HiCAD 2020

With HICAD 2020, the latest version of our CAD system HICAD is now available, the market-leading software for civil engineering, plant construction and product design.

Numerous new and further developments have been incorporated into this version. One highlight is the new HICAD Point Cloud extension module integrated in HICAD. With the functions of this module, point clouds created with all common 3-D laser scanners can be converted, imported and edited for use in HICAD. Special clipping functions allow point clouds to be cropped for clear editing and evaluation. Another focus of further development in HICAD 2020 was the more user-friendly design of dialogs, e.g. when using the HCM (Constraint Manager), when installing internal and external threads or when creating 3-D sketches. The new 3-D sketching tool is a comfortable tool for the easy creation of three-dimensional polylines.

Further highlights include the AutoDirection function for exploded views, the new strap joint in Steel Engineering, working with selection groups for element installations and sub-structures, processing of sheet developments with sketches, working across projects with Management+BIM, calculation of transitions and processing of arcs in Plant Construction, and much more.


  • Point Clouds
    Point clouds are collections of measurement points that are captured with a 3-D laser scanner. They consist of millions of points representing an environment, a building, a room or similar. The new Extension Module HiCAD Point Cloud provides an associative solution for the integrated representation of point clouds in HiCAD. Besides the import of common point cloud formats, the imported point cloud can be placed and clipped in HiCAD. Typical use cases for the working with point clouds  are:

    • Capturing of existing data
      The existing data are recorded by a 3-D laser scanner in order to create a new matching model drawing.
    • Comparison of a realized building or plant with the CAD model and evaluation of the deviations
  • ISOCPEUR font
    HiCAD 2020 supports the ISOCPEUR font, which is, for example, recommended by the Austrian Steel Engineering Association.
  • Enhanced ICN features
    Indication of parts with feature error or HCM constraints with error in the part structure
  • Quick Access for directory selection
    As with the dialogue window for loading and saving of files, selected directories can now also be added to the Quick Access folder, e.g., for DXF export of Sheet Metal parts.
  • Update catalogues
    As of HiCAD 2020, the new Reload function offers the option to update catalogues after applying changes to them without having to close HiCAD, and without having to put up with drops in performance due to repeated checks for up-to-dateness.
  • Import of foreign formats
    ata in foreign 3-D formats could previously only be imported to a new HiCAD drawing. From HICAD 2020 it is now also possible to insert these formats into the current model drawing.
  • HCM models in the Design Checker
    The Design Checker now offers additional tests for HCM models.
  • Visibility of textures in the HiCAD Viewer
    The settings for the representation of textures will now be considered for the representation of textures. This means that whether and in which view the textures will be shown in the Viewer will depend on the HiCAD settings.
  • Update to CADfix 12 SP1
    With the update to CADfix 12 SP1 the following format versions are now available in HiCAD 2020:  CATIA V5 – V5V62019, NX 12, SolidWorks 2019, Inventor 2019 and DXF/DWG 2018.
  • Import files via interfaces
    When importing 2-D/3-D model drawings via interfaces, HiCAD 2020 distinguishes between 2-D and 3-D imports.
  • Insert 3-D foreign formats as parts in current drawing
    Data in foreign 3-D formats could previously only be imported to a new HiCAD drawing. Ab HiCAD 2020 ist es nun auch möglich, diese Formate in die aktuelle Konstruktion einzufügen.
  • IFC import – Enhanced Filter option
    If the Filter option is active during IFC import, another dialogue will be opened after selecting Open, enabling you to select/deselect IFC classes. From HiCAD 2020 onwards you can also make multiple selections of classes.
  • 3DPDF - Enhancements
    • SDK Update to 2.18.1
    • Taking into account of free edges and sketches

  • Part CS of assemblies
    Like any other part, assemblies, too, have a part coordinate system. This coordinate system can either (as previously) be automatically determined by HiCAD, or (from HiCAD 2020 onwards) determined by you during creation of a dummy assembly or during forming of an assembly from existing parts.
  • Exploded view with AutoDirection
    HiCAD 2020 features a new movement type called AutoDirection on the Exploded view Ribbon tab. This function allows you to define displacements with automatic direction in the Exploded view mode. As with the displacement, several parts are linearly displaced simultaneously. In contrast, these parts are not moved with the same distance, but are distributed along the selected direction relative to a certain part (the so-called fixed part). This makes it possible to move several parts simultaneously in positive and negative direction in one step - depending on the position of the parts in relation to the selected fixed part.
  • Shortened views
    In HiCAD 2020 a shortening of views is also possible for shaded views.
  • Dimension assignment
    In previous versions, dimensions were always assigned to the active part during their creation. From HiCAD 2020 onwards, you can assign the dimensions either to the active part or to the part to which the 1st dimension base point belongs.
  • Changed attribute selection dialogue
    In the Annotation Editor the attribute selection list is divided into different attribute groups. The selection list can be expanded, collapsed and searched for specific entries.
  • Revised 3-D text
    The handling of 3-D texts has been revised. From HiCAD 2020 onwards, texts that are newly inserted into the model drawing can not only be selected via their reference point, but also via any point on the text. This facilitates selection and increases performance.
  • Revised Threads function
    The Dialogue for the creation of internal and external threads has been revised completely.
  • Spirals
    In the dialogue window of the Spirals function you can now also specify a winding angle instead of a number of windings.
  • New Sketching Tool for 3-D sketches
    Similar as for planar sketches, the new 3-D Sketching Tool is now available for 3-D sketches as a convenient tool for creating three-dimensional polylines. The Sketching Tool simplifies the design process by automatically displaying auxiliary lines along a predefined grid starting from the last point of a line and displaying the corresponding angles, distances or radii at the cursor depending on the selected mode. On this grid you can, for example, determine the direction and length of a line with a mouse click by appropriate cursor movements. Since 3-D sketches - like other 3-D parts - have a part coordinate system, you can change the plane in which you are drawing as you wish while drawing. This drawing plane is always parallel to the selected plane and runs through the last point determined.
  • Automatic calculation of assembly dimensions
    For assemblies, the dimensions of the parts belonging to the assembly can be used to automatically generate the attributes Length, Height and Width of the assembly and enter it in the assembly attributes. All solid parts belonging to the assembly are included in the calculation, with the exception of standard and purchased parts with the insertion type Site assembly.
Feature and Parametrics


  • Further improved use of variables dialogue window
  • Access to variables of other parts. This allows part variables to be used independently of the part structure.
  • Display of sketches with external references
  • New API functions for automatic positional and dimensional constraints
  • Create and edit Weld seam tags without an activated Feature log


  • Automatic assignment of HCM constraints in the new 3-D sketching tool
  • Error messages in the Part HCM
    Up to now, references to missing components in the HCM were displayed as Errors. Now a special handling for parts that are disabled by a feature constraint has been introduced. Such parts are also listed with the message Geometry does not exist, but instead of as errors only as a Warning. The reason for this is that HCM constraints that refer to deactivated parts can also be considered as deactivated and therefore do not represent an error.
  • Revised assigning of positional and dimensional constraints for assemblies
  • HCM tests in the Design Checker
    The Design Checker now offers additional tests for HCM models.
  • Further improved HCM constraint display in the ICN
    • The Comment column is now also displayed in the Sort by geometries view.
    • The icons for incorrect constraints are now displayed next to the icons for the affected constraints/geometries.
    • The filter function for constraints in the ICN now also affects the display of constraints in the model drawing.
  • Equal distance constraint applied to surfaces
    In the Assembly HCM, the Equal distance constraint could not yet be applied to surfaces. This constraint has been changed to allow for the use of surfaces.
  • Show constraints with errors in structure
    If a HCM model contains constraints which cannot be evaluated because of errors, you can now click on the red error mark to expand the structure in such a way that all errors are shown.
  • Delete and deactivate the HCM constraints of a part
    In the Assembly HCM you have now the option to activate, deactivate or delete all constraints of one part at once.
  • Tooltips for HCM constraints
    The tooltips that appear when you move the cursor over the icons of the HCM functions on the Ribbons now contain a short description of the respective function.
Sheet Metal
  • Sheet Metal cassette with milling edge zone
    You can now use the Sheet Metal cassette Design Variant to create Sheet Metal cassettes with milling edges zones and inverted milling edge zones.
  • Sheet developments
    • Edit sheet developments
      Sheet developments can now be edited with assigned sketches.
    • Developments in the ICN
      The development now also appears in the ICN below the Sheet Metal part and can contain sketches as sub-parts. If the development is active the sheet metal part is greyed out.
    • Show milled area
      You use the Show milled area option to mark exclusions that you have defined, e.g., with the 3-D function Subtract part, via translation. This is useful to prepare this area for machine control during DXF output.
    • Moveable bend line text
  • Export of sheet developments
    • If you choose ToPS GEO, you can determine via the Export forming edges option, whether processings (forming tools, cross-breaks) are to be considered for export.
    • Determine polyline orientation for DXF export of Sheet Metal parts
      When generating the DXF export files for Sheet Metal blanks, the orientation of the polylines in the created DXF file will now always be always the same (i.e. always clockwise or always anticlockwise), since CAM programs require these for determining the outer/inner side when generating the milling tool paths.
  • Sheet from solid
    When generating a sheet from a solid with two countersinks with a conical surface (e.g. DIN74) on 2 sides, the geometry is correctly recognized regardless of the start surface.
  • Favorites in Design Variant dialogue windows
    The settings on the dialogue window of the Sheet corner with stiffener or puzzle piece Design variant can be saved as favourites and re-used at any time.  
  • ABWPOL.DAT settings moved to Configuration Editor
    The settings of the ABWPOL.DAT file have been moved to the Configuration Editor (ISDConfigEditor.exe).
  • Discontinuation of old base sheet macro
    From HiCAD 2021 onwards, the calling of the old Sheet Metal base sheet macro 'abwgrundblech.mac' will no longer be supported.
Steel Engineering / Management + BIM

Steel Engineering

  • Strap joint
    The previous Strap joint (1310) connection has had a redesign and has been replaced with the new Strap joint (2310).
  • Cross-bracing (2602)
    For the Cross-bracing (2602) with turnbuckle, different rounding radii for the front and rear corners of the connection plates can now be specified on the Connecting point tab.
  • Weld seam insertion
    For all connections that support weld seam insertion, the edges are now visualized according to the settings on the Weld seams tab. This allows a better assessment of the weld seam positions.
  • Usage of assemblies
    Many connections create assemblies, or add further parts to already existing assemblies. For example, for Connection 1211 (Beam to web with 2 plates and stiffeners) the front plate and the corresponding weld seams of the first connecting plate will be assigned to the assembly of the first beam to be connected. The 2nd plate and the stiffener including the associated weld seams for the second connecting plate will be assigned to the assembly of the beam to which the connection is made.A usage can be assigned to these assemblies in the dialogue window of the connection. If one of these assemblies was already assigned a usage type, the usage type specified in the dialogue window was ignored in previous versions. From HiCAD 2020 onwards, the Overwrite usage checkbox can be used to specify whether the existing usage is to be kept or replaced by the usage type selected on the Bolting tab (or Fixing or Beam tab, depending on the connection)
  • DAST connections
    • If a DAST connection is changed, HiCAD checks whether the connection is still DAST-compliant. If this is not the case, the DAST selection field will be marked.
    • For DAST connections, in addition to fillet welds, the other weld seam types (double fillet weld, HY and HV weld, circumferential weld) can also be selected.
  • Variant Editor for Railings
    From HiCAD 2020 onwards, the HiCAD Dialogue Editor (HiCAD GUI Creator) can be used to create user-specific dialogues for railing variants - analogous to installation elements. The Variant Editor function for railings has therefore been adapted accordingly.
  • Semi-finished products as sub-items for series beams
    Semi-finished products can be automatically transferred to HELiOS as a structural sub-item of an individual part.

Management + BIM

  • Withdraw releases
    The release of drawings, e.g. in case of a premature release, can now also be revoked by the administrator.
  • Delete unused Sheet areas
    The detail drawings created with the Management+BIM module are always stored on Sheet 2 of the drawing. When printing via the HELiOS/HiCAD Spooler, all sheets are printed - depending on the setting - i.e. also sheet areas without production drawings such as Sheet 1. As of HiCAD 2020 you can now specify that sheet areas without production drawings are deleted.
  • Automatic export of CAM and drawing data to the Windows file system
    When creating/updating external CAM data in the formats DSTV-NC, DXF, DWG, NCW/NCX and STEP and drawing data in the formats DXF, DWG and PDF, the corresponding files can also be automatically exported to the Windows file system if required. Depending on the file type, the files are stored in a separate sub-folder. The files imported to the Windows file system will not be managed in HELiOS.
  • Working across projects
    By default, Management+BIM works project-related, i.e. the managed parts are usually clearly assigned to one project. When installing parts with reuse in other projects, such as purchased parts, you must assign the article master manually, as these parts are ignored by the BIM automatisms. As of Version 2020 HiCAD enables a working across several projects. This means that when you work with main and sub-projects, the article masters of the main project are retained when you switch to a sub-project and vice versa.
Element and Profile installation

Element installation

  • Working with selection groups
    When installing elements - especially for complex facades - it is often the case in practice that certain installation elements have the same options. To make it easier to select the areas to be occupied (rectangular or polygonal sketch areas) and to edit installation elements with the same parameters, HiCAD offers the possibility to work with so-called selection groups. The advantage is that you can group installation elements with the same parameters and then select or deselect all elements of this group with one click.
    Selection groups can also be applied to Sub-structures.
  • ALUCOBOND® panels - general
    • Bend zone end suitable for milling
    • Processing direction and symbol
    • Attic connection without last flange
    • All bend edges as milling edges
    • Mitre cut with milling edge
  • ALUCOBOND® panels, suspended
    • Window connection without flanges
    • Sub-structure - Rivet distances on attic reinforcing bracket
  • ALUCOBOND® SZ20 tray panels
    • Installation on triangular areas
    • Optional insertion of bolts for the sub-structure
    • Lateral connection with additional flange
  • Save variants for Element installation /Sub-structure
    For the saving of variants for element installations and sub-structures, you will find new functions in the Civil Engineering functions docking window. This functions automatically create the corresponding catalogue entries and the CSV files with the variables used in a variant. These CSV files are required if you want to individually design the dialogue windows for installing customer-specific variants using the HiCAD Dialogue Editor (HiCAD GUI Creator). The Editor can be started automatically after saving a variant.
  • User-specific dialogue windows
    • Variables for catalogue entries assigned to a relocation element and not defined as list variables are now automatically converted to list variables when the variant is saved. The text object CatalogEntry is then automatically used for these variables when they are inserted into a user dialogue.
    • HiCAD now automatically determines whether the user dialogue of a variant that has already been installed has been changed subsequently. If you then right-click on the Element installation or Sub-structure feature in a corresponding element relocation or substructure, the context menu will offer the function Renew dialogues. Use this function to update the user dialogue displayed when editing the feature..
  • Reset wall brackets and sub-structures
    If you have made manual changes to a sub-structure or wall brackets (for example, by drilling holes in a sub-structure or by moving or deleting individual wall brackets), these changes are retained even if these parts are recalculated.


Profile Installation

  • Edge profiles from multiple sketches
    Self-created Edge profiles may now consist of several sketches, similar to Surface profiles. In this case, they must be placed in a dummy part. During installation, the individual sketches are then turned into separate parts.
  • Freely selectable fitting point for surface profiles
    By default, the first surface profile is created flush with the start point. In some cases, however, it may be necessary to cut away part of the first profile and only install part of the profile. An example of this would be tongue and groove systems on sandwich profiles. Therefore it is now possible to select a Fitting point for profile installations where the first profile will be cut off.
Pipeline Planning / P&ID

Pipeline Planning and Isometry

  • Activate pipeline
    As of HiCAD 2020, the active pipeline is determined via the active part. This means: If the active part belongs to a pipeline, then this pipeline is considered the active pipeline. Otherwise, no pipeline is active.
  • Change pipeline route
    Previously, only Plant Engineering connecting points were permitted as start points for route changes. As of HiCAD 2020, any points can be selected, i.e. also points that were determined via point options.
  • Set Local Coordinate system
    The setting of a local coordinate system has been simplified in HiCAD 2020. The selection of the direction of the coordinate system no longer takes place when starting the function, but can be set, after a right-click, via the respective context menu. In addition, HiCAD now displays a preview of the coordinate system.
  • Pipeline selection for automatic placing of parts
    The selection of the active pipeline for the automatic placing of parts on guidelines has been revised.
  • Mitre cuts during automatic placing of parts
    If you select neither elbows nor knees, but straight pipes, mitre cuts will be applied to the straight pipes.
  • Calculate transitions
    Until now, HiCAD did not provide a simple way to calculate and place arcs for offset transitions. The problem here consists in connecting two pipelines using suitably cut bends. From HiCAD 2020 onwards, this problem can be solved with the new Calculate transition function.
  • Edit arcs for bent pipes
    With this new editor you can modify arcs in Plant Engineering. You can change arcs for bent pipes, insert segment arcs and perform mitre cuts. The Editor requires a working with guidelines and can also modify unoccupied guideline edges.
  • Delete counter-flanges
    When deleting valves, counter-flanges in the same pipeline are now also deleted.



  • Indicated connecting direction when creating own symbols
    Setting new connections is now supported by graphic plug-ins. After selecting a specific connection direction, an arrow is generated in the corresponding direction which can only be placed at grid points. Connections that have already been placed are highlighted with an arrow. This new feature is available with the P+ID Symbol Editor as well as when editing a P+ID.
  • Support of nominal diameters in millimetres and inches
    From now on there are two different nominal diameter attributes in the P+ID, one in millimetres and one in inches. The two attributes are linked to each other.

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