March 28, 2011

AutoCAD MEP 2012: New Features for Better Usability and Integration

This year, Autodesk has dedicated efforts to refine the AutoCAD platform. The release of AutoCAD MEP 2012 has new features that should allow for better usability and integration with other Autodesk Platforms. My name is Matthew Nelson, MEP Application Specialist for Ideate Inc. Ideate has looked into these features, and I would like to highlight some of the best features that AutoCAD MEP 2012 has introduced.

Most of the changes that have occurred in AutoCAD MEP 2012 are platform related. There is a significant increase in performance across the platform, and we are expected to experience the following performance improvements in AutoCAD MEP 2012.
  • Approximately 40% faster on MvPart in 3D View.
  • Approximately 30% faster on Open Large MEP Drawing with Xrefs.
  • Approximately 30% faster on Display Warning Symbol.
  • Approximately 50% faster on Section (For large cases) on Win7 (Up to ~20% faster on WinXP).
  • Inherent improvements from ACA.
Source: Autodesk

I’m excited to see that they have focused on the performance of the MEP specific tools like MvPart and load times for larger MEP related drawings. This should help to relieve frustration when short deadlines are rapidly approaching! It’s also interesting to see that Autodesk is seeing such a performance change from Windows XP to Windows 7. It’s a great point to bring up in your next IT related meeting if you are still on Windows XP.

HVAC Engineering Units:
AutoCAD MEP 2012 has now introduced the ability to set the Engineering units for Ducts. I honestly can’t believe this hasn’t existed up until this point. This new unit dialog will allow you to set your unit structure for Air flow, Friction and Velocity using imperial or metric units. The HVAC unit structure is based on the drawing unit set in the Units tab.

This new feature will apply to all the dialogs and palettes in AutoCAD MEP 2012, such as the Duct Properties and the System Size Calculator.

To access the new HVAC units please find it here: Application Button > Drawing Utilities > Drawings Setup > HVAC tab.

Duct System Improvements:
Some significant improvements have been made to the Duct systems in AutoCAD MEP 2012. A significant change has been made in the workflow of creating systems. Autodesk has moved most of the HVAC creation out of separate dialog boxes and into a unified Properties palette. For more on this feature please see Lana’s blog on Ideate Solutions.

They have also introduced the Duct Transition Utility which they have nicknamed the ‘DTU.’ This new utility is built to aid in the building of transitions of different types of ducts. They have provided us with a list of the available transitions that can be built:
  • Round to Round
  • Round to Rectangular
  • Round to Oval
  • Rectangular to Rectangular
  • Rectangular to Oval
  • Rectangular to Round
  • Oval to Oval
  • Oval to Rectangular
  • Oval to Round

The use of this tool is simple, all it requires is the (2) ducts and the execution of the tool. It will create the transition automatically. This marks a significant improvement for the creation of complete duct systems, and should easily save time during production! One thing to keep in mind, the transition that is created is a custom part and cannot be added to the catalog.

Beyond the new workflow, Autodesk has introduced new parts to allow for better transitions of duct work. Reducing Elbows and Offset Bend Method Transitions. These new parts can be loaded from the style manager, and can be automatically placed or manually selected from the duct properties palette.

This year AutoCAD MEP 2012 brings new improvements and features that will change our workflow and increase performance. I look forward to using the new features, and I feel that it will help my productivity for the better!

Don’t forget to look through other great features our Ideate Technical Team has found in the new 2012 releases for AutoCAD, Revit Architecture, Revit MEP, Revit Structure, Civil 3D, Navisworks and more:

Matthew Nelson
MEP Solutions Application Specialist

Matthew has a deep understanding of Autodesk products. He studied Mechanical Engineering at SUNY Stony Brook. He has been a BIM manager and CAD manager for a leading international consulting services firm utilizing AutoCAD MEP, Civil 3D and Revit MEP. During that time, he focused his skills on understanding the dynamics of inter-discipline coordination on large scale civil and building engineering projects. At Ideate, Matthew provides training and support for Revit MEP, Navisworks and AutoCAD MEP. @MNelsonIdeate

Get it. Know it. Use it.