Because most of the new features for AutoCAD Plant 3D 2016 were released as Extension 1 for 2015, the platform build (2016 proper) had a strong emphasis on updates existing features and fixes. To that end, we have gone through the product and picked some of our favorites.
1. Tolerance – In 2016, the program recognizes offset tolerances. So, no longer to connections have to be made to the nth degree, but we can specify a 1/32″ tolerance (or whatever precision you choose). We did find out that you don’t want to make the tolerance too large (20″ is bad) or the isos will break. http://www.pdoteam.com/2015/04/using-tolerances-in-plant-3d-2016/
2. Spec Administration – A personal favorite of mine is that you can now edit specs while they are being used in a project. In 2016, only the spec editor program opens the specs for read/write. This means that you no longer have to work on the specs in one location and then copy them to another! Yay!
3. Iso Start Points – Even though it’s a new feature, I have to mention it. With the iso start point, 2016 completes the features necessary for iso repeatability. Not only can you assign a start point from the beginning, but after creating an iso, you can bring the start and break points back into your model based on the style used.
4. 3D Line Groups in the Data Manager – In previous versions you couldn’t create custom views for line groups in the data manager, they wouldn’t display information. While you could use the area view, the line groups were still split by area which made it difficult to identify them. In 2016, custom views with line groups are fully functional.
5. Changes made to the Line Summary report are saved. This is one that affects less people, but is still a welcome fix. In previous versions there wasn’t a way to customize the line summary list. In 2016, you can save changes made to the report.
Last of all, are a bunch of little fixes that really help the user experience like olets behaving better for moving or copying, refreshing data for new acquisition properties, fusion weld display on isometrics, MV Blocks appearance on orthos, the ability to remove default iso styles, and better performance for the Dynamic Pipe Spec palettes.
Make sure to check out the help file for a list of the other new features, like Vault updates. http://help.autodesk.com/view/PLNT3D/2016/ENU/?guid=GUID-04019227-5319-4484-BD20-8614A778CAA8 If you were using Vault, you will see a ton of improvements on that end.
All in all, I’m excited to see the updates for 2016, as it looks like they have addressed a lot of user issues that have been brought over the last couple releases. From my experience, I’ve heard AutoCAD users in general say, “Why can’t they just fix the problems” and it looks to me like the Plant team made that a big priority. I’m sure we’ll run across other fixes and if we think they’ll affect a lot of people, we’ll definitely post an article about it.
If they follow the recent development cycles, the Plant team is preparing an extension or two for 2016 as well, so it should be exciting to see what’s in store for that. In 2014, we got orthographic BOM’s, COG reports, and weights. In 2015 we got a bunch of iso UI enhancements, so stay to for the latest when/if the extension drops for 2016.