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  5. Siemens PLM’s Solid Edge vs. Autodesk’s Inventor

Siemens PLM’s Solid Edge vs. Autodesk’s Inventor

Choosing the “right” CAD software can be a difficult task. While there are many solutions available on the market, sometimes the answer starts and ends with your industry.

We recently examined 10 ways Solid Edge is different than SolidWorks. Now, let’s take a look at how Solid Edge stacks up against another 3D CAD software: Autodesk’s Inventor. We’ll start by breaking down some of their important features.

How Do These CAD Tools Stack Up?

The Basics

Inventor: Autodesk products target basic engineering. Autodesk offers AutoCAD, which is a 2D drafting tool that uses technology built several decades past. Inventor offers 3D design capability which is not available in basic AutoCAD.

Solid Edge: Solid Edge is a 3D CAD solution and was originally built as a 3D design tool. Using Synchronous Technology, Solid Edge makes it easy to design three-dimensional models. 2D design is also supported in Solid Edge.


Inventor: Command line entries and keyboard shortcuts speed up the design process.

Although Inventor has a Shape generator and basic rendering, it lacks many of the dynamic design capabilities and advanced features present in other 3D CAD tools.

Solid Edge: Advanced surfacing features are part of the basic functionality in Solid Edge. This allows a user to extend and extrude shapes, revolve them, and more. Developing a fluid, organic shape is a simple process. Managing design changes over time becomes easy, with minimal updates required.

And if you’re looking for analysis tools—whether that’s fluid simulation or testing for strength—Solid Edge offers a host of different capabilities to make sure your model is ready before it’s manufactured.

Resource Libraries

If you choose Inventor, expect a lot of trial and error. Autodesk is known for its traditional 2D functionality. Inventor doesn’t provide the kind of online resources you’ll need to quickly master 3D design from the ground up. This can lead to a steep learning curve when moving past basic 2D functionality.

On the flipside, Solid Edge has plenty of resources for beginners and experts alike! Solid Edge allows users to advance at a fast pace.

Why Choose Either Tool?

Inventor: Because of Autodesk’s simple 2D layout, it is easy for someone to quickly begin use. But, if you want to do 3D design, you may find Inventor to be less intuitive.

If you’re geared up for architectural engineering, this is the tool for you. The drafting capabilities for this industry are very robust.

Solid Edge: The user interface and toolbar layout makes Solid Edge feel easy. New users should not be afraid—Solid Edge works just as well with imported geometry as it does with native files, even allowing you to choose the modeling method of your liking!

If you’re working on mechanical engineering, Solid Edge will give you dynamic tools to increase your productivity and efficiency.

The Solid Edge Advantage


Solid Edge isn’t just a CAD tool. When integrated with Teamcenter, you have a full-blown PLM tool at your disposal. Take a look at our Snackbyte on the Solid Edge Portfolio.

When using the Solid Edge portfolio of products, you can now prototype and test your designs prior to build or manufacture. Solid Edge also supports sheet metal design. Both tools are missing in Inventor.

Work with Files on the Cloud

Autodesk doesn’t offer cloud-based CAD solutions for all their products (although Fusion 360 does).

In Solid Edge, you can work with files on the cloud, pulling them down to work locally as needed. Solid Edge can also be paired with Teamcenter on the Cloud as a PLM system. Here’s a video where you can see how Teamcenter and Solid Edge work together perfectly. 

CAE capability with Solid Edge

With the integration of FloEFD (a top computational fluid dynamic tool), you can perform easy CFD analysis on your designs. There’s no need to import or export files into a separate isolated tool. It’s simple to use and eliminates the complex workflows of old-school CFD.

Check out how to use FloEFD in Solid Edge!

Synchronous Technology

While Solid Edge offers history-based modeling, another major appeal is Synchronous Technology. Simply put, there is no editing tool out there to modify 3D geometry like Synchronous Technology. You can even reuse 3D features from your previous version. With Solid Edge, you can push, pull, and rotate a piece of 3D geometry with a simple click.

Design on the Fly

Solid Edge has been designed with Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet in mind (ever since the release of ST9). Using this tablet gives designers multiple interface touch points: enter key commands, use a mouse, or draw and interact with a Surface Pen.

But don’t let the simplicity fool you. Solid Edge is a full-blown CAD package that can be used for simple design and complex assemblies.

Integrate with CAM

If you’re going to be doing any kind of machining, Solid Edge is a must—there’s easy interoperability between it and CAM Express. Now, you’re not just designing; you’re seeing your product all the way to the manufacturing phase. If you have engineering changes after release, no need to recreate NC code from scratch.

Make the Solid Choice

You want to get the most out of your 3D CAD programs—don’t settle for anything less. If you are looking for a comprehensive architectural engineeringtool, pick Inventor.

If you are looking for 3D mechanical engineering tool, then Solid Edge gives you the tools you need to innovate better.

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