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HiCAD 2021

| 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

  • Function search
    HiCAD offers a very extensive range of functions. Therefore, it can happen that one is looking for a certain function but does not know exactly on which Ribbon the function can be found. In such cases, the new Function search docking window can help. In the docking window, all Ribbon tabs and the function groups of the docking window Civil Engineering functions are listed. If you enter a search term in the docking window, HiCAD lists all functions whose name contains the specified search term.
  • Direct Help
    The direct help for the functions of the Civil Engineering functions docking window can now also be called up with F1.
  • Edit formula
    For entering values in dialogue windows, the function Edit formula is available from HiCAD 2021 in addition to the calculator. This function supports you in entering and editing more complex formulae. As soon as you enter something in the editor's input field, HiCAD automatically searches for mathematical functions whose name contains the string you entered.
  • Part statistics
    With the new function Part statistics you can find parts and assemblies that have a particularly negative influence on the performance of the current model drawing. These are, for example, parts with many free-form points or surface parts. This makes it easier to optimise the corresponding parts/assemblies for faster work.

Scale and unit of measurement

  • Unit of measurement in the drawing
    HiCAD 2021 only supports drawings with the unit of measurement mm. If you try to open constructions with a different unit of measurement or insert parts with a unit of measurement different from mm, an error message is displayed.
  • Surface area and volume unit
    In addition to the unit of measurement of the model drawing, it is possible to specify for the surface areas (Attribute §10) and volumes (Attribute §20) in which unit of measurement they are to be output in the ICN, in the attribute masks, in the HiCAD Viewer, in bills of materials and in the transfer to HELiOS.  For model drawings and parts created with an earlier HiCAD version (before HiCAD 2021), you can specify in the Configuration Editor how to proceed when opening such model drawings and parts for surface area and volume calculation.
  • Scale lists
    HiCAD supports both metric scales commonly used in Europe and imperial scales used in North America. Which scales are available for selection in HiCAD is defined in the Configuration Editor. There you can define different scale lists and specify which of these lists should be the active scale list. This list will then be used by default for new model drawings in HiCAD.
  • Manage drawing scales
    With the new Manage drawing scales function you can change the active scale list for the current drawing. The changed scale list is then only valid for the current drawing and is saved together with the drawing.

Design Checker

  • Non-BOM-relevant parts with HELiOS article master
    If a model drawing contains parts with article master data, some of which are BOM-relevant and some of which are not, there may be problems when transferring the product structure to HELiOS. With the new test, all parts can be found that have an article master but are not BOM-relevant.
  • Collision free sheet development
    This test checks sheet metal parts for collisions between flanges or bend zones during a development or bending simulation.


  • Conversion of previous itemisation
    As of HiCAD 2021, the mode "Itemisation to HiCAD 2017" is no longer available. In drawings created with an earlier HiCAD version and positioned there - at least partially - with the old itemisation mode, the previous itemisation must be converted accordingly before using the itemisation functionality in HiCAD 2021. This can be done with the function Change to Standard itemisation since HiCAD 2018 or directly when calling an itemisation function.
  • Itemisation by top level assemblies
    In the Itemisation, with options dialogue box, the new mode By top level assemblies is available on the General tab under Numbering. In this mode, only the first sub-level of the main assembly is taken into account. This mode is also possible if a unique, BOM-relevant top level assembly exists instead of the main assembly. 

Drawing derivation
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.

Standard Parts

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:

  • Agraffes for undercut fastening with Hilti MFT-HP 300 profiles
  • Agraffes for undercut fastening with Hilti MFT-HP 200 profiles
  • Safety clips and studs for suspended facades with Hilti MFT-CP profiles

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:

  • CATIA V5-6R2020
  • Unigraphics NX 1899
  • Inventor 2020
  • DXF/DWG 2019
  • Parasolid V32.1
  • Creo 7

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.



  • The active view is now represented in the model drawing by a coloured, wider view frame. The frame display of the active view - colour, line width and transparency of the frame - can be preset in the Configuration Editor. There you can also set whether the active view should be marked or not.
  • As of HiCAD 2021, a maximum of 9998 Sheet areas and views can be created. The Model area is included in the number of Sheet areas.
  • If all Sheet areas are selected when calling the Delete function, they will be deleted without confirmation and a new Sheet 1 will be created - without views.
  • When creating new sheets, the name Sheet n is given by default, where n is a consecutive number. With the function Change sheet name, a sheet name can also be specified, which is then displayed in brackets behind the sheet designation in the view ICN. Sheet names can also be used for sheets in the production drawings created with the drawing derivation function. These are retained even when the drawing is updated.
  • If you right-click the annotation, the designation or the direction symbol in the original view of a sectional view and then call the Zoom to sectional view function, the corresponding sectional view is displayed as large as possible and activated. Similarly, the Zoom to detail view function zooms and activates the corresponding detail view accordingly.
  • If one or more HiCAD Point options are used to define the cuboid/sphere of a detail view, then the checkbox Associative can be used to define how the detail view should behave if the corresponding points are moved due to changes in the construction. If the checkbox is active, the detail section follows the changes, it can, for example, "go along" with a moved geometry. This is not the case if the checkbox is inactive (default setting). The detail view always shows the same spatial section, regardless of whether the original geometry is still in that position.
    In addition to scaling, i.e. dragging the individual side surfaces, you now also have the option of rotating/moving the cuboid or moving the sphere.

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

  • With the Divide along direction function, Sheet Metal parts can also be divided from HiCAD 2021 onwards.
  • The division can now also be executed by pressing the middle mouse button instead of the OK button.
  • For updating the parts after changes of the original part, the function Recalculation with updating of associated parts is now available directly in the toolbar of the feature window in the ICN.
  • If the feature Divide along direction of the original part is deactivated, the features from division of the other segments are automatically deactivated as well.
  • For dividing beams and profiles, the function Divide along direction is available in the Steel Engineering Ribbon, which works essentially analogous to the 3-D function Divide along direction except for the following differences: The Steel Engineering function only divides beams and profiles and it remains active after the division, i.e. the next beam to be divided can be selected.

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 geometric representation of bearings has been significantly improved - also with regard to sectional views. Both in simple and exact representation, all ball / rolling elements are now shown.
  • When inserting bolted connections, the countersink depth of cylindrical countersinks can now either be entered manually or determined automatically by HiCAD.


  • The parameter settings for the functions Set parameters for ... can now be saved as favourites for a later reuse. To do this, click on the symbol in the dialogue window.
  • The function Change dimension parameters, Individual has been changed. After calling the function, several dimensions to be changed can now be selected. With the right mouse button the selection of the dimensions is ended and the dialogue window Dimension parameters is displayed.
  • In the parameter settings for the functions Set parameters for ... the unit Centesimal degree (GON) for angular dimensions is no longer available.

Grid annotations
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.

Sheet Metal

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.

  • Mitre only
  • Use stiffener
  • Create bores only

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.

Processing direction
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.

Welded corner

  • Since composite panels are usually bonded or riveted, you now have the option of inserting bores in the Welded corner function. The prerequisite is the use of a composite panel for the semi-finished product.
  • If you have activated Milling edge zone as a mode when installing the welded corner, the outer contour of the sheet in the area of the bonded / riveted edges is excluded for the milling cutter.

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.

Feature and Parametrics


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:

  • For feature steps that contain a formula as a Constraint, this is now displayed as a Value directly at the feature step if the Multi column structure option is activated. From here, it can also be edited directly by double-clicking.
  • If several feature steps are selected, the context menu functions Activate / deactivate feature are now also selectable if only a part of the selected steps can be activated / deactivated.
  • For feature steps that are deactivated via the Constraint entry, the icon of the feature step behind the "Deactivated" icon is now greyed out making it easier to recognise deactivated feature steps:

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:

  • Since the recalculation of the feature log when changing variables is also controlled by the Automatic recalculation function, a button for activating or deactivating the automatic recalculation has been added to the toolbar of the Part variables dialogue window.
  • Double-clicking on the value of a variable now directly opens the calculator and thus enables a comfortable change of the value.
  • The functions Cut, Copy, Paste and Delete are now also directly accessible via the key combinations CTRL+X, CTRL+C, CTRL+V and DEL.

Optimized "Use of variables" dialogue window
The use of variables dialogue window has been optimized.

  • While the Use of variables dialogue is open, work with HiCAD can continue in the background.
  • In the toolbar, the function Update was added, with which the use of variables can be updated without having to reopen the dialogue.
    Behind the components in which a variable is used, a magnifying glass symbol is now displayed which, when clicked, centres the corresponding component in the construction and zooms in.
  • The labels of the individual uses are now more compact: Instead of "Name=Height Formula=thickness", "Height ( thickness )" is now displayed.
  • Identical feature elements are now grouped together in the tree. This is also displayed for variables that are used in an HCM model.

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:

  • If the snap mode Element snap is active, sketch elements can be dragged directly via Drag & Drop without having to call up the Drag function first.
  • Points can now be dragged onto the following elements: edges, coordinate system axes, the origin of the coordinate system and centre points. A Coincidence constraint is automatically created, with the following exceptions:
    • If the SHIFT key is pressed when dropping and the SHIFT key was not pressed when dragging started.
    • If the Enter constraints option is deactivated in the HCM settings via Sketch > HCM > Tools > Settings. If the constraint is an external reference, the Use external references option is also observed.
  • When dragging points and line elements, they are attached to the cursor during dragging.
  • When dragging a circle (not the centre of the circle), the centre of the circle remains fixed and the radius changes.
  • When attempting to drag a fully defined sketch, a corresponding message appears.

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.

Steel and Metal Engineering

Steel Engineering

Update connections
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.

  • The shear connector can now be equipped with a front plate - also rounded. The Shear connector tab has been extended accordingly.
  • On the Fixing tab, under Boltings (Base plate), you can select another type of fixing.
  • On the Filler plate tab you can now choose whether the size of the filler plates should be based on the base plate or the welded plate.

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.

Divide beams
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:

  • The beam to be divided must be selected after the function call.
  • The beam axis is automatically suggested as the division axis, whereby the division direction is determined by the selection point.
  • After the division, the function remains active, i.e. another beam can be selected directly for division. The beam selection is ended with the middle mouse button.

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.

Laminated glass
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.

  • During insertion / editing of laminated glass panes, the directions left, right, top and bottom are now displayed in the drawing on the glass.
  • In order to be able to influence the alignment of the glass and thus the angle of rotation of the glass symbol, the option Glass symbol angle has been added to the dialogue.
  • With this option the alignment can be adjusted exactly to the degree. The direction display in the construction is adjusted accordingly.
  • It is now possible to automatically generate an article number from the layers used in the individual construction of a laminated glass panel.

3-D grid
When working with the 3-D grid function, grid annotations are now inserted on both sides.

Spiral staircase
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.


Metal Engineering

New Insulation function
The function for creating insulation has been split into three sub-functions:

  • Insulation along sketch
  • Insulation from cross-section
  • Insulation from border

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.

Element installation / Profile Installation

Element installation and Sub-structure

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® 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.


Profile installation

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.

Pipeline planning


  • Guidelines are created as a 3-D sketch in plant engineering from HiCAD 2021. The Create guideline function is used for this purpose. The function works in two steps: A new guideline is created. This corresponds to creating a new 3-D sketch. That is, you must first determine the plane in which the guideline is to be drawn. This determines the part coordinate system. After creating the guideline, the Sketch polyline function is automatically started and with it the 3-D sketching tool. The sketching tool facilitates the construction in that HiCAD - starting from the respective last point of a polyline - automatically displays auxiliary lines along a predefined grid and - depending on the selected mode - shows the corresponding angles, distances or radii at the cursor. On this grid you can, for example, determine the direction and length of a line with a mouse click by moving the cursor accordingly
  • To edit guidelines you can now use the functions from the Sketch ribbon. In addition, a selection of frequently used functions for editing guidelines is also available in the Sketch polyline sub-menu.
  • Due to the creation of guidelines as a 3-D sketch, the Guideline Tools function group has changed. The context menus for guidelines have also been changed accordingly
  • Guidelines that are created with the Guideline Editor must - in contrast to the creation as a sketch - be created contiguously, i.e. without gaps. If the editor is used on a non-contiguous guideline, a corresponding warning message is displayed.
  • With HiCAD version 2019 SP2 (Version 2402), the automatic assignment of guidelines has had a redesign. The previously valid behaviour could previously be used further by activating the checkbox AutoPlace like in version 2401 and older in the Configuration Editor at Plant Engineering > Layout plan. This option has been removed from the Configuration Editor with the release of HiCAD 2021.

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.

Delete parts
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.

HiCAD Function search

Zoom to sectional/detail view

Divide along direction - Sheet Metal parts can also be divided

Significantly improved representation of bearings - also with regard to sectional views

New sheet from 3-D surface with milled edge zones

Profile installation with Kingspan sandwich panels

Sheet metal clamps

First draft of a configurator for spiral staircases

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