain details,
    • excluding components,
    • excluding specific features, and
    • making the model imported into Revit simpler.

In Revit, it’s not critical to see the fully detailed manufacturing model, and in fact, that would slow down the Revit model. It should be simplified coming out of Inventor with enough data to use within Revit.

shiny new elevator shaft reflecting lights, collaboration with Revit and Inventor, manufacturing

In the webinar, Anil demonstrated the workflow using a full 3D building model inside Revit. He created predetermined views to use for the webinar demonstration, one of which was a production view from inside the building. This is where he demonstrated how to place an Inventor model into the Revit model.

Meanwhile, inside Inventor Anil had developed an assembly that correlated to the production view that would be placed into the Inventor model.

To place a Revit model inside Inventor, you choose the Revit file while working in Inventor, and the software loads all the elements from the Revit model into Inventor.

You can pick specific elements, such as all the walls or just the structural elements or the interior elements. You can preview and choose from different categories to import plus specify the import type – “Reference model” or “Convert model.”

“Convert model” will bring the Revit model in and convert it into an Inventor multibody part, with no link back to the Revit model. On the other hand, “Reference model” links the Revit model directly into the Inventor assembly, and that Revit model will still have a link back to Revit.

two people at computer workstation looking at BIM model, collaboration with Revit and Inventor in manufacturing

You can then go into Revit, make building changes and update the Inventor assembly with those changes. This workflow is particularly useful for revealing interferences and clashes. You can address such collisions by collaborating with the architect.

Watch Anil’s demonstration during the webinar to learn about the steps required and why they are important.

Using this workflow, you can successfully collaborate with the architect to make and see those changes by taking advantage of the workflow between Inventor and Revit.

Anything you place into a building that requires a component from Inventor can be collaborated on in this way to avoid collisions – escalators, elevators, railings, HVAC units, any manufacturing element, or even machinery like cranes.

When we’re able to export data to provide manufacturing information on the 3D model, that type of workflow can extend beyond Revit into other areas of Inventor use. For instance, information can be taken from Revit and put into Fusion 360 using a similar process. The interoperability allows you to add manufacturing information into models as needed.

The power of design automation is key to making the manufacturing industry more efficient and productive, and Autodesk has said it anticipates releasing more features and benefits in its tools that will further enhance design automation.

From file size to view management, from worksets to worksharing, you should have this eBook in your eLibrary: “How to Keep Your Job with Revit” . . . download it today.




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