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| News | Software Updates
HiCAD 2021 is the latest version of our CAD product range - with many new functions and tools as well as numerous enhancements.
One highlight is the new Renderer, which significantly speeds up the graphics output, which is reflected in a higher frame rate (frames/second). Viewing functions such as zooming, rotating or moving are thus faster and appear even more fluid. Also worth mentioning are the new possibility to define scale lists in the Configuration Editor, the numerous extensions for views and the extensive standard divider extensions.
In addition, HiCAD 2021 again offers countless industry-specific new features and functional enhancements. Examples are the convenient derivation of sheets from 3-D surfaces with bend zones or milling edge zones, the design variant for sheet metal clamps in Metal Engineering, guidelines based on sketches in Plant Engineering, inclined ALUCOBOND panels etc.
The new Renderer - Update to OpenGL Version 4.3
From HiCAD 2021, only OpenGL version 4.3 will be used in all modules. This means that HiCAD 2021 will only run on computers whose graphics card supports OpenGL version 4.3 or higher. The use of onboard cards is also still possible - provided they meet the corresponding requirements. However, we recommend that you no longer use these as of HiCAD 2021, as the performance of these chips is insufficient for complex designs. Decisive factors in the development of the new renderer were the extended range of functions in graphics output through the use of newer OpenGL functions and the possibility of being able to realise noticeable performance improvements in graphics output in the future. With HiCAD 2021, graphics output is accelerated in width, which is reflected in a higher frame rate (frames/second). Viewing functions such as zooming, rotating or panning are thus significantly faster and appear even more fluid. The full performance gain will be achieved with HiCAD 2021 SP1.
User Interface, Operation and Help
Scale and unit of measurement
The arrangement of views in production drawing has been improved. Views are now distributed more clearly on the drawing sheet and the automatic selection of the sheet size or view scale has been improved so that the space on the sheet is used optimally.
Thread runout DIN 76, LH thread
In the table Threads DIN 76 you can now also find left-handed threads (Type F-LH and R-LH).
Welded studs DIN EN ISO 13918 FD and MD
New in the catalogue Fasteners > Studs > > Welded studs are the tables DIN EN ISO 13918 FD and DIN EN ISO 13918 MD.
Kingspan Sandwich panels
The catalogue for Room-closing profiles has been extended with sandwich panels for roof and wall of the company Kingspan: RW QuadCore and AWP QuadCore. These can be used, for example, for profile installation or the insertion of series in Steel Engineering.
Ejot® sealing screws JZ3 and JZ3-S
The table User-defined bolts+screws > Ejot contains the following new screws: EJOT® sealing screw JZ3 (thread-cutting, with hex head and pre-mounted sealing washer) and EJOT® sealing screw JZ3-S (thread-cutting, ,with countersunk head).
SYSTEA® Thermostop elements
The catalogue Factory standards > Purchased/Factory standard parts now contains new elements by Systea®.
Improved tool tips for bolts and screws
The tooltips that are displayed when moving the cursor over a table in the Catalogue Editor structure have been improved and made more meaningful for bolts and screws.
More Hilti standard parts for sub-structures
The catalogue Factory standards > Purchased/Factory standard parts contains new Hilt parts for sub-structures:
Customer-specific system attributes
In practice, there is often a desire to use own, customer-specific system attributes. Until now, this was only possible through the staff of the ISD. As of HiCAD 2021, customers can now also do this themselves. However, it should be noted here that the names of customer-specific attributes must always begin with U_. If this is not the case, the table cannot be saved.
Update to CADfix 12 SP 1.1
With the update to CADfix 12 SP1, the following format versions are now available for import in HiCAD:
Direct call of GAMMA-RAY
If the rendering program GAMMA-RAY is installed on your computer, you can also export parts of your model drawing into the TGF format via the Drawing Ribbon bar and open the files automatically in GAMMA-RAY.
NCX - Automatic DXF file generation
When saving model drawings in NCX format, the cross-sections of beams, profiles, plates and sheets can be automatically saved as DXF files. Until now, flat steels and steel plates were excluded from this, since in many cases the machine software automatically displays a rectangular profile if DXF data is missing. However, there is also machine software that displays a hollow profile in such cases. In order to ensure the correct display of the cross-section, HiCAD 2021 and higher now also creates a DXF file of the cross-section for flat steels and steel plates.
NavisWorks - Export via API
Export to NavisWorks is also possible via the HICAD API - both in NCX and NWD format. The format is selectable by the extension in the transferred file name. Please note that the export as NWD file is only possible if a licensed version of NavisWorks is available on the computer.
DSTV-NC Export - Template files
In the DSTV-NC export, all FTD files of the HiCAD sys directory whose name starts with DSTV_NC_ are now available for selection under Others for determining the order number and drawing number from a template file. These can also be your own templates that you have saved using the 3-D Dimensioning+Text > Text > LLine > Change font function, e.g. DSTV_NC_Ordernumbertext1.FTD etc.
Export of sheet metal developments by views
As of HiCAD 2021, an export of sheet metal developments by views is now also possible. To do this, use the 3-D Export (STEP, 3D PDF...) by views function in the context menu of a view. To activate the menu, right-click on the pink dotted view frame. This is valid for STEP and all CADFIX formats.
Updating of 3-D imports in the current model drawing
3-D parts/assemblies that you insert into the current model drawing using the function Drawing > Insert Part > Exp. > 3-D Import will be marked in the ICN with the symbol. With the new function Update import, via 3-D interface you can replace these parts/assemblies with other imported files. You can access the function by right-clicking on the marking, or via the context menu for parts.
Discontinuation of shading type
Up to now, the shading type Flat could be used as the simplest and fastest shading method. By changing the renderer to OpenGL version 4.3, the graphics output in HiCAD is accelerated in width, which is reflected in a higher frame rate (frames/second). Viewing functions such as zooming, rotating or panning are thus significantly faster and appear even more fluid. For this reason, the shading method Flat is no longer needed. The function Properties > Shading type has therefore been removed from the context menu for views.
Parametric cloning with external references
During designing, reference is often made to other drawing objects when inserting parts, for example when you want to fit a hole relative to the centre of a hole in another part, or cut a beam on another part. This reference between two parts is called an external reference. If the part to be cloned (copied) has feature parameters with an external reference, you can now use the checkbox Deactivate external references to specify whether the external references are to be taken into account during cloning or not. By default, the checkbox is inactive. This corresponds to the previous standard behaviour when cloning parts. If the checkbox is active, the external reference of the original is taken over for all cloned parts.
Divide along direction
Lettering with HiCAD fonts
When using the Lettering function, texts of HiCAD fonts were always displayed in italics. From HiCAD 2021 on, it is possible to specify whether these texts should be displayed in italics or not. This is determined by the Aspect ratio and the Inclination angle.
Standard Processings, Standard Parts and Boltings
The 3-D grid function now inserts grid annotations on both sides of the grid.
Copying internally referenced parts
To reuse internally referenced parts, you can simply copy the part. To do this, you can also use the Copy to HiCAD Clipboard and Paste from HiCAD Clipboard functions in the ICN toolbar. Please note the following: If an internally referenced part or an assembly with internally referenced parts is inserted via the HiCAD clipboard from a construction into another construction in which internally referenced identical parts to the internally referenced parts of the clipboard already exist, then HiCAD asks whether these parts are to be adapted to the version in the drawing. It can now be determined whether the update must be confirmed explicitly for each of the parts or not. As before HiCAD 2021 the query was made for each corresponding part. For assemblies with many internally referenced parts, this can be very annoying and time-consuming.
New sheet from surface
Due to the complete revision of the function New sheet from surface you can now construct a new sheet metal part with bending zones or milled edge zones from the surfaces of a 3-D part.
Bend zone tooling
With the Bend zone tooling function you control the assignment of bending tools to bend zones. In the HiCAD Sheet Metal module, the angle, the bending radius and the allowance method are defined for bend zones. In practice, the bend radius depends, for example, on the material, the thickness and also the bending tools used. To take this into account, you must first enter the data of the tools in the Catalogue Editor. Then the function can be called and the data stored in the catalogue can be assigned. The data set in this way can then be output in the development.
Design Variant: Sheet corner with stiffener
When installing the design variant Sheet corner with stiffener, you now have several options to choose from when using the stiffener.
Edit allowance method
The ABWEditor (Development Editor) from the EXE directory of your HiCAD installation is available for editing or creating the allowance methods for sheet metal developments. You can now also call the Editor via the Sheet Metal Ribbon tab.
If you activate a sheet metal flange with the right mouse button, the function for creating a Processing direction now appears in the context menu.
Insert moulding tools
Purchased/factory standard parts and moulding tools are also placed in the model drawing via the Fitting CS of the corresponding KRA file or via three isolated and named points defined in the KRA file (Point 1 for the origin, Point 2 for the X-direction, Point 3 for the Y-direction). If neither these points nor a Fitting CS are defined, a corresponding message appears from HiCAD 2021 onwards.
Sheet developments in the Design Checker
The Design Checker can be used to check sheet metal parts for collisions between flanges or bend zones during a development or bending simulation.
Export by views for sheet developments
As of HiCAD 2021, it is now also possible to export sheet metal developments by views. To do this, use the function 3-D Export (STEP, 3D PDF...) by views in the context menu of a view. To activate the menu, right-click on the view frame. This applies to STEP and all CADFIX formats.
Recalculation with update of associated parts
In the case of functions that concern several parts and their feature logs (such as the connection between an element installation and a sub-structure, the individual parts created by the function Divide part along direction or beams/profiles connected to each other via steel engineering connections), it was only possible to recalculate completely in a complicated and time-consuming manner when changes were made to original parts. To simplify this procedure, the new function Recalculation with update of associated parts has now been introduced. This initially behaves like a normal Recalculation. However, all parts connected to the current component are also updated afterwards, which means that changes to the original part then also affect the connected parts.
Improvements for the Feature log
The following improvements have been introduced when working with feature logs:
AutoCompletion for part variables
The redesigned HiCAD Formula Editor now also offers auto-completion for part variables. Currently, the auto-completion only takes place in selected dialogues and then only if the respective part is already inserted in the drawing.
Modulo operator for Double values
The previous % operator for calculating the modulo (remainder in case of division, Example: 10 % 3 = 1) only works with integer values. In order to be able to work with decimal numbers as well, the new function modulo(a; b) was introduced, which accepts both integer and double values. The existing % operator remains unchanged for reasons of backwards compatibility.
Easier working with variables
The following functions have been added when working with variables in the Part variables docking window:
Optimized "Use of variables" dialogue window
The use of variables dialogue window has been optimized.
Display of element variables
When working with element variables, the elements they reference are now highlighted in the drawing as soon as an element variable is selected in the Part variables docking window.
Combined functions "Enter body creation feature" und "Switch feature on"
The Enter body creation feature function has been removed. Instead, the Switch feature on function has been extended so that it now automatically adds a body creation feature if the selected part contains a geometry. If no geometry is present, simply the feature log is activated as before.
Switch feature on, with sub-parts
If you call the Switch feature on function for a part that contains sub-parts that also do not have a feature log, HiCAD now offers the possibility to directly activate the feature logs of the sub-parts as well.
Improved setting of constraints in the part HCM
When setting constraints in the Part HCM that refer to cylinders, spheres, cones or tori, the recognition of the desired orientation has been improved. This is particularly noticeable with Tangent constraints. Here, it is now always attempted to set the side of the part that was clicked on when setting the constraint tangentially. Afterwards, the orientation can still be changed via the Orientation selection field in the HCM constraint dialogue.
Improvements for dragging in Sketch-HCM
The following improvements have been made for dragging in the Sketch-HCM:
HCM constraints for fasteners
When assigning HCM constraints that refer to fasteners such as screws, reference is often made to the origin of the part coordinate system or the Z-axis of the screw. To simplify this step, HiCAD now automatically displays the origin and Z-axis of a fastener when you touch it with the mouse pointer during the assignment of an HCM-constraint. This display remains for a short time afterwards, allowing you to select origin or Z-axis.
Clearer error messages
In many places in the HCM system, displayed error messages have been revised and are now much clearer than before and also offer different options for dealing with the respective error.
Change dimension figure and Move dimension figure for sketches functions made available again
The functions Sketch > HCM > Smart dimensioning > Change and Sketch > HCM > Drag > Move dimension line have been made available again, especially to simplify work in the view area.
Improved operability of the context menus in the ICN
Via the context menu of the HCM area in the ICN, it is conveniently possible to change the properties of several HCM constraints simultaneously. Thus, several constraints can be selected in the tabular list and collectively deactivated via the context menu, for example. Until now, only functions that could be applied to all selected HCM constraints were offered in the context menu, e.g. the function Hide constraint was only offered if none of the selected constraints was already hidden. This behaviour has now been adapted so that this function is always offered and can therefore also be applied if some of the selected constraints are already hidden.
Display of deactivated constraints
HCM constraints that have been deactivated by another Constraint are now indicated by a new symbol.
To update connections, you can also use the feature function Recalculation with updating of associated parts, which can be found in the toolbar of the Feature window in the ICN.
Strap joint (2310)
For the Strap joint (2310) with stiffener, a second stiffener can be optionally installed.
Cross-bracing - Chamfering gusset plates and connecting plates
Gusset plates and connecting plates created for cross-bracings could previously only be filleted. As of HiCAD 2021, chamfering is now also possible here. This affects the gusset plates in Cross-bracing (2601) and the gusset plates and connecting plates in Cross-bracing (2602).
Base plate + Anchor plate (2101) - Extensions
For the connection Base plate + Anchor plate (2101), various extensions are available with HiCAD 2021.
Cross-bracing (2601) - Horizontal offset of bore grid
For the Cross-bracing (2601), an offset for the bore grid can now be specified on the Connecting points tab and thus influence the position of the bore grid.
Improved generation of notches on beams with CUTOUT contour
The algorithm for creating notches on CUTOUTs has been revised and now delivers better results than in previous versions.
For dividing beams along a direction the function Divide along direction is now available at Steel Engineering > Lengthen > Divide. This function essentially works in the same way as the 3-D function Divide along direction function, except for the following differences:
Fixed length beams
In practice, model drawings often contain beams, e.g. purchased parts, which are ordered for the production with a fixed length. These beams should not appear in the bar list or must be shown separately. In HiCAD this can now be regulated via the attribute Fixed length (%FIXLEN), which must be assigned to the corresponding beams. If this attribute has the value 0 or is not set at all, the fixed length is not taken into account in the bar list. If the value is 1, then these beams are listed separately in the bar list.
If you construct a laminated glass with an individual layer structure, the corresponding layer is now also highlighted in colour in the drawing when you select a layer in the Laminated glass dialogue window.
When working with the 3-D grid function, grid annotations are now inserted on both sides.
With the new Spiral staircase tool in the Civil Engineering functions docking window, the first draft of a configurator for spiral staircases is available. This does not yet have the full range of functions. With the coming HiCAD versions, this tool will be expanded to a fully functional configurator with different variants for newels, stringers, platforms, railings and steps, special dimensioning rules for drawing derivation and much more. However, the current configurator can already be used to visualise spiral staircases, for example in Plant Engineering drawings as a placeholder for such prefabricated staircases.
New Insulation function
The function for creating insulation has been split into three sub-functions:
A sketch serves as the basis for creating the insulation.
Glass insertion in non-closed glass fields
With the Laminated glass function, it is now possible to install glass in non-closed glass fields. For this purpose, either a point in the glass field can be identified or, after clicking the right mouse button and selecting the option Select glass profiles directly, two glass profiles can be selected, which may also lie parallel.
Sheet metal clamps
The new Sheet metal clamp function allows you to connect two or more profiles with the help of sheet metal clamps.
ALUCOBOND® suspended and SZ20
Until now, the base surface of suspended panels and SZ-20 panels was always parallel to the sketch plane. As of HiCAD 2021, the panels can be inclined horizontally or vertically - but only if the Standard or Without flanges type is selected for the Horizontal/Vertical section.
ALUCOBOND® Delta 2
ALUCOBOND® SZ-20 panels and suspended ALUCOBOND® panels can also be installed with a spatially folded base surface. Two new variants will be available for this from HiCAD 2021 onwards: ALUCOBOND® Delta 2 SZ20 and ALUCOBOND® Delta 2 suspended.
Wall brackets - Purchased parts
When creating wall brackets, it is now no longer only possible to use wall brackets from the catalogue Factory standards > Installation Planning - Parts and Processings > Sub-structure > Wall bracket, but also from the catalogue Factory standards > Purchased/Factory standard parts > Wall consoles.
Changing the order of the roof sections for roof inclinations
In the Roof inclinations area of the Profile installation window it is now possible to reverse the numbering of the sections. To do this, the option Order of roof sections is available, which offers the choices In reference direction (corresponds to the previous numbering in the Y- (or X-) axis direction of the sketch) and In opposite direction, which numbers the sections in the opposite direction to the Y/X direction. This distinction is useful because the beginning of the first roof section is always at the height of the sketch plane and all further surfaces measure their inclination or height from this value.
Display of profile designations in the drawing
Until now, it was only possible to obtain the industry-standard display of profile groups consisting of profiles with the same length and from the same package by creating workshop drawings. Now the new view tools Add designations and Delete designations have been added, which display these designations for the currently selected layer directly in the drawing, or remove this display again.
Kingspan Sandwich elements
The catalogue Factory standards now contains new sandwich elements for roofs and walls by the company Kingspan: RW QuadCore and AWP QuadCore.
Standardized part search
When searching for parts, the syntax for search queries used to slightly differ depending on whether you searched something in the catalogue or in HELiOS. This is now standardized for all data input in 3-D Plant Engineering. This applies e.g. to the pre-selection mask for part insertion and the dialogue for editing catalogue pipe classes. The new syntax is basically the same as in HELiOS, with only slight differences.
When deleting parts, guidelines can optionally be generated. These guidelines are then located where the deleted parts were before. In many cases this is helpful, but not for very narrow parts at the end of the pipe. This is especially true for guidelines that were previously generated when deleting gaskets. These were often covered by the indicated centre line of the adjacent flange and could therefore only be deleted separately with difficulty. From HiCAD 2021, no more guidelines will be generated at the end of the pipeline for gaskets and loose flanges with excess lengths.
Select part chains
The behaviour of the function Select part chain has been changed. Previously, all parts on any path between the selected start point and end point were selected. From HiCAD 2021 onwards, only the parts on the shortest path from start to end are selected. The previous behaviour can still be used. The new function Select part network is available for this purpose.
DIN 11853: Changed part type
The part type of N11853-3_KL.VAA has been changed from Fastener, unsymmetric to Fastener, symmetric. When updating to HiCAD 2021, this variant must be newly entered into an existing HELiOS database in order to adapt the classification there as well.
Scale in isometry and pipe spool drawing
The settings in the Configuration Editor at System settings > Scales are also taken into account when selecting the scale in the isometry and in the pipe spool drawing, i.e. the scale can now also be selected in the selection box. The dialogue windows have been adapted accordingly. In particular, imperial scales can also be used here.
Sheet metal clamps
First draft of a configurator for spiral staircases
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