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Matthew West

Not to denigrate you or any Autodesk products, but are the results really that surprising considering the following statements, copied directly from the report?

"Our client for this project, Autodesk, wanted an independent analysis of how Autodesk Inventor Professional 2011 functionally compared with SolidWorks Premium 2010. To limit the scope of the project we
decided to compare 15 functional areas...Readers might ask how unbiased this analysis is, since it was sponsored by the author of one of the products being compared.
While we admit to some bias in selecting the functions to be compared, particularly as it relates to the mechanical interest in
BIM, all the functional areas selected for comparison are important."

Matt / SolidWorks

Rob Cohee

Hey Matt - yeah its easy to call bs to any study, I totally get that. What I expected once I heard about the study was for us to be on par with many of the categories. So yes, I am suprised that we scored higher in every category. Honestly, I think some of my readers are going to be as well.


Kevin E.

I was at a company several years ago where we evaluated Inventor and Solidworks. At the time Inventor was at version 5.3 and 6 was coming out within weeks.

The Solidworks rep sent a very large white paper binder with all kinds of these type of comparisions. I'm glad to see them getting a little of their own medicine back :-)

But it doesn't really matter how well the software works for others, it matters how well it works for your company. It has been fun to watch the steady improvement of Inventor over the years, to become one of the leading products in the industry.

J.D. Mather

[quote]Works has a decent reputation and there may be a perception that it is the standard for 3D mechanical design.[/quote]

History is full of the better technology not dominating the market.

J.D. Mather

Just read the report. I was amused. I happen to know a bit about the research techinque and a bit about each program.


J.D. Mather
Autodesk Inventor Certified Professional
Certified SolidWorks Professiona

Rob Cohee

That's awesome J.D. If I may borrow a quote from page 25: "The philosophical basis of the Delphi method is that a hypothesis is not needed to collect data for a qualitative analysis of trends. The objective is to identify areas of consensus of opinion (Linstone & Turoff). The basic assumption is that expert opinion can be of value in making a decision in situations where knowledge or theory is incomplete."

This I think explains pretty well how it can take personal bias out of a survey: "The anonymous or confidential participation of panelists reduces or eliminates the occurrence of a charismatic or otherwise influential participant having an undue effect on the consensus outcome for reasons other than the validity and strength of arguments (Linstone &Turoff, 1975)."

So in your opinion J.D., is the Delphi technique a reasonable approach to something like this?

Jon Banquer

How well do you think Autodesk Inventor or SolidWorks would would do if Siemens NX 7.5 was added to the mix, especially when it comes to surfacing?

Before you answer this question suggest you view this:


Autodesk needs to get moving and rapidly speed up integrating the power of Alias into Inventor and then do a comparison test against SolidWorks. At that point Autodesk might actually have something a lot more significant than Inventor is finally able to compete / beat SolidWorks.

It's a very good thing for both Autodesk and SolidWorks that UGS / Siemens, is dead last when it comes to marketing because they are at the top of the pile when it comes to product development.

Jon Banquer
San Diego, CA

Kevin E.

Alias is starting to make its way into Inventor. Almost anything that was shown in that demo could be done with Inventor with the Alias addin and Fusion. I assume they will eventually all play together in one program.

J.D. Mather

"Alias is starting to make its way into Inventor."

It is? News to me. I saw a demonstration of Alias Editing tools in Inventor last year at AU, but I can't find these tools in Inventor Pro 2011? Where can you get Inventor that has any Alias functionality?

Kevin E.

Yes you are correct J.D. Let me rephrase that. With the purchase of Alias you can use the plugin that incorporates some of Alias freeform stuff to run inside of Inventor. It isn't a native Inventor capability.

I'm sorry I wasn't 100% clear like you are all the time, I will try not to make a mistake again. Please try to forgive me.

Jon Banquer

How many years has Autodesk owned Alias?

Shouldn't Autodesk Inventor have much more powerful surfacing tools like NX has by now?

What does it say that Bose Corp. is looking to move away from Alias and instead just use NX for design?

Does anyone really think that either SolidWorks or Autodesk Inventor has the modeling capabilities and power that NX or CATIA have? I'm sure someone does but it has no basis in reality.

There is no doubt that SolidWorks Corp. is in trouble. The trouble started many years ago with the refusal by SolidWorks Corp to solve the kinds of real world problems that direct modeling solves.

Buzz Kross had delivered on many of the promises he made for Inventor. I suspect it was a lot harder and took much longer than he would have liked. I say many promises because Inventor is still not the world class tool that NX most certainly is. It will never become a world class tool if the decision isn't made to cannibalize some of Alias's market in order to make Inventor much stronger.

Jon Banquer
San Diego, CA

Kevin E.

I'm not sure how long they have owned Alias. Was it in 2005? Inventor couldn't work with Alias files. Then Inventor could import Alias files and keep an assoiative with the Alias file. The latest release there is an Alias plug in that can run inside of Inventor (with the purchase of Alias software....Better J.D.? :-])

So Alias seems to be moving towards Inventor (albeit slowly).

I think the bigger problem is with companies that have high end and mid range solutions. There will always be a glass ceiling for the midrange product. Inventor doesn't have to worry about that.

Jon Banquer

Kevin, I agree Autodesk doesn't have to worry about it and that it's a problem for SolidWorks.

What I don't understand is why the functionality for surfacing isn't much better in Inventor by now. Frankly, Inventor should be blowing the doors off SolidWorks when it comes to surfacing and the only reason I think Inventor doesn't is that Autodesk doesn't want to cannibalize Alias sales. I don't think Autodesk has a choice other than to do this, especially if Siemens ever figures out how to do a much better job marketing NX. I can honestly see many SolidWorks users actually dumping SolidWorks for Inventor if Inventor truly had a major surfacing advantage over SolidWorks.

Thanks to both you and J.D. for your posts and your honesty. Sure beats the fanboy nonsense I've grow so accustomed to seeing posted elsewhere.

Jon Banquer
San Diego, CA

Rob Cohee

We won't be having any of that open candor and honesty here... All fan boy all the time. :-)

J/K - I totally agree Jon. Great discussion.


Awesome Banter. However, I'm disappointed the benchmark study didn't have any surfacing comparisons. My views reinforce those above, Autodesk really needs to step up to the plate here and provide competitive surfacing tools within Inventor. Until then its always going to be lagging.


Just read the white paper. Considering TechniCom composed the questions the experts needed to answer, it would be fairly easy for them to skew the questions so the answers would more likely benefit Autodesk. There are obviously areas where Inventor is ahead. The benchmark cant possibly cover everything, so i can only assume there would be significant features Solidworks has that Inventor doesn't and weren't even brought up in any of the questions.

J.D. Mather

Sad part is I have Inventor Pro.
I have Alias Automotive.
I don't have freeform tools in Inventor.

I have freeform mesh tools in AutoCAD!

I come from a background as a shop floor machinist (8 years) then 5 year teaching machining operations. As it is now I am totaly dependent on the blue-sky artsy/fartsy (can we use technical terms) Alias artist to give me a manufacturable A-side that will accomodate my B-side attachments and mechanism.
I would like to show the artist what I need without needing Alias Design (or Alias Automotive). This sort of two way communication is what gets the job done.

Mark Flayler

JD, just curious if you saw it or not, but Alias Design for Inventor is now up on the Student site for Faculty and Student use. It wasn't there a week ago...happy designing :)

J.D. Mather

Hey, thanks for that heads-up, I hadn't noticed the addition. At least now my students with can get experience on their own machines
even though it wasn't part of the Manufacturing or Industrial Design schools software package http://usa.autodesk.com/industries/education/higher-education
we installed for this semester.


Alias Design should come standard w/ iInventor among other things AutoDesk splits up programs to make new programs instead of incorporating into 1

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he law cannot make all men equal, but they are all equal before the law. (Frederick Pollck, British jurist)

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