LiveLink™ for Inventor®

Interface Inventor® with COMSOL Multiphysics® via LiveLink™ for Inventor®

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Perform COMSOL Multiphysics® Simulations from within the Autodesk® Inventor® Environment

LiveLink™ for Inventor® allows you to combine your COMSOL Multiphysics® analysis with a leading CAD software for 3D mechanical design – Autodesk® Inventor®. It allows you to integrate it with the capabilities of COMSOL Multiphysics from within the Inventor® modelling environment, and utilise its power for geometry design. Using LiveLink™ for Inventor®, you can integrate simulation with your design workflow. It includes features for repairing and defeaturing your geometries prior to simulation, making changes to your designs during the simulation process, and optimising your designs through automated parametric sweeps or optimisation studies.

COMSOL Desktop® Embedded Within the Inventor® GUI

COMSOL Multiphysics and LiveLink™ for Inventor® enable you to understand how a process or physical phenomenon operates in the environment for which your designs are targeted, and to simulate how different physics interact with each other in your design. Since LiveLink™ for Inventor® includes the COMSOL Desktop® as an embedded tool within the Inventor graphical user interface (GUI), switching between the two environments is seamless. Known as the One Window interface, this environment contains the Model Builder, Settings Windows, and tools, icons, and menu items that you are familiar with when modelling in COMSOL Multiphysics. It also allows you to investigate your results using Inventor's graphic tools and rendering.

Synchronisation and Associativity

LiveLink™ for Inventor® facilitates the direct synchronisation of Inventor CAD models to COMSOL geometries in the COMSOL Desktop®. All you have to do is switch from the COMSOL Desktop® to the Inventor GUI, or if you are working in the One Window interface, exit the COMSOL environment, modify your CAD design using Inventor tools, and then switch back to the simulation environment. Changes in the design are automatically propagated so that you avoid the continual export and re-import of CAD models into COMSOL Multiphysics. Another feature that helps here is that associativity is maintained despite geometry changes. Physics definitions on model domains and boundary settings are remembered and reapplied once synchronisation between the two geometries has been performed.

When working with the CAD model, parameters defined by Inventor, such as the length of an edge or position of a hole, can be interactively accessed by COMSOL Multiphysics. This means that you can run simulation analyses that involve parametric sweeps and geometric optimisations as part of your simulation workflow.

File Import and Opening Files

Built on the functionality found within the CAD Import Module, Inventor CAD files imported through LiveLink™ for Inventor® are converted to Parasolid® geometries. When you are not working within the One Window interface, these geometries can be manipulated by COMSOL Multiphysics, such as by specifying an encompassing volume around a CAD design to function as a domain for performing simulations. In general, however, you will want to use the power of Inventor for changing geometric parameters while working with your simulations, and leverage the convenience of the One Window interface.

While LiveLink™ for Inventor® allows you to import CAD files in the Inventor format (.ipt and .iam), it can also import files in the STEP, IGES, ACIS®, and Parasolid file formats. Another feature allows Inventor parts or assemblies to be automatically saved as part of the COMSOL model. This helps extensively in associating the right CAD model with its respective simulations, and, by opening a specific COMSOL file from the Inventor environment, ensures that the associated CAD model is automatically loaded. This feature also allows you to create CAD and simulation model packages that you can easily share with your colleagues.

Geometry Repair, Defeaturing, and Virtual Operations

LiveLink™ for Inventor® comes with all the geometry manipulation tools found within the CAD Import Module. This includes the automatic detection and repair of geometric anomalies, and forming solids after healing gaps based on pre-defined tolerances. When deletion or removal is specified as part of the defeaturing or repair operation, healing is also done automatically by filling or patching the resulting geometry through either creating new faces, or morphing together the surrounding ones.

Defeaturing is also an important tool provided in LiveLink™ for Inventor® where important artefacts for the CAD model, such as fillets, may create dense meshes in a region of your simulation model that is not particularly relevant. Furthermore, the nature of CAD modelling can sometimes lead to small, insignificant features like small edges and faces, which also lead to areas of dense meshing and must thereby be defeatured. These can be automatically detected by LiveLink™ for Inventor® and either changed in the Inventor environment or defeatured through using removal and healing tools that come with LiveLink™ for Inventor®.

As an alternative to defeaturing, COMSOL Multiphysics provides the ability to perform virtual geometry operations. This complementing functionality provides easier and less computationally intensive simulations through instructing the COMSOL meshing tools to ignore a specific geometric feature, and mesh a virtual geometry. While defeaturing operations also remove such features, they can introduce slight changes into the surface curvature, which may create erroneous simulations in applications such as studying contact stresses. Virtual operations will hide these artefacts to reduce the need for computational resources, while still allowing the simulation mesh to be based on the original surface curvature.

Autodesk and Inventor are registered trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. For a list of such trademark owners, see COMSOL AB and its subsidiaries and products are not affiliated with, endorsed by, sponsored by, or supported by these trademark owners.

Product Features

  • A LiveLink™ interface that synchronises between the Inventor® 2018 or 2019 versions of the CAD software and COMSOL Multiphysics® when both are running simultaneously
  • Works with an embedded COMSOL Desktop® within the Inventor® GUI, or as two separately run programs running simultaneously
  • Synchronise 3D geometric objects (solids and surfaces) between Inventor® geometries and COMSOL Multiphysics®
  • The synchronised geometry is associative, i.e., the CAD model can be modified in Inventor® without the need to re-apply model settings in COMSOL Multiphysics® after re-synchronisation
  • Synchronise material selections and other user-defined selections between the Inventor® design and the COMSOL® model
  • Synchronise parameters between the Inventor® design and COMSOL Multiphysics® model to modify the COMSOL Multiphysics® geometry, either manually or as controlled by a parametric or optimisation solver
  • File import of the most popular CAD file formats, see table below
  • Encapsulate geometries to model phenomena in the surrounding domains
  • Export geometry files to the Parasolid® and ACIS® file formats
  • Geometry repair through identification of geometric inconsistencies and knitting surfaces to create solids
  • Connect to COMSOLServer™ from within Inventor® to browse and run apps from within the Inventor® interface, including those that use geometry synchronised with Inventor®
  • Defeaturing through the finding and deletion of fillets, short edges, sliver faces, small faces, and spikes
  • Manually deleting faces and healing the resulting gaps through filling (creating a new face) or patching (shrinking or expanding adjacent faces)
  • Detaching faces from a solid object to create a new solid object
  • Cap holes or empty spaces to fill the space and create modelling domains
  • Patch gaps due to missing faces by generating surfaces from the surrounding edges and surfaces
Supported Formats for File Import

Note that not all file formats are supported on all operative systems, for details see System Requirements

File Format
.sat, .sab, .asat, .asab
up to 2020 1.0 (import), R4, R7, 2016 1.0 (export)
.igs, .iges
up to 5.3
Inventor® assemblies
11, 2008-2020
Inventor® parts
6-11, 2008-2020
up to 1872
.x_t, .xmt_txt, .x_b, .xmt_bin
up to V32.0
PTC® Creo® Parametric™
.prt, .asm
.prt, .asm
16 to Wildfire® 5.0
.sldprt, .sldasm
AP203, AP214 (import), AP203 (export)

Every business and every simulation need is different.

In order to fully evaluate whether or not the COMSOL Multiphysics® software will meet your requirements, you need to contact us. By talking to one of our sales representatives, you will get personalised recommendations and fully documented examples to help you get the most out of your evaluation and guide you to choose the best license option to suit your needs.

Fill in your contact details and any specific comments or questions, and submit. You will receive a response from a sales representative within one business day.

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(COMSOL®, COMSOL Multiphysics®, Capture the Concept, COMSOL Desktop®) are registered trademarks of COMSOL AB, LiveLink™ is an unregistered trademark of COMSOL AB, ACIS and SAT are registered trademarks of Spatial Corporation. AutoCAD, AutoCAD Inventor and Inventor are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. CATIA is a registered trademark of Dassault Systèmes or its subsidiaries in the US and/or other countries. Microsoft, Excel and Windows are registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Parasolid and Solid Edge are trademarks or registered trademarks of Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and in other countries. SolidWorks is a registered trademark of Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corporation. Creo and Pro/ENGINEER are trademarks or registered trademarks of PTC Inc. or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and in other countries. MATLAB is a registered trademark of The MathWorks, Inc. Amazon Web Services, the “Powered by Amazon Web Services” logo, Amazon EC2 and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries. Mac and Macintosh are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. Red Hat is a registered trademark of Red Hat, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. Neither COMSOL nor any COMSOL products are affiliated with, endorsed by, sponsored by, or supported by any of these other trademark owners. Other product names, brand names or logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.